IKEA Is Opening New Plant-Based Food Halls In 3 Cities

For most people, the thought of visiting IKEA can bring up a mix of emotions. Some feel excited over the organized selection of stylish furniture; Others experience feelings of stress, induced mainly by memories of the hours they've spent locked away at home building that furniture. Then, there's another group — one which I'd argue is reading this right now — who might go to IKEA to shop for their household needs but, in the back of their minds, are genuinely only thinking about the meatballs.

As shoppers told CNN, the meatballs are an iconic part of the IKEA shopping experience: "It's just what you do," said Tiare Sol. Not only do they symbolize IKEA's friendly Scandinavian image but, with the launch of the vegan meatballs in 2015, they also established the brand as an early supporter of the plant-based food movement (via Veg News). Since then, IKEA has made strides toward its goal of serving a 50% plant-based menu by the year 2025 with the addition of items like veggie hot dogs and plant-based chicken.

Now, IKEA is expanding on that goal. The brand's parent company, Ingka, is introducing a new dining hall experience to three cities — one that's even more plant-based.


"We are excited to be unveiling Saluhall, our bold and fresh Nordic take on the food hall concept," the Ingka Centres' Commercial and Digital Director, Jens Nielsen, said in a press release. Nielsen then went on to say, "Our food offering has long been a key element of our meeting places, and with Saluhall we will go beyond dining to inspire the many people with more sustainable food choices, like plant-based dishes." There are currently only a few Saluhall locations in development: one in Changsha, China, another in Gurugram, India, and a third in San Francisco, California. Each will begin 80% plant-based, with plans to evolve the menus to become 100% plant-based and zero-waste. 

Although what exactly will be on those menus is yet to be revealed, Stéphane Keulian, Ingka Group's Concept Development Leader, said they'll be inspired by the Nordic Food Manifesto of the early 2000s. With a focus on Nordic street food, menus will be centered around bakery items, beer, burgers, and ice cream — all made in alignment with the manifesto by using seasonal and local ingredients (per Norden). Vendors at Saluhall must subscribe to the manifesto and follow principles that favor regenerative agriculture. Keulian also stresses that local people and businesses will very much be a part of the show. "We are teaming up and connecting with other visionary minds who are eager to reinvent the traditional food court idea and bring a taste of local culture to Saluhall," they said in the press statement.