As well as appealing to Swedes who crave traditional dishes, such as meatballs, herring and crispbread, Ikea is also hoping to win over the third of its 360 million annual visitors who eat in its restaurants. It uses its chefs and promotional material in the restaurants to highlight which dishes can then be bought from the Swedish Food Market at the end of the shop.
“It means customers can take home what they’ve tried in our stores,” said Ikea Food Services MD Jan Kjellman.
He told The Grocer that herring was the first item to get the Ikea stamp and was hitting shelves across the world, including UK stores, now. Each Food Market currently stocks 150 products of Swedish origin, but he was planning for own label to make up about 30% of its food offer within the next two years. “About 10% of the products we sell are already our own recipes but have never carried the Ikea name. Putting the Ikea brand on the packs puts a lot of requirements on us as quality must be ensured.”
The markets, which are located outside the checkouts of each store and are between 750 sq ft and 1,500 sq ft, were first set up following
customer requests for Swedish products. “We introduced small food corners in the 1980s, which slowly grew to become Food Markets. They now strengthen our Swedish origins as well as our low-price profile as we sell food at 30-40% below market price,” said Kjellman
The Ikea catalogue, which has a global distribution of 130 million, has a small section devoted to its restaurant, but this could be used to promote its own-label food range, he added.
Ikea’s food service division comprises the restaurants, Food Markets, bistros as well as staff canteens. The food it is best known for, Swedish meatballs, sells 170 million units every year.
The division generated sales of 1515m and a 5% profit on overall group sales of 113.6bn for 2004.