• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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.

Story continues below…

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
See Stockholm spectacularly change through the seasons
A bright autumn day in Stockholm. Photo: Delphine Fortin

In order to help her long-distance relationship, one Stockholm-based blogger produced a fascinating visual illustration of the Swedish capital throughout the seasons.

Groped woman had 'gigantic breasts' - player cleared
File image (2010) of Björklöven players in a huddle. Photo: public domain

A former prosector said the reasoning was "absurd" and "illegitimate".

Sweden’s high-speed trains the least punctual in Europe
One of Sweden's high-speed trains during a delay in Stockholm. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

It seems the Swedes are not quite so efficient after all.

Refugee crisis
Asylum seekers leaving Sweden in record numbers
The Swedish Migration Agency offices in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The large number of asylum seekers leaving Sweden in 2016 coincides with a dramatic fall in the number seeking asylum in the country compared to last year.

Long-term damage seen from brain injuries: Swedish study
A model of the human brain. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A study carried out in Sweden suggests that youths who suffer traumatic brain injuries are more likely to experience long-term psychological and social problems.

The Local List
30 Swedish movies you must see before you die
Thomas Hedegran and Rolf Lassgård in thriller The Hunters. Photo: Photo: Per Pettersson/TT

Film buff Christian Ekvall picks out 30 definitive Swedish movies you must see to understand the soul of the country's cinema.

Malmö police catch car arson suspect in the act
Another car blaze earlier this month. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Malmö police have arrested a man after they caught him setting a vehicle alight in the Rosengård district as the city's spate of summer car fires continued.

Swedes find out how birth control affects your sex life
Swedish birth control pills. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Swedish researchers have investigated whether or not contraceptives affect women's sex lives.

Analysis
Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Police investigators at the scene of the grenade blast in Gothenburg. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The Local speaks to two crime experts about why an eight-year-old boy became the latest victim of gang-related conflicts in Gothenburg.

Trump accuses Ericsson of bribing Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Ohio. Photo: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

US presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke about the Swedish telecom giant at a campaign rally in Ohio.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
IN PICS: Your Sweden summer snaps
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Why are fewer foreign graduates staying in Sweden to work?
Culture
This Swedish street artist's incredible murals will make your jaw drop
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,354
jobs available