Many of us have happy childhood memories of eating at IKEA. The Swedish furniture giant has become famed for its food, as well as its flatpacks, and many may be unaware that it’s been growing its vegan menu over the years.
IKEA was established in 1943 as a mail-order business. Five years later, it started selling furniture. Now, it’s the world’s largest furniture retailer, operating 422 stores in 50 countries. When the first physical IKEA store opened in 1958, it featured a small cafe that turned into a restaurant in 1960. It served a number of foods, including meatballs, biscuits, crackers, and Lingonberry jam.
Now, IKEA’s restaurants around the world serve a range of food and meals. They predominantly focus on Swedish cuisine, though the options vary according to where you are in the world.
Here’s everything you need to know about eating vegan at IKEA in the UK.
IKEA restaurant vegan menu
There are a number of hot mains to choose from at the IKEA restaurants in the UK. These include the chilli sin carne, penne pasta with tomato sauce, and chickenless strips and fries. You can also opt for the cold vegan option, which is the small salad bowl.
If you’re having breakfast, you can create your own meal with white or wholemeal toast (just hold the butter) alongside mushrooms, tomatoes, and baked beans. If you fancy something a bit lighter, you can choose the fruit salad.
For dessert, there are two vegan cheesecake options – caramelized biscuit and lemon. Alternatively, you can try out the vegan strawberry soft serve ice cream in the bistro.
The menu regularly changes according to the season, so there are often a number more vegan dishes being added throughout the year.
“At IKEA, it’s clear that our customers are looking for more plant-based food options,” a spokesperson told Plant Based News. “By providing choices that are delicious, nutritious, and responsibly produced to our packaged food offer, restaurants, and bistros, we can also have a positive impact on the climate.”
Are the IKEA plant balls vegan?
IKEA launched a plant-based version of its iconic meatballs in UK restaurants in August 2020. Made from pea protein, potatoes, apple, oats, and onion, they are said to have the same “meaty” taste as the cow meat product.
While there isn’t a vegan plant ball dish on the IKEA official menu, the plant balls themselves are suitable for vegans. All you need to do is order them without the mashed potato or cream sauce. You can either enjoy the plant balls on their own, or ask your server for some vegan-friendly fries or veg with them instead.
An IKEA hot dog that’s said to replicate the taste and texture of the original “pork” version is also in the works, but it hasn’t yet been released in UK restaurants.
IKEA expands its vegan options
Alongside a number of other businesses, IKEA has seemingly made active steps towards embracing a more plant-based future in the last few years. In its 2022 sustainability report, the retailer outlined plans to gradually “remove or replace” dairy in line with plans to reduce its carbon footprint.
“The climate footprint of plant-based food is often lower compared to animal-based options,” report authors wrote. “A plant-based diet with high nutritional value can also be a healthier choice.”
Following a successful launch of a vegan soft serve ice cream in a select number of countries, IKEA claimed to be looking at ways to replace dairy in more stores. “We continue to explore where and how we can remove or replace dairy in our range (without compromising on taste) to further reduce the climate impact of our food ingredients,” the report said.
It also unveiled plans to make main meals at its restaurants 50 percent plant-based by 2025. “[We] want to make healthy and sustainable choices the most desirable option,” Lena Pripp-Kovac, Chief Sustainability Officer at Inter IKEA Group, said at the time. “Research confirms the importance of making sustainable products affordable and desirable. IKEA can really make a positive difference here.”
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