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Ikea affirms bid to ditch Swedish food brands

Ikea affirms bid to ditch Swedish food brands

Published: 24 Jan 2012 12:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 24 Jan 2012 12:02 GMT+01:00

“The overall strategy remains in place,” Ikea spokesperson Ylva Magnusson told the Local.

“The goal is to have around 150 Ikea-branded food items for sale in our stores.”

In October, Ikea announced plans to replace its assortment of Swedish-brand eats in favour of exclusively Ikea-branded food.

The primary reason for the change, according to Magnusson, is to give Ikea more control of the food products on offer on Ikea stores in order to guarantee production and quality standards.

The move set off an angry wave of complaints from Swedes living abroad and other aficionados of famous Swedish brands such as Cloetta chocolates, Abba herring, Kalle's caviar spread, and cookies by Göteborgskex, many of which are only available in Ikea food shops in various parts of the world.

Facebook pages protesting the decision attracted thousands of members who aired their frustration and were urged to write the company to complain.

“The world's worst decision,” Maria Prunty, a Swede living in Nevada in the US, wrote on one of the "Only IKEA brand on food? - No thank you" Facebook page.

“At Ikea they have a sign that says bring a taste of Sweden home. This is no longer true!,” wrote New York-based Swede Thomas Noe on the “Bring REAL food back to IKEA Swedeshop” Facebook page.

Magnusson characterized as “misleading” reports in the Swedish press on Tuesday suggesting that Ikea had reversed the controversial decision, explaining that Ikea was still stocking non-Ikea brand foods as they ramped up production of their own goods.

“We've found we haven't been able to roll out our own products as quickly as we would have liked, so in order to ensure that our customers still have a complete assortment of products, we're still open to having products from external suppliers,” she said.

Magnusson added that she sympathized with customers' ongoing concerns about Ikea's plans to stock exclusively own-brand food items.

“It may take time to adjust, and I understand it may be difficult, but I hope that people are curious and dare to give Ikea brands a chance,” she said.

“Ikea's own recipes are based on Swedish tastes and characteristics, so our customers will still be able to get a taste of Sweden even if the label on the outside is different.”

According to Magnusson, it may take “several months” before the transition to a complete assortment of Swedish brands is complete, calling the change “exciting”.

However, she held out the possibility that disgruntled fans of traditional Swedish food brands may still be able to affect Ikea's future plans.

“Nothing is set in stone,” said Magnusson.

“Moving forward, what's important is that we continue to listen to our customers.”

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

12:44 January 24, 2012 by bronc
As long as I can get Julmust still back in California I'll be ok!
12:54 January 24, 2012 by byke
I think it's the right decision.

Ikea is a Swedish brand, and what better way to promote Swedish Food .. For what it is.
12:58 January 24, 2012 by Twiceshy
Yes I "dare" you to eat cookies made in china over those made in gothenburg. Not this guy! One more reason NOT to go to IKEA!
13:18 January 24, 2012 by BritVik
The fact of stopping such brands as Kalle's Kaviar and ABBA fish products which do have an international following could be a bit shortsighted. Whoever heard of IKEA Kaviar for example, or IKEA Herring? Having its own brand is one thing, promoting other well-known Swedish brands is another, and to some extent, with the spread of IKEA, they go hand in hand, surely?
13:33 January 24, 2012 by JulieLou40
Britvik, I totally agree. There was no need for this decision. Very bad marketing indeed.
13:45 January 24, 2012 by Thebinary1
"Deal with it @ssholes!" - Unknown

"We don't have an obligation to solve America's employment problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible." - Apple Executive
14:22 January 24, 2012 by Anne Grubb
ex pat Swedes can buy from heaps of online shops across the world like http://sverigeonline.se/ and many more - just google it. In the UK there's also www.scandikitchen.co.uk - and probably others too.
14:22 January 24, 2012 by Amber Dawn
I used to run in to Ikea about once a month, just to buy Swedish food when I was in the US. It was great to put in gift baskets and such. No one wants a basket of things that say Ikea... I think this is a mistake.
14:28 January 24, 2012 by Roy E
Boo, Hiss, and two thumbs down, Ikea.

