IKEA isn't just known for its not-so-easy-to-build home decor. The Swedish company has established itself as a massive food chain, selling approximately $2.5 billion at its bistros, cafes, and restaurants annually. Now, IKEA has announced that it will open three plant-forward, Nordic-inspired food halls in San Francisco, California; Changsha, China; and Gurugram, India.

Called Saluhall, they will feature an 80 percent plant-based menu upon opening with plans to transition to a 100 percent vegan menu in the future. Developed by IKEA's parent company Ingka Group, the new plant-based food halls uphold the company's sustainability commitments. IKEA is currently transitioning its bistro menus to 50 percent plant-based items by 2025. The company also hopes to make its retail food selections 80 percent plant-based by the same year.

“We are excited to be unveiling Saluhall, our bold and fresh Nordic take on the food hall concept,” Jens Nielsen, Ingka Centres’ Commercial and Digital Director, said in a statement. “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.”

The Ingka Group currently operates 45 Meeting Places worldwide, but Saluhall will mark the company's first beef-free establishments, aiming to provide shoppers with a fully accessible and sustainable Nordic menu while minimizing the company's food-related carbon footprint.

“Saluhall revolves around food and drink, but it is a lot more than eating and drinking,” Stéphane Keulian, F&B Concept Development Leader at Ingka Group, said in a statement. “It is inspired by the New Nordic Food Manifesto movement that began nearly twenty years ago.”

IKEA’s Plant-Based Food Hall Menu

Saluhall's plant-forward menu will include Nordic street food such as burgers, ice cream, bread, and beer, among others. Eventually, the menu will evolve to exclude all animal-derived ingredients. The menu items will also likely vary from location to location, sourcing local ingredients for seasonal menu items.

“We developed the Saluhall concept to be a joyful community experience. As people come back together and enjoy spending time with each other, the demand for food halls is on the rise again,” Nielsen said. “The flexibility of Saluhall offers people the freedom they look for, and the ability to experience life together.”

Saluhall will also feature similarly affordable prices to IKEA, providing accessible plant-based fare to customers. The menu will feature oat milk ice cream, plant-based burgers, and other vegan options.

“We want it to be about a whole lot more than what’s on the menu — a modern and original twist on the traditional food hall; providing local communities with a place to meet while eating delicious food and socializing together in an even more inclusive and sustainable way,” Nielsen continued.

The new restaurant concept intends to host cooking school classes for the public. The concept restaurant will provide education on how to prepare plant-based and Nordic dishes, offering kitchens to locals for after-hour practice. The company also revealed that the leftover food will be donated to help support the local communities.

“Through lectures, cooking experiences, and a cookery school, Saluhall will be a natural location that brings people and local businesses together. And we are not doing this alone,” Keulian said. “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.”

IKEA's Sustainable Food Goals

This February, IKEA launched its first 3-D printed meatballs as a part of its "Taste the Future" campaign. The vegan Swedish Meatballs provide an innovative method of creating near-identical meatballs with entirely plant-based ingredients. This new product joins IKEA's extensive selection of plant-based fare, including a veggie dog made with kale, lentils, onions, and wheat protein.

The company aims to become “climate positive” by 2028, working to become reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and phase out plastic packaging completely. Current estimates propose that animal agriculture is responsible for 87 percent of greenhouse gas emissions within the international food sector.

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