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IKEA HIGHLIGHTS 2016
MEATBALLS & KLIPPAN:
WHY A FURNITURE DEALER
DECIDED TO SELL FOOD
It’s difficult to do business with someone on an empty stomach.
- Ingvar Kamprad
picture of Ingvar Kampradss picture of michael le cour
These words, spoken many years ago by IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad, remain true today. It’s nearly impossible to shop on an empty stomach, don’t you think? That’s just one of the reasons why, in 1956, Ingvar decided to open up a restaurant in the very first IKEA store, in Älmhult, Sweden.
Since then, the IKEA Food scene has grown a lot. Today there’s also the IKEA Bistro (home of the beloved hot dog and soft serve ice cream), and the increasing list of low priced, high quality food items being sold, Swedish-style (like the crunchy “knäckebröd” and tangy “lingonsylt”).
Managing Director of IKEA Food Services, Michael la Cour, took us on a Swedish journey that starts with the first IKEA store.
WRITER: MICHELE BIANCHI
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Are the products and the food connected, other than being sold in the same store?
“Oh, definitely. We start with the idea that quality and design should be affordable to everybody. Whenever we design something we start with the five elements of what we call Democratic Design: low price, form, function, quality and sustainability. We apply the same principles in our approach to food.”
When did the famous IKEA meatball enter the scene?
“That was also in the 80s. Who knew that it would become one of our customers’ most favourite menu item! We sell more meatballs than any other IKEA product in the range.”
What was the biggest change happening around food?
“Well, we’d have to go back to 2013, the year that we—and the entire food industry—received a serious wake-up call: We realized that our supply chain was not as transparent as we wanted. Food is something that our customers should be able to trust, whether they’re eating at home or in our restaurants.
We decided to change how we do business, and increase the precautionary measures in regards to our supply chain. For a long time we have been an influential company and this was our opportunity to have a positive influence on our suppliers.”
What’s been going on this year?
“A lot of things that people don’t see on the store floor or in the cafeteria. We have spent the last year moving the food business further into the focus areas of health and sustainability. We have a Health Advisory Board up and running, supporting us in complex decisions regarding news in the field of nutrition.
We work closely with our key suppliers in raising the bar even further around animal welfare and our internal requirements around ingredients for product development – based on our view of having a positive impact on people and the planet. “
Any new IKEA Food items you’d like to mention?
“Yes! Our pulled salmon sandwich served with BBQ sauce, red cabbage and pickled gherkins is really great. Not only is it delicious, it uses all of the prime meat parts of the salmon, not just the fillet, which is a responsible way to treat this great fish. And since September 2015, all of our fish is MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) certified, which means it comes from sustainable and responsible sources. We are now the world’s biggest purveyor of sustainable seafood.”
Anything new for us calorie-counters?
“There’s our Nordic fruit water, made from natural ingredients. Overall, we’ve cut the sugar in our drink towers by 50 percent. One day we may cut the sugar down to zero percent. That remains a good challenge to pursue!”
But you still serve meatballs, right?
“Yes, we still serve meat options for people who are “flexitarians” (semi-vegetarians) or simply enjoy meat options, but we are offering more choices. Our new veggie balls are made with chickpeas, green peas, kale, corn, peppers and pea protein. These are made with vegan ingredients and have about 100 fewer calories and half the fat compared to our traditional meatballs.”
You must have a favourite IKEA food item. What is it?
“It’s the veggie balls. That’s the dish I choose each time and also the one I’m most proud of. It’s not just a mushed-up ball. You can see whole vegetables in there. And the fact that it’s healthier, kids like them, and they taste fantastic—it’s just great.”
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Just out of curiosity, why did IKEA start selling food in the first place?
“Families would come to shop and spend an entire day in this little village in the woods, so we knew that people would be hungry. We wanted them to feel taken care of and welcome. That was unique back then.”
MEET BILLY AT HIS
COUNTRYSIDE BIRTHPLACE
He has been around for nearly four decades. Most of us have either lived with him or gotten to know him at a friend’s place. Come along and meet BILLY at his countryside birthplace where about 4.5 million BILLY bookcases see daylight each year.
Get the full story about the BILLY production
PROTECTING DESKS
… AND THE PLANET
Why not take recycling one step further and actually make new products out of waste? A few years back, someone at IKEA had this ‘crazy idea’… But now, this is turning into reality, saving money for the customers and finite resources for Mother Earth.
Learn more about the crazy idea
PEEKING INTO THE WORLD’S
LARGEST PRINT PRODUCTION
Translated into 33 languages, in 48 different markets, reaching about 255 million people, this year’s IKEA Catalogue welcomed everyone to be themselves. The statement was clear: IKEA doesn’t design furniture for consumers - they design for people. And the reality? People are human, and humans are not perfect.
Get a peek behind the scenes
FURNITURE MADE OUT OF PAPER. NO, SERIOUSLY!
Sofas and chairs made from the same stuff as egg cartons? And bench tops and table legs made from bamboo? Anything is possible as IKEA design-teams explore a world of materials.
Learn more about new materials
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IKEA HIGHLIGHTS
Many companies, organisations and people, together, shape IKEA. Each and every person, idea and solution contribute to the big picture. IKEA Highlights collects stories from different parts of the IKEA world to describe this year’s accomplishments, quirks and maybe even a few slips. Good thing we’re all human.
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A FORCE FOR GOOD DESIGN
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, David Wahl was given a mission. A young IKEA designer, David was asked to produce a unique object that could defeat the darkness in homes across the planet, bringing light and hope to the many. The result was the IKEA PS Pendant lamp: a planet-like lighting fixture that ‘explodes’ at the pull of a string, spilling warm, glorious light across surrounding spaces.
Read the full story about the IKEA PS Pendant lamp
MOST THINGS STILL
REMAIN TO BE DONE
Have you ever wondered where IKEA came from? Or how a simple country boy from Småland was inspired to create one of the world’s leading brands and help create a better everyday life for millions of people?
Find the answers in the full story