Fortunately, there are alternatives.
14:29 January 24, 2012 by skogsbo
The things is that alot of the produce will still come from exactly the same manufacturers, Ikea doesn't own cookie, fish, crisp, saft.. factories. It is no different to supermarkets selling stuff under their own brand. It is generally not the premium stuff that a manufacturer passes onto supermarkets (mainly because supermarkets won't pay for it).

Time will tell on the quality of Ikea's own brand. For many items the label may change, the product will be identical. At the end of the day, ikea meatballs are as tasty as the inside of a golf ball, they can only get better.
14:32 January 24, 2012 by hipersons1
I think what Swedish expats and Swedafiles are forgetting in the middle of their well placed rage is that Ikea's purpose is always to promote its brand and Sweden to people who otherwise wouldn't known a damn thing about this deep-frozen country. The average person shopping at Ikea does not have an attachment to Abba or Cloetta or Calle or any of the other brands that we all know and love so much. They do know the Ikea name, though, and it is a name they trust. Ikea knows that if you're desperate enough, the Swedes will find their way to Ikea foods. Even if you don't, it probably won't make a huge dent in their profits. In this case, the expats and others unfortunately don't have the power of the purse. ::: sigh ::: :(
14:40 January 24, 2012 by Gletta
and there is me thinking IKEA was a Dutch company with a bit of Liechtenstein thrown in
14:52 January 24, 2012 by terriergirl
The Swedish food shop was the main pull of the IKEA Gateshead. Now there isn't much point in me driving there. Although it opens up a business opportunity for some canny Swede to start an export business and post me some Kalles Kaviar, Daim cake and decent ost.
14:56 January 24, 2012 by skogsbo
but would a Swede in the UK, pay the same prices as say the English shop charges for the equivalent product, there is only money to be made where there is volume and you automatically have a competitor!
16:46 January 24, 2012 by Scepticion
Do you get the cookies in a flat box, with the spread in a separate tube, and you have to assemble them yourself?
17:05 January 24, 2012 by byke
I cant really see what the problem is, if swedes dont like it .... they can simply move.

No one is forcing them to buy this stuff or live abroad.
17:24 January 24, 2012 by Opinionfool
On my first few trips to Sweden I used to search out the nearest IKEA store and its restaurant. When I returned home to my native country I went to an IKEA store, which had a restaurant too and I could relive my culinary experiences ... though the food was never as well prepared or cooked as in Sweden. It was inaccessible really being out-of-town. But there was a small food outlet. It didn't stock a great selection of items; mostly knackerbord and Dajm bars. However, I could never really persuade myself to go back to IKEA because of their awful check-out service. Dead snails move faster!

On my last trip home I discovered a small Scandinavian delicatessen just meters from the offices I have to visit. So when I'm away form my new Swedish home I can get brands that I'm familiar with and like as if I were there. No more trips to IKEA for me. In other words I don't mind that they are dropping food brands.
19:50 January 24, 2012 by eurobloke
@AnneGrubb

Yes, but Totally Swedish and Scandinavian Kitchen although they are very good and I am not dissing them, are slightly pricey as they are small ex-pat stores catering to the Swedish clientèle.

For example one packet of tunnbröd is 1:- £ (10:57 kr) (http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/30228817/) in IKEA while it is over 3:30 £ (34:88 kr) in Totally Swedish (http://www.totallyswedish.com/sv/webbshop/mat/bageriet/polar-mjukt-tunnbroed-frysvara)

Some of the IKEA stuff is not bad (I like their coffee), but since they dropped the brands they haven't come up with the good copycats to replace them like Kalles Kaviar.
20:34 January 24, 2012 by Andrea77
I'm sure no. 16, byke, has a solution for all the world's problems.
21:12 January 24, 2012 by byke
I made the comment, simply because I wanted to see what it felt like to have the shoe on the other foot so to speak. As this is usually the common response from Swedes in the forum section when anyone wishes to discuss international food.
21:47 January 24, 2012 by jack sprat
What a handful of grumpy Swedes think is virtually irrelevant.

