An IKEA Food Developer Shares the Best Way to Spend $20 in the Store’s Swedish Food MarketNovember 29, 2017
When people think of IKEA, two things often come to mind – the furniture and those delicious Swedish meatballs.
We had the chance to pass a few questions along to Peter Ho, IKEA U.S. lead food manager, about why food is such an important part of the IKEA experience.
People love the furniture at IKEA, but they also love the food. Why do you think people connect with the food at IKEA in the way that they do?
It’s a great way to take a break, talk about your possible selections with your family and friends and just enjoy social time with a good healthy and inexpensive meal. When customers hear IKEA, not only do they think of great Scandinavian-designed furniture, they also think of tasty, traditional Swedish meatballs. There is something for everyone at the IKEA Restaurant to accommodate varied dietary restrictions. And with the food at low prices, it affords our customers to try different things. In addition to the daily restaurant offers, IKEA Restaurants share four Swedish traditions with the community including: julbord, Påskbord, Midsummer and crayfish.
How do you think food is a part of the IKEA experience when a customer visits an IKEA store?
Our customers have options: to have a full meal in our restaurant or just a FIKA break. We also sell our popular items in our Swedish Food Market. IKEA Food helps create a fun day out for the entire family. With great children’s meals at the IKEA Restaurant, a family of four can dine for less than $20. With a full line of food products in our Swedish Food Market, customers can create nutritious meals at home in less than 30 minutes.
What’s the most popular menu item?
Swedish meatballs are a favorite, as well as our hot and cold, sustainable salmon dishes. The IKEA Restaurant also offers seasonal dishes, which are popular, too! Our restaurants open 30 minutes before the store so customers can start their IKEA shopping experience with breakfast. One of our popular breakfast dishes is the Swedish-American breakfast, which includes: cage-free scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, breakfast potatoes and Swedish pancakes with organic strawberry jam. This hearty breakfast is priced at $2. Of course, a meal would not be complete without dessert. The IKEA Restaurants offer some Swedish favorites including Daim cake, Swedish apple cake and princess cakes.
If a customer is visiting IKEA for the very first time, what would you suggest they order?
The choices vary every day so it’s more than just one thing. Of course, salmon dishes and meatball dishes with lingonberries are popular.
You offer a number of food options that customers can take home. If a customer had $20 to spend, how should they fill their shopping cart?
There are so many choices, it depends on what the customer wants; dessert items, cheese and crackers. Or dinner items like veggie balls or frozen salmon. In the Swedish Food Market, a customer has a lot of options for $20 to create various meals for the day. They can start their day with some great organic products like jams including cloudberry. Our markets also have muesli, Kalles Kaviar and whole grain bread mix, which are great for breakfast. And don’t forget IKEA’s UTZ certified coffees. For $20, a customer can feed a family of four with Swedish meatballs, lingonberry jam and mashed potatoes or a meal of salmon fillets, lemon-dill sauce and vegetable medallions.
Is value a big part of the IKEA dining experience? Does the menu change? If so, how often, and how do you decide what new things to incorporate?
At IKEA, we offer delicious, nutritious meals at low prices that reflect our Swedish culture. Our menu changes seasonally twice a year to reflect spring/summer and fall/winter. In each “season,” we choose soups and sauces that reflect those periods of the year. Our salads and sandwiches vary based on the time of year.