• Sweden's news in English
 

Ikea official: I'd still eat our Swedish meatballs

25 Feb 2013, 17:50

Published: 25 Feb 2013 17:50 GMT+01:00

Ikea, most famous for its flatpack furniture, was caught flatfooted when it was dragged into Europe's ongoing horsemeat scandal on Monday.

"It came as a surprise to us," Ikea spokeswoman Anna Pilkrona-Godden told The Local following reports that food inspectors had found traces of horsemeat in frozen meatballs destined for sale in an Ikea store in the Czech Republic.

"We are treating the matter with the utmost seriousness. The quality of all our products is a top priority."

Shortly after news emerged that Ikea-brand meatballs had been shown to contain horsemeat, the Swedish furniture giant halted meatball sales across Sweden and in 14 other countries across Europe.

While the meatball recall, as well as consumer concerns about the quality of food served and sold at Ikea stores, may provide the company with a short-term headache, branding experts say it's unlikely that the Ikea brand will suffer any long-term damage in the wake of the horsemeat discovery.

"Strong brands are usually fairly resistant to these types of scandals. I would expect Ikea to bounce back from this," Sara Rosengren, a senior fellow at the Stockholm School of Economics' Centre for Consumer Marketing, told The Local.

The reports come amid an ongoing effort by the Swedish government to raise the country's profile as a culinary nation.

Launched in 2008, the initiative aims to make Sweden "the new culinary nation in Europe" and appears to have had a desired effect, with Swedish food sales in the UK up by 30 percent in the last five years.

Ikea has also boosted its efforts to play a bigger role in food sales, deciding in 2011 to ditch many famous Swedish food brands from its stores in favour of own-brand Swedish food staples such as meatballs, pickled herring, and crisp bread.

Being dragged into Horsegate would not be the first time the furniture sellers are questioned. The company has also been hit with several scandals in the last year, including an admission that it had used prison labour in East Germany.

Ikea was also stared down for sexism after it was revealed it ad airbrushed women out of the version of its catalogue available in Saudi Arabia.

However, Rosengren explained that since the horemeat scandal isn't limited to Sweden or Ikea, the discovery of horsemeat in Ikea's meatballs won't have a large effect on people's perceptions of either, although Sweden's efforts to become a "food nation" could take a hit.

"As Sweden is not quite as strong a brand when it comes to food, it's possible that it might detract from efforts to raise Sweden's culinary profile," she said.

"But the connection is rather abstract, but I'd guess that perceptions of Swedish meatballs will be more affected than views about either Sweden as a country or Ikea.

"In the short term, people may not be as keen on Swedish meatballs as they were before. But in the long term, scandals like this tend to be forgotten."

A key to ensuring that Ikea gets past the scandal is swift action, Rosengren pointed out.

"Ikea has to take it seriously and do something about it. But if it's a one-off event and is handled with care, the long term effects will be limited," she said.

Ikea's Pilkrona-Godden said it was difficult to compare the severity of the horsemeat discovery with other recent scandals, but said the company wanted to maintain an "open dialogue" with consumers.

She emphasized that Ikea customers shouldn't have doubts about the Swedish furniture giant's ability to also provide high-quality food, despite the horsemeat discovery in Ikea meatballs.

"We acted quickly to stop meatball sales because we wanted to assuage any customer concerns," she said, adding that the company is conducting further tests, the results of which are expected later in the week.

When asked whether she would eat Ikea's Swedish meatballs, Pilkrona-Godden answered in the affirmative.

"Yes, I think I would. I feel totally confident about them," she said.

David Landes

Follow David Landes on Twitter

Your comments about this article

21:15 February 25, 2013 by salalah
That is the only part of a horse I would not eat....
22:07 February 25, 2013 by StockholmSam
Somehow, I think that the only moment the spokesperson for Ikea would ever actually eat Ikea meatballs would be as part of a PR stunt.
07:19 February 26, 2013 by truthcode
disgusting meal ,Swedish can only eat this ,poor food

do not eat beef cow beef ?????????
11:26 February 26, 2013 by SimonDMontfort
...lat time I dined at an IKEA restaurant, girl behind the counter said 'We've just cooked some meatballs - aaaaannnnnnddddd they're off!'

Lol!
17:51 March 2, 2013 by Steggles
Once the horse meat is removed they just wont taste the same!
Today's headlines
Sweden confirms plans for new mortgage rules
Finance minister Per Bolund. Photo: TT

Sweden confirms plans for new mortgage rules

2 hours ago

The Swedish government has announced that new rules to force lenders to amortize on their house loans now have the backing of parliament.

Refugee crisis
Hans Rosling: 'You can't trust the media'
Screenshot: DR Nyheder

Hans Rosling: 'You can't trust the media'

6 hours ago

Swedish celebrity statistician Hans Rosling has urged the 'arrogant' media to see the big picture in a feisty clash on Danish television.

Refugee crisis
Foreign minister: EU's 'credibility' is at stake
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

Foreign minister: EU's 'credibility' is at stake

1 day ago

UPDATED: Margot Wallström, Sweden's Foreign Minister, has warned that the EU's global credibility is at stake if it does not act now to tackle the refugee crisis.

