IKEA Roped into Horse Meat Scandal

The horse meat scandal that started in Europe during February is not over yet.

Now, along with Nestlé, the largest food company in the world headquartered in Switzerland and other European companies, IKEA has been drawn into the problem.

IKEA, another Swedish company and also the world’s largest furniture retailer, has pulled its famous meatballs out of the European market since being roped into the current horse meat scandal.


The meatballs were pulled from the refrigerators after food inspectors in the Czech Republic found traces of horse DNA in a batch of IKEA’s signature food.

According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, IKEA spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said the company is conducting its own tests and most of IKEA’s meatballs sold in Europe are produced by a single Swedish supplier, Familjen Dafgård.

“We hope that by taking decisive action, we can show our customers that we take their concerns seriously