3rd December 2021 By Staff Reporter | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
Ikea’s meatballs are almost as famous as the flat-pack furniture retailer itself, so having secured a site in Auckland for its first New Zealand store the European company will soon be looking for local food suppliers.
The Swedish furniture and homeware giant plans to develop its first New Zealand store at Mt Wellington’s Sylvia Park shopping centre in Auckland. It signed a sales and purchase agreement this week with Sylvia Park owners Kiwi Property Group, entering a conditional agreement to buy 3.2 hectares on the eastern side of the existing shopping mall.
Ikea said in 2018 that it would be hitting our shores but progress has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time of announcing its entry, Ikea said the full-sized Auckland outlet would include its in-store restaurant, where it traditionally serves up its famous Swedish meatballs with a side of mash and lingonberry sauce.
However, in Australia the retail giant had adopted a more locally-focused menu, including a meat pie, for the circa five million Australians who shopped for food or ate at its restaurants each year, accounting for 5% of its total turnover.
Around five years ago, Ikea changed its food direction and its menu range to meet growing demand in Australia for more locally-sourced food.
This saw it work with 10 Australian produce partners who would help supply the six in-store restaurants in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. They included Yarra Valley pork, Tasmanian chicken, Gippsland lamb shanks, Queensland and Northern Territory beef and Australian grown vegetables.
Since then it has evolved its Australian menu further to embrace a greater range of plant-based foods including its famous meatballs, as it looks to lower its carbon footprint.
Reportedly, one in 10 Australians opt for the plant-based meatballs over the traditional variety, and Ikea has signalled that by 2025 half of all meals in its Australian restaurants will be plant-based, in line with its goal to produce net zero emissions by 2030.
Ikea is the world’s largest furniture retailer, with more 420 stores in more than 50 countries, as well as online operations. It had sales worth about NZ$66bn last year.
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