This is what IKEA’s new plant-based meatballs taste like

Even if you've never shopped at IKEA, you're probably aware of the food items available at the store. Sold in IKEA stores around the world, IKEA Swedish meatballs are an iconic product. It's been a staple, if you will, that has captivated the taste buds of IKEA consumers since 1979. However, IKEA's classic KÖTTBULLAR meatball product is not an option for vegans, vegetarians or people who simply don't like the beef and pork components in the dish. Although the company launched KYCKLINGBULLAR and GRÖNSAKSBULLAR products (chicken and vegetarian meatballs, respectively) in 2015, and SJÖRAPPORT salmon/cod balls in 2018, people who follow a completely plant-based diet are still unable to meet their dietary needs. past. However, that could all soon change: As announced in March 2019, IKEA has developed a plant-based, vegan meatball for its menu that looks and tastes like real meat — earlier this year, I Lucky to be one of the first to try it.

Ikea promises new vegan Swedish meatballs made from plant-based ingredients that will taste and look like real meatballs.

I had the opportunity to try out the new vegan meatballs at IKEA headquarters – home of the first IKEA! — May 2019 in Älmhult, Sweden. I was super excited to try them because personally, I'm not a big fan of meat. I find that if I know my food is made from plant-based ingredients rather than animal-based ingredients, I'm more likely to enjoy it on a spiritual level. It's not even a question of taste, because I do like the taste of meat - I just don't like that it comes from an animal. Meat substitutes can be delicious, but I find that they rarely function as flavor substitutes. You always know when you eat a veggie burger, you know?

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However, the taste factor isn't the only reason to make these meatballs. Michael La Cour, general manager of IKEA Food Services AB, said making these meatless meatballs - which took more than a year from idea to prototype - was not just a big deal for IKEA important on an inclusive diet level, but also because of the company's commitment to promoting eco-friendly products.

"The European food industry itself is responsible for about 28% of CO2 emissions," La Cour told Bustle during the conference. “A lot of that comes from the cattle industry. Because IKEA is committed to the Paris Agreement and doing everything we can to shift the business away from just meat and towards more of a plant-based business. You know a little veggie ball or a meat-free Meatballs may seem like a small thing, but when you sell a billion meatballs, [it matters].” According to La Cour, they hope to shift at least 20% of their meatball sales to the new one. vegetarian options to do their part to reduce CO2 emissions. "We launched the veggie hot dog - we've sold about 110 million hot dogs globally - and we've seen huge success. In most countries, 10 to 20 percent [of IKEA sales] are now veggie hot dogs. That's a Very good start.”

The new meatballs aren't available yet as they're still in the testing and conceptualization stages - unfortunately, it's unclear when they will be available, but LaCour commented that IKEA is working on an "ambitious" timeline to Get this meatball. Meatballs will be tested with customers in early 2020.

According to IKEA, attendees of the two-day conference were the first to try out the current new meatball prototype. They come in pairs in a (sustainable, of course) paper bowl, along with peas, mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam, and are topped with IKEA's famous ALLEMANSRäTTEN cream sauce.

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This was probably the thing I was most excited to try during the conference and admittedly I was so excited when I spotted the stall that was preparing and serving meatballs that I had my entire dish before taking more than one photo All finished. Still, it's a testament to how good it is. I had no problem inhaling it within seconds.

Texture-wise, they're actually very similar to real meat. Like real meat, they didn't fall apart when I bit into them, and they felt just as dense as real beef and pork meatballs. According to IKEA, the meatballs are made from a new plant-based alternative protein.

I did find them to be very tasty - very delicious. I breathed this stuff in again. If it didn't look really, really over the top, I would probably buy five more or so! However, for meatballs that are touted as tasting like "real meat," I did find that their flavor lacked something that meatballs made from beef and pork have. They taste great with a creamy sauce and I love how it feels like I'm eating meat while knowing there's no actual meat in my dish - but it's important to note that these are not meatballs that you can fool people into Ron Ron Swanson-level meat lovers think this is real meat. Similar to something like the Beyond Burger, which mimics the consistency of a real burger patty but is still slightly different, IKEA's vegan meatballs didn't fool me into thinking I was eating anything but delicious vegan meat Anything other than pills.

But then again, I don’t think they should fool anyone – and honestly, looking at them this way defeats the purpose of why they were created. The only thing that tastes like real meat is real meat—even dishes as close as these meatballs will never be the same. But, unlike real meat, these vegan meatballs are produced without much of a negative impact on the environment— and that’s important. They taste so close to real meat that one could easily enjoy it instead of beef meatballs and feel the same satisfaction while doing something good for the environment.

According to a 2011 assessment by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, farmers will need to increase food production by 70% by 2050 to feed the world's growing population—which, according to The Guardian , would mean "[an] additional 200 million tons] of beef and other livestock “will be in demand. The report, titled The State of the World's Protein, said the FAO said "sustainable intensification" was necessary to ensure that any harmful effects on the environment were avoided, but that current rates of protein production would not meet future demand. Land and water resources for food and agriculture. "Beyond the fact that global livestock emissions account for 14.5% of all human greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, I think it pays to make sustainable choices when the choice exists. IKEA has launched There are products that still taste great and make this easier, while also being an alternative protein option that has the potential to reduce the need for other existing forms of protein.

Considering the company's reach and fan base, I personally hope that the launch of vegan meatballs will help prove that just because a food is "healthy" or "vegan" doesn't mean it doesn't taste good - And it is possible to achieve good results. The choice of setting also happens to be delicious.