UPDATE: IKEA's veggie hot dog is now available at IKEA locations in the U.S., according to a press release issued by the company on Sept. 27.
EARLIER: Pop quiz: what's the real reason we all go to Ikea? (A) The jazzy pet furniture. (B) The affordably priced organizational tools. (C) The food. (D) JK because of course it's the food. IKEA is often the answer when people want really good eats and maybe want to shop for lamps after; and now, the enormous home goods store is on its way to being more sensitive to herbivores: IKEA is testing out veggie dogs, they announced on social media. In addition to probably being delicious, they look ridiculously Instagram-worthy. You can expect to see the final version of the hot dog in European locations come August.
Let's talk about IKEA's menu for a second. They've got Swedish meatballs (obvi). They've got salmon fillet. They've got chicken stuffed with cheese and bacon. Mouthwatering? Undoubtedly. And, according to their website, it's all sustainably made. But if you're meat-free or simply want a plant-based, meat imposter snack, what's an IKEA shopper to do? Enter the veggie dog. In their Instagram post, IKEA Food Services explained to fans they're testing it out at one of their locations in Sweden. While, as they said in a comment, they can't yet confirm the veggie dog is 100 percent vegan, IKEA did say it does not contain any animal ingredients. If you've seen veggie dogs in the past, it's probably because some locations already have a veggie dog for their own menu, IKEA says. However, with this new creation, they're going global!
The search for veggie-based "meat" that looks appetizing, tastes good, and at least somewhat resembles the real thing has never ended. Take it from this herbivore right here. A lot of veggie dogs that claim to have the taste and texture of the pork-based item? Not so much. But if anyone can step up to the challenge and deliver, it's Ikea. We're talking about the people who serve penne with marinara, Swedish waffles, and chocolate cake. If you ever have any doubts as to how good their food is, all you need to do is follow the crowd of people into Ikea. They're not looking at aluminum shelving units. They're eating.
The food is so good, in fact, there have been talks to open stand-alone cafes, according to Fast Company, who spoke with Gerd Diewald, the head of food operations for Ikea in the U.S. While the amount of money the restaurant generates may seem small in comparison to IKEA as a whole — whose revenue is in the tens of billions, says Fast Company — it's still nothing to scoff at. In 2013, for instance, IKEA Food's sales were around $1.5 billion. That's 1.5 billion reasons to open stand-alone cafes where you can eat veggie dogs, Swedish meatballs, and chocolate cake to your heart's content. Do you have any idea how many meatballs that is?
If veggie dogs aren't quite your thing, IKEA does have other meat-free options that you can take home and cook. Based on their website, these include mashed potatoes, cheese pies, pancakes, waffles, and potato fritters. If all goes to plan, hopefully meatless dogs are next; and if we're really lucky, they'll be completely vegan-friendly. Don't think Ikea is packing all their vegetarian options with straight up tofu, either. They use ingredients like chickpeas, green peas, carrots, and kale. Flavorful and packed with protein? Brilliant.
If you're in Europe this summer and you're craving something tasty yet animal-friendly, stop by the nearest IKEA to see if they're serving veggie dogs. It's the perfect pick-me-up you need before shopping for shower caddies. If he response is positive, we can hope to see hot diggity dogs stateside not long after. Bon appetit!