IKEA Experiments with Sustainable Foods

A burger containing mealworms and a hot dog made from dried carrots and algae are among the latest futuristic foods developed by Space10, the research and innovation lab led by IKEA.

Two years after revealing a range of meatballs that might be eaten by future generations, Denmark-based Space10 has devised a menu of five new dishes that could offer the answer to the predicted global food crisis.

As well as the unconventional burger and hot dog, the menu – which was presented at a talk during this year’s DesignMarch in Iceland – it includes a salad and an ice cream made from leaves grown in water, plus two new meatball dishes made from surprising ingredients.

“At Space10, our research is rooted in an important principle – dishes shouldn’t just be healthy or sustainable, they must be delicious too,” explained Space10, which counts food designer Simon Perez and plant engineer Sebastian Dragelykke among its diverse team.

“To change people’s minds about food, to inspire them to try new ingredients, we can’t just appeal to the intellect – we have to titillate their taste buds,” they explained. “Which is why we’ve been working with our chef-in-residence to come up with dishes that look good, taste good, and are good for people and planet.”

“It’s time, then, to put some of those dishes on the menu, starting with a playful take on our favourite fast food.”

The project was first initiated in response to UN research, which predicted that the world’s demand for food will increase by 70 percent within the next 35 years, and also drew attention to the environmental impact of meat production.

As a result, all of the future foods that Space10 has developed are made with ingredients that can be cultivated sustainably, or are byproducts of an existing production chain.

The Dogless Hotdog contains a vegetarian sausage, made with baby carrots that have been dried and glazed. Its bun is made from spirulina – a micro-algae that the team claims “contains more beta-carotene than carrots, more chlorophyll than wheatgrass, and 50 times more iron than spinach”.

Other ingredients include a ketchup made from beets and berries, a cream made from mustard and turmeric, roasted onions, cucumber and a herb salad.

The Bug Burger contains a patty made beetroot, parsnip, potatoes and mealworms, which are the larvae of the common darkling beetle. According to the designers, it is a bigger version of the Crispy Bug Ball meatball.

IKEA launched the Space10 lab at the end of 2015, to explore ideas that might influence the homes of the future. The team operates out of a research hub in Copenhagen, and has produced a range of innovative ideas, including a four-metre-high bioreactor dome for growing microalgae.

It is their food products that have caused the biggest stir so far, however, IKEA customers won’t have the chance to test the results anytime soon. According to communications director Simon Caspersen, there are currently no plans to put these dishes on the menus instore.

Ecovia Intelligence Comment
Future concerns about food security and a looming proteins crisis are some of the factors leading Space10 to create ‘meatless products’ with plant proteins and insects. As consumers become aware of the high environmental impact of meat & seafood products, these products are expected to gain currency.

Sustainable foods, especially protein alternatives, are regularly featured in the Sustainable Foods Summit. The European edition will be hosted in Amsterdam on 7-8th June, Asia-Pacific edition in Singapore on 4-5th September, and the Latin American edition in São Paulo on 29-30th November. IKEA Foodservice will be presenting at the European edition on 7-8th June. More details are on the website

Related Insights: The True Value of Sustainable Foods

Source: De Zeen / Ecovia Intelligence (19/03)