“It’s difficult to do business with someone on an empty stomach”
Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA’s founder
Whenever I think about upgrading my furniture, Ikea comes to mind – and whenever I plan a trip to Ikea, I end up breaking the shopping journey with a visit to their cafeteria-style restaurant! After all, it’s not easy to shop on an empty stomach.
We all know that, other than their much beloved flat-packed furniture, the Swedish giant is famous for their tasty meatballs. BUT, in the era of the mindful consumer, some changes need to take place, and Ikea has taken note. More and more consumers are shifting their living and eating habits, leaning towards healthier foods, eco-friendly products and more plant-based diets, and Ikea is now responding to the increasing demands of the environmentally conscious buyers.
A wave of changes is taking place in Ikea to make their products and operations greener, and we at Glasgow Foodelicious were invited along to witness part of the transformation. Felix and I went along on Wednesday 20th February for an “Ikea food range night”, where we were given the opportunity to sample some of the new additions to their food menu.
The shop is renovating their customer restaurant’s offering with not only more vegetarian and vegan options, but healthier foods in general; lower in calories and with less saturated fats and salts. They are working on these changes with ‘7 food principles’ in mind; Lagom (Swedish word for not too much, not too little, but just right), plant-based, sustainable, animal welfare, natural, food is precious, and food is pleasure! Truthfully, these principles sound like a solid based for what the human approach should be towards food, in general. And needless to say, we were very keen to see what’s new on the menu!
When we got to the restaurant, we were warmly welcomed by the team and shown to our tables. The manager of the Ikea restaurant in Glasgow introduced the session by explaining some of the things that are changing – from renewable materials, to reducing plastics, and upgrading their menu for a more sustainable and healthier range; it certainly seems big shifts are happening in Ikea, as they embrace their vision of becoming a much greener business.
We were presented with the menu, most of which consisted of vegetarian and plant-based / vegan dishes:
- Vegan Sweet Potato Tart
- Vegan Chilli Non Carne
- Veggie Balls with Biryani Rice
- Vegan Parmigiana
- Kids Haddock
- Kids Tuna Pasta
- Kids Chicken Goujons
- Kids Quorn Lasagna
- Kids Snack Box
- Artisan Rye Bread & butter
- Vegan Vegetable and Lentil Soup
- Vegan Carrot and Orange Cake
- Vegan Courgette and Lime Cake
- Vegan Lemon and Poppy Seed Loaf
- Vegan Red Velvet Muffin
What we tried
With so much on offer and a generous display of foods, we didn’t get to try everything! But we did get to try a selection of dishes. Our favourites, happy to report, were all vegan options!
Starting with the vegan sweet potato tart 😍 These tarts were gracefully presented in single trays for the ideal portion size, topped with a variety of seeds. As soon as we stuck our forks in, noises of food pleasure followed!
The tart is well balanced in flavour and texture; sweet but savoury, soft in the centre with a lovely crust on the base and edges, and so brilliantly enhanced by the multi-seeded topping. This dish is delightful!
Next, we tried the vegan parmigiana. Being a vegan version of this Italian classic, the traditional taste of cheese wasn’t present, but a lovely top layer of vegan cheese crumbs makes up for it. The layered aubergines underneath were sweet, cooked to perfection in a rich slow roasted tomato sauce. Ikea’s vegan parmigiana is a lovely main; mild, comforting and very tasty.
Our other favourite was the vegan chilli non carne. Soya-based chilli served with white rice, this is the kind of dish that anyone – vegetarians, vegan and meat-eaters – can very easily love. Savoury and packed with flavour! We think this dish will be an absolute hit.
On the side, the artisan rye brad was soft, fresh and had a lovely taste. I thought I didn’t like rye, but I certainly like this bread!
Got room for dessert?
The impressive table of desserts was full of vegan options, and even though our tummies were full from the mains, we managed to had a taste of all the sweet stuff!
The courgette and lime cake was yummy, with a citrusy soft layer in the middle, and the red velvet muffins were rich and lovely. My favourite, however, has to be the lemon and poppy seed loaf – tangy and sweet, it was the perfect dessert. And I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking!
This healthier, more plant-based and more sustainable Ikea food range exceeded our expectations. We were impressed, to say the least, with the additions to the menu. The new dishes, beyond being kinder to our bodies and our planet, are creative, diverse and delicious. What a fantastic range, and honestly, I’m pretty sure I won’t go for the meatballs next time I visit Ikea 😅 – my mind will be on their amazing vegan dishes. I’m sold 🤩
Many thanks to the team at IKEA Glasgow for organising and inviting us to the food range night. It was a lovely evening, with lots of friendly smiles and a fantastic meal.