IKEA announces it is developing plant-based vegan version of its famed Swedish meatballs
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IKEA announces it is developing plant-based vegan version of its famed Swedish meatballs

IKEA has announced it is working to develop a vegan version of its famous Swedish meatballs using "plant-based alternative proteins" that "look and taste like meat".

The furniture giant has served the popular offering at its store restaurants for some 35 years, typically with a side of cream sauce, mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

It already offers veggie balls made from chickpeas, carrots, peas, peppers, sweetcorn, and kale - but they are not intended to taste like meat.

But IKEA is now promising to create a plant-based alternative to its meatballs "without compromising on taste and texture" due to "growing demand" for vegan options.

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Forget flat-pack furniture: A visit to any IKEA store is all about the half-time meatballs (Image: IKEA)

Discussing the development, managing director of IKEA Food Services Michael La Cour said: "We know that the IKEA meatballs are loved by the many people and for years the meatballs have been the most popular dish in our restaurants.

"We see a growing demand from our customers to have access to more sustainable food options and we want to meet that need.

"Our ambition is to make healthier and more sustainable eating easy, desirable and affordable without compromising on taste and texture."

The new meatless meatballs will be made in collaboration with some of the leading suppliers of vegan protein in the industry, IKEA said.

The plan is to trial the new selection in customer-facing tests early next year.

In a previous bid to provide more "sustainable" options to customers, IKEA launched a vegan ice-cream, plant-based caviar and veggie hot dog in 2018.

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And as well as introducing vegan food options, the company has also pledged to remove single-use plastic from its stores by 2020.