They are hardly even a drop in the ocean in the greater scheme of things.
05:42 January 25, 2012 by lilymaye
o many Swedes but also other Scandivanians living in Australia this Christmas (2011) was a very dissapointing and 'empty' as most of the well loved Swedish foods were no longer available for us to purchase. IKEA has been the only place where we can find the variety of Scandinavian foods! I guess it's hard to imagine, but for a Scandinavian living on the other side of the world the few Scandinavian food products that you can enjoy on your Christmas table means so much more than what it may very well do if you can drop down to the local store and purchase them any day you like! it means even more when the sun is beating hot and NOTHING feels like the Christmas' you grew up with. And isn't food a very big part in any culture? Uptil now my family have been rejoicing with many others as we happily stand in que for our 'Christmas shopping' at IKEA, oodling the things we remember from our home country, foods we grew up with - memories of days gone by. Many of these things like 'Kalle's kaviar' is something we have with pride taught our children to enjoy and that has become one of the few things that we had had the opportunity to pass on to our families. All this is going to be taken away from us because IKEA wants to make a bigger profit and not counting the culture loss in the process. No longer will they 'show the world' all the good things about Scandinavia, letting the brands that have been enjoyed by generations be sold and enjoyed by those who still would love to keep some of their Scandinavian culture alive. I find it very sad, especially since there is no quality substitute for many of these products and in all honest....does anyone else with a weak spot from swedish food be happy to have ONLY the IIKEA branded food products on their own Christmas table? is this what we want our children abroad to remember from their childhood? That all Scandinavian foods are made by IKEA? NO!!!! So I sincerely hope that Ylva Magnusson at IKEA will remember her fellow Scandinavians in Australia on Christmas Eve when she sits at her Christmas dinner, enjoying the broad range of tradtional Swedish foods and opens her second box of ALLADIN chocolate!
07:21 January 25, 2012 by skogsbo
lily, if it's that critical, just make a box up of it and get someone to dhl it to you.

A private companies selling goods to other private customers has decided to change its range of goods, but the way folk moan you would think they were asking you for your spare kidney! It's only a few items of food in a furniture store, reality check required?
09:27 January 25, 2012 by karex
Forget the contents, Ikea is missing the point all together (like most manufacturers these days I might add):

"Moving forward, what's important is that we continue to listen to our customers".

This is the biggest bunch of bull I have seen in a long time. Ikea's arbitrary decision is anything BUT listening to their customers who have been protesting but they don't care. But hey, "they're listening"...!

Seems to be a new tendency in the market these days. Take all those "for your conveninece" features in software products where the software decides everything for the user: how to edit text, what language the SW decides that you want to see your search results displayed in, etc... Suppliers have been slowly taking over the thinking process of the customer and telling the customer what they want. Pretty soon they will be telling customers that they will decide everything because the customer doesn't know how to make his/her own decisions.

I hope they loose all their customers.
09:59 January 25, 2012 by skogsbo
yeah I can see loads of folk buying kitchens etc. elsewhere now, even if it will cost them 10-20,000 krona more, that will show ikea who is boss!

Or perhaps 99.9% of the customers will keep on shopping as they don't buying any food there anyway and won't have even noticed the change.
10:14 January 25, 2012 by sanmic
If you are interested, visit our webshop, Butik Hemlängtan.

http://www.swedishfoodshop.com

The shop has been online since 1997.
15:29 January 25, 2012 by Liefje
as being not Swedish i have no attachment to the above mentioned brands.

As usual during my last visit in IKEA back in Rotterdam, i took IKEA branded same things, and .... oh my... they tasted THE SAME!

i do not honestly care how does the glass jar look like, if its says ABBA or IKEA on it, for i do not eat the jar.

To those who buy presents in IKEA food store, folks you need to pay a visit to a shrink... seriously
16:36 January 25, 2012 by Roy E
@Liefje

The value of a gift is determined by the recipient, you materialistic idiot.
10:04 January 26, 2012 by Liefje
@ Roy,

If you want to give a gift of swedish herring form IKEA, sure go ahead. Does it make me a materialist for NOT caring what brand name is on the jar? Or does it make YOU a materialist?

Questioning my intelect is another issue :)
14:18 January 26, 2012 by gabeltoon
As a SCOTSMAN i like the SWEDISH branded foods that i have eaten and hope to in the future.As long as these foods are still produced in SWEDEN it doesn't matter about the labels.
10:29 January 27, 2012 by hejsweden
isnt this an opp for someone to start a business selling what Ikea used to sell....... Tak
16:44 January 27, 2012 by jbkulp
Anyone who believes their line about wanting to control quality and production is REALLY naive. It's all about more money they can make. That having been said, Swedes abroad are the one's mostly affected, since the stores are--well--in a foreign country where most of the customers are foreign and will probably not know or care what products they are offered in the food store. As for me, my wife works for an airline that flies to Stockholm, so we just take an empty suitcase and fill up when we go, getting it cheaper than IKEA sells it anyway. Only my wife moans about them not selling godis anymore, which she shouldn't eat anyway. Hey! Maybe the Swedish embassies abroad should open up food stores in them where the Swedes can get their Swedish fixes.
16:28 January 28, 2012 by larsonczoty
Heck with that - then I shall mail order the Swedish brands - it does make a difference. A year or three ago I purchased some of their "swedish princess cakes", a raspberry/marzipan delight, and fell in love with them, purchasing them for myself and a granddaughter every time I went to Ikea. All of a sudden they appeared a different color and I wondered why. Ugh - they were awful. The marzipan was so thin that you couldn't even taste it! They can make all the Ikea brand stuff they like - I'll get my Swedish food elsewhere - besides, they are a furniture store!
04:04 January 30, 2012 by doogiebklyn
Speaking as someone who has work with branding and marketing for decades, this is a huge blunder by IKEA. What IKEA had in the hundreds of thousands of Swedes living abroad is what every brand dreams of, brand ambassadors that does not cost money.

We all know the real reason behind it, cost saving = higher profits = corporate greed. Not a very Swedish attribute but capitalism is now truly global. I love the reason IKEA state "to better control the quality". Are you kidding me?!?! All of the dropped brands are regarded much higher than IKEA from a quality and brand perspective. Surely they must know this, and how it actually enhances their brand by being associated with those other classic Swedish brand.

Without reviewing the replacement products item by item, I'm sure I speak for most Swedes that they are horrible! Sweden, a county know for Marabou chocolate replaced by this generic product even worse than Herseys! Even the packaging is horrible, something else that Sweden used to be famous for, design.

I would actually have been less upset if the food stores closed all together! That would be justifiable as they are after all a furniture store. I hope this poor Ylva Magnusson is just a PR person and not the decision maker behind this because ultimately that person will most probably be replaced.

There is something intangible about brands that won't shop up in Powerpoint presentation. IKEA had it and gave it away.
20:37 January 31, 2012 by schatzburg
I am not going to buy these new brands and am incredibly disappointed in Ikea. Why change something that worked so well and gave us a real taste of Sweden. Sometimes "good business" leaves the customer in the dust.
00:17 February 5, 2012 by lilymaye
Dear Skogsby,

I just want to respond to your comment on my comment as you have totally missunderstood me and the fact that sending anything by mail to Australia in the middle of summer ( what happens to be Christmas time) is kind of pointless with the weather being around +30C or more!

Twenty years ago family and friends were kind enough to sometimes send us an Alladin box of chocolates in the mail for Christmas, only to find it all had melted into one big runny mess. So we were all very excited when IKEA imported a range of chilled products at a reasonable price.

I've checked out the 'swedishfoodshop.com' and to have 1 Kalles Kaviar sent to me would cost 384.00 kronor!!!

Perhaps this make you understand how hard it is for us on this side of the globe to have a 'Swedish Christmas' and if IKEA is really about promoting Scandinvian culture they need to rethink their food products.
04:11 February 16, 2012 by mlindau
I could not believe the change. I have been buying loads of Pages cinnamon rolls for years. Now Ikea has substituted with some godawful cardboard, probably with poisonous "extenders" from China or some place.

The IKEA chocolate is also godawful.

I also notice that their furniture is cheaper and has more and more just cardboard parts.

All their own stuff is YUCK!

I know it will backfire, now I never go to IKEA.

At least in Los Angeles, there is a Scandinavian little store on Pico blvd, now getting much more business.
16:53 December 5, 2012 by Sawayo
Yes, hate it when people and companies are condescending. IKEA did not switch from Swedish brands to the IKEA brand inorder to best serve the people. Shame on them. It is their business and they can run it however they please, but two thumbs down from me.

We see these stunts happening all the time, but IKEA has unfortunately taken the soul out of their business. If they keep steady on this course they are well on their way to generic.
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