IKEA Is Serving 3D-Printed Vegan Meatballs During Job Interviews

Let's be honest: as much as we go to IKEA for the furniture, the food it offers in the cafeteria is a good enough reason alone to visit the store. Those iconic Swedish meatballs somehow manage to turn buying bookcases and bed frames into a whole experience, and now IKEA is bringing that same experience to its job applicants.

According to the IKEA website, the company wants potential employees to be able to actively engage in IKEA technology, and is doing so through its "Taste the Future" recruitment campaign. As part of the campaign, select candidates who interview for a creative or data and technology related role at IKEA — whether it be architect, engineer, or data scientist — will be treated to a serving of 3D-printed Swedish meatballs during the interview.

The goal of this is to use the unique offering as a conversation starter to ultimately "entice a diverse and extraordinary range of tech talent." In other words, what interviewees say about the meatball technology will give the IKEA hiring team insight on their understanding of the IKEA vision.

Will 3D meatball printers be put at any IKEA stores?

Unless you're planning to apply for a tech job at IKEA, unfortunately you won't get the chance to try a 3D-printed meatball. IKEA clarified in a press release that the 3D meatball printers will only be used for the "Taste the Future" campaign, and the company doesn't have any current plans to install them in the in-store restaurants. The good news, however, is that IKEA's 3D meatball printer uses the same recipe as the plant-based meatballs that are already on the company's official menu.

IKEA introduced the meatless meatball, which they appropriately named a plant ball, back in 2020 in efforts to reduce their climate footprint. To replicate the consistency of the original IKEA meatball, the plant ball is made with pea protein, oats, potato, and apple. As for the flavor, the recipe uses mushroom, tomato, and roasted vegetables to create a meat-like, umami taste. It's hard to imagine any other IKEA meatball coming close to the original, but the sustainability of it (and the fact that it can literally be printed out) are reason enough to give the plant-based alternative a try. Just remember, if you really want to see the 3D printer in action, you'll have to snag an interview first.