Refugee crisis
Nordic tourists rush to help refugees in Greece
A truck taking donations from Swedes and Danes to Greece. Photo: Ving

Nordic tourists rush to help refugees in Greece

1 day ago

Swedes and Danes are heading to Greece with bags of unwanted clothes and other goods to help newly-arrived refugees.

Sweden charges Rwanda genocide suspect
Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden charges Rwanda genocide suspect

1 day ago

A Swede of Rwandan origin was has been charge with genocide and war crimes.

The Local Music
The Local's top Swedish songs for September
Swedish singer Noonie Bao embracing the autumn. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Local's top Swedish songs for September

1 day ago

The Local's music guru, Paul Connolly, has picked out Sweden's eight best new tracks to help ease you into autumn.

Underarm hair post gets Swedes in a tangle
Ida Nygren Hansson was shocked when a friend confided that her daughter had asked for help to shave under her arms. File photo: Communist Casino/Flickr

Underarm hair post gets Swedes in a tangle

1 day ago

A Swedish woman’s outraged Facebook post about her friend’s 12-year-old daughter being pressured to shave under her arms has gone viral.

Opinion
'Sweden was right; the UK should be ashamed'
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at a conference earlier this year. Photo: TT/Mindaugas Kulbis

'Sweden was right; the UK should be ashamed'

1 day ago

The "open hearts and open arms" of Swedes have warmed The Local's Northern Sweden reporter Paul Connolly this week. But he's becoming increasingly ashamed of immigration policies back in his home country, the UK.

Refugee crisis
How to help refugees if you live in Sweden
Asylum seekers in Halmstad, Sweden earlier this year. Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

How to help refugees if you live in Sweden

2 days ago

As images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a Turkish beach spark debate around the world, The Local looks at some of the ways you can help refugees if you live in Sweden, which is continuing to take in more asylum seekers than any other EU nation.

Russia blocks Sweden from Chagall art loan
Chagall paintings on display in Paris in 2013. Photo: Remy de la Mauviniere/TT/AP

Russia blocks Sweden from Chagall art loan

1 day ago

Russia has blocked Sweden from borrowing Marc Chagall paintings for an upcoming exhibition of the artist's work, the Millesgården Museum in Stockholm has announced, as a diplomatic dispute continued between the two countries.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Do you know which song was Sweden's biggest summer hit?
National
Who is Sweden's secret anti-immigration blogger?
Gallery
People-watching: September 2nd
National
VIDEO: Swedish longboarder builds dreams with viral film
National
Hairy Swedish knickers on display
Blog updates

4 September

Editor’s blog, September 3rd (The Local Sweden) »

"Dear readers, As images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a Turkish beach sparked debate..." READ »

 

18 August

Preteritum eller presens perfekt? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hello everyone, It’s grammar time ! I got an interesting question about the past tense vs present..." READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'It gives you the guts to believe in yourself'
National
Swedish billionaire blasted for 'lonely' Twitter rant
Sponsored Article
Nine places where Stockholm needs more English
Gallery
Property of the week: Stuverum, Västervik
National
Swedish ship rescues 5,295 refugees
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
National
'Sweden Democrats will run the country'
Gallery
People-watching: August 28th-30th
National
Swedish bin men hailed as heroes after rescuing doomed kitten
National
This Swedish teen was told she was 'too big' to be a model
Gallery
People-watching: August 26th
National
Rescued baby lemur gets new Stockholm home
National
Stockholm Fashion Week turns island into Mars
Gallery
Property of the week: Stora Essingen, Stockholm
National
Swedish crayfish thieves caught red handed by officers
National
Veil soon to be lifted on new Millennium sequel novel
Gallery
People-watching: August 21st - 22nd
Cecilia Larsson Lantz/imagebank.sweden.se
Presented by Stockholm Academic Forum
International students welcomed to Stockholm
National
The Bridge: What does the third season have in store?
National
Lucky escape for Swedes after 'dead' bear launches attack
National
Syrian asylum seeker comic: 'We don't prefer Sweden any more'
Lifestyle
Baby joy for Swedish crime queen and her wrestler boyfriend
National
Soldier accused of faking first Isis attack in Sweden
National
Fire alert as Sweden sizzles in summer heatwave
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th
National
Meet the Swede who is crazy for Norway’s mass killer
National
Swede's review of night in drunk tank goes viral
National
VIDEO: Swedish teen melts hearts with this incredible Idol audition
Society
What's a Swedish crayfish party?
National
UN: Sweden can't be left to shoulder migrant crisis alone
Gallery
Property of the week: Skogås, Huddinge
National
Men outstrip women for first time
Society
IN PICTURES: Wooden town resembles 'war zone' after huge fire
Gallery
People-watching: August 14th-16th
Sport
Swedish referee shuts viral Facebook page explaining his decisions
Business & Money
A studio in Stockholm or a castle in the countryside?
National
How did twelve skeletons end up beneath a Swedish castle?
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th
National
Millennium sequel author labelled 'grave robber'
National
Two metre long python stops traffic in Malmö
Sponsored Article
Getting pregnant the Swedish way
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,209
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se