Sonoma Creamery Cheese Crisp Bars - Waking up the bar category - From the makers of parmesan crisps and Mr. Cheese Os
Beemster makes it better
IKEA's Food Services Managing Director Michael La Cour Talks Food Innovation

IKEA's Food Services Managing Director Michael La Cour Talks Food Innovation

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Let’s be honest, half of the trips taken to IKEA are primarily for the meatballs; wandering away from the arrowed-path and stumbling upon a collection of household items you didn’t know you needed is just an added bonus. And while the iconic meatballs aren’t going anywhere soon, the company is looking to bolster its culinary offerings and continue to pave the way in both furniture and food innovation.

With the Future Food-Tech Summit happening this June in New York, source Future Food-Tech New York interviewed IKEA Food Services’ Managing Director Michael La Cour, who is speaking at the event, to learn more about IKEA’s plans for advancing food innovation, reducing food waste, and collaborating with start-ups in the food-tech space.

Michael La Cour, Managing Director, IKEA Food Services“Food has been an important part of IKEA from the beginning,” La Cour told Future Food-Tech New York. “The first IKEA Restaurant opened in 1959, only a year after the first IKEA store opened in Älmhult, Sweden. Later the IKEA Bistro and the Swedish food market was added to the concept. The IKEA meatballs are a true IKEA icon as well-known as BILLY bookshelf and KLIPPAN sofa and as Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA’s Founder, said: ‘You can’t do business on an empty stomach.’”

La Cour noted that close to a billion people visit an IKEA store annually, with more than 660 million people stopping by the food court in more than 400 stores across 49 markets. With so much foot traffic driven by hungry patrons, IKEA has had ample space to continue to innovate its menu and look for new flavors and recipes its customers will enjoy.

IKEA Storefront

Currently, IKEA creates food based on the five Democratic Design principles: function, form, quality, sustainability, and low price—which has encouraged IKEA to examine the whole value chain, from sourcing to the final product, in order to offer food items with health and sustainability at their heart.

“We want to inspire healthier and more sustainable eating and lifestyles in our Restaurants, Bistros, and Swedish Food Markets. One could say that we have become obsessed with developing delicious, affordable, healthy, and sustainable food. Simply: better food for people and the planet. We believe that through our business we can support and influence positive change,” La Cour said.

One way IKEA is keeping sustainability at the forefront of its culinary endeavor is tackling food waste in its stores through its “Food is Precious” initiative, which has the goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by the end of August 2020. As part of its Bootcamp project, IKEA is also exploring sustainable food options by partnering with start-ups who are changing the game of healthy, sustainable eating. For example, one start-up IKEA is working with is exploring fruit flies as an alternative protein source, while future-living lab Space 10 recently launched five new menu items in partnership with IKEA.

IKEA's Space10 Dogless Hot Dog

“I think that we are looking at an industry that will go through an end-to-end change in the coming years. Technological innovation will play a vital role in that change. Facing the challenges that I mentioned earlier, I think we should see this moment in time as a golden opportunity to engage with smart, useful technology that can have an impact throughout the value chain. Whether it’s the smart scale for food waste or digital supply chain solutions, with the emergence of the internet of things and blockchain I think that we’ll see some radical changes ahead which can form part of not just our business processes and how we work, but how we address issues like health and sustainability: food waste, data from farms in our supply chain, clean meat, bio-simulated materials like milk and insects to name a few. The whole industry is abuzz with these kinds of initiatives,” finished La Cour.

To read the interview in its entirety, click here.

For more on companies innovating the way we eat, stick with us at Deli Market News.


In This Story

The IKEA vision is to “create a better everyday life for the many people”.

Sonoma Creamery Cheese Crisp Bars - Waking up the bar category - From the makers of parmesan crisps and Mr. Cheese OsBeemster makes it better

Have a new product, press release or story idea?

Let us know

Inc. Magazine Unveils Its 37th Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 5000

For the 8th Time, Hissho Appears on the Inc. 5000, Ranking No. 3893. With Three-Year Revenue Growth of 91.7 Percent
View Press Release

WCMA Adds Staff as Member Services Expand

The association has welcomed Sara Schmidt as its new Office and Member Service Coordinator, working to support WCMA’s expanded array of benefits to member organizations.
View Press Release

Now It's Official! Flow is a Business Doing Good

BeeInventive, the company behind the multiple award-winning “honey on tap” FlowHive, is now a Certified B CorporationⓇ.
View Press Release

Hissho Among 2018 Middle Market Leaders

Hissho has just been named #8 among the 2018 Middle Market Leaders honorees by Charlotte Business Journal.
View Press Release

Halton Group Acquires U.S. Indoor Air Equipment Manufacturer

The acquisition makes the company a part of Halton's Foodservice business that specializes in professional kitchen environments.
View Press Release

Olive Oil Commission of California to Hold Workshops on Producing, Evaluating, and Protecting Olive Oil Quality

The goal of these workshops is to discuss the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) standards for Extra Virgin Olive Oil and to educate all sectors of the olive oil supply chain on best practices.
View Press Release

Pereg Natural Foods Launches Everything Bagel Spice Mix

A little of Everything (But the Bagel) Spice Mix will bring big flavor to everything!
View Press Release

Allies GF Goodies Bakes Great Foods That Are Good for All

The Long Island-based baking operation now distributes to retail as well as to foodservice.
View Press Release

WCMA Credits Member Action, Sen. Baldwin for Key Dairy Votes

With reports of a close vote on this proposal, WCMA and many of its members sprang into action, contacting key swing senators.
View Press Release

Old Amsterdam is Going on Tour in the Northeast

The company launches a grassroots sampling campaign to bring “The Gold Standard of Aged Gouda” to state fairs, festivals, and retailers.
View Press Release