Where would we be without IKEA and its insanely useful furniture, not to mention the surprisingly legit Swedish food? I know it’s been said before, but for a business built on affordable dining room sets and impossible-to-pronounce product names, IKEA is no slouch in its grocery department—you can even get sustainable seafood!
Most recently, the Nordic chain held its Democratic Design Days 2019 event in Älmhult, Sweden, and announced a ton of new products, cool collaborations, and even a mysterious endeavor with one of the founders of Noma restaurant. Below are some of the upcoming projects we’re most excited about:
Ocean Plastic Comes Home
Available at IKEA stores in Italy and Spain this autumn is MUSSELBLOMMA, a collection made entirely from recycled plastic, including PET plastic waste caught in nets in the Mediterranean Sea and collected by Spanish fishermen.
“We want to help people to be conscious about the problem of the big amount of plastic waste in our oceans,” said designer Inma Bermúdez. “It is a must that we all take responsibility, every day. The colours in the collection are taken from the sea: different greens and turquoise combined with coral that brings light and happiness to the pattern.”
Sustainable Farming, Sustained by Design
In partnership with industrial designer Tom Dixon, IKEA looks into the future of agriculture (and the future of the climate) with “a series of smart solutions for home growing.” With the goal of reducing food waste as well as cultivating healthier food habits, the Dixon project will expand the world of indoor growing for individuals and families looking to take a more direct role in their food production.
“Every day brings miserable headlines about the destruction of our natural world,” said designer Tom Dixon. “I think many people feel they want to contribute to change and one thing that we all can do is nurture the world by growing. Without plants we are nothing.”
A Kitchen Collection That Cleans the Air
Launching in fall of this year, a collection including straw mats and bowls will take rice straws—a byproduct from rice harvesting that has historically been burned, leading to significant air pollution—and turn them into kitchenware.
“Growing up in India, I have never been able to take clean air for granted,” said IKEA designer Akanksha Deo. ”Heavy air pollution is part of mine and many other people’s everyday life. The idea of doing something that contributes to improving the situation has given me a lot of energy. We wanted to reflect this important topic in this collection.”
A Helping Hand at Home
Developed with comfort, function, and safety in mind, IKEA’s existing OMTÄNKSAM (Swedish for “thoughtful”) collection will be expanded to include ergonomic products in the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. Currently, the range includes comfortable chairs that are easy to get in and out of, cushions, and jar grippers to help you unscrew lids.
At this year’s Democratic Design Days, visitors got to taste a brand new, plant-based protein version of IKEA’s classic Swedish meatballs. The new meatball is made with plant-based alternative proteins, ingredients including pea protein and pea starch, potato flakes, oats, and apple.
“We know that the IKEA meatballs are loved by the many, and for years the meatballs have been the most popular dish in our restaurants," said Michael La Cour, managing director at IKEA Food Services AB. “We also see a growing demand from our customers to have access to more sustainable food options, and we want to meet that need.”
IKEA x Claus Meyer
Details are still in the works, but IKEA announced an open-ended partnership with Claus Meyer, the founder of New Nordic Cuisine as well as the cofounder of Noma. “We have just started the collaboration and are still in the exploration phase,” an IKEA representative told Food52. “No concrete development of a new dish, product or menu item has been decided yet, but it’s part of the possibilities we will explore in the upcoming months. Together with Claus Meyer, IKEA Food has identified certain areas where we see great potential:
“We want to side with the next generation and enable them to become ambassadors for good food, by creating a food offer that has the well-being of both people and planet at heart. Together with Claus, IKEA Food wants to inspire and enable the younger generation to make good food choices today that can help in creating a more sustainable tomorrow."