To Go Green, Ikea Plans to Sell a Vegetarian Swedish 'Meatball'

They taste the same if you close your eyes.

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With more than 300 giant, warehouse-style stores across the world, and ubiquitous, cheap furniture that eats up a full percent of the world's commercial wood supply, IKEA isn't a retailer with a particularly small carbon footprint. So product developers at the Swedish furniture purveyor are honing in on how they can help fight climate change by making adjustments to one of their most popular products: the iconic Swedish meatballs.

Their plan? Go vegetarian. Each year, IKEA's cafes sells an insane 150 million meatballs, made of a recipe calling for beef and pork. Pigs and, especially, cows are two major contributors to methane gas emission, and recent research from Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology has argued that reducing meat and dairy consumption from these gassy animals might even be crucial to reaching United Nations' emission reductions goals. So offering a vegetarian option really could help IKEA, at least in one small way, go green.

At a climate conference in London, Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for IKEA in the U.K. said, "We are looking at all our food products from a sustainability perspective but specifically meatballs. They are very popular and they are also our most carbon-intensive food item on our menu," The Telegraph reports. The company has calculated that the food sold at its stores accounted for 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the 2013 fiscal year. These vegetarian meatballs, they hope, could put a dent in that.

Look for them on the menu at some point in 2015.

Top Image courtesy Flickr user Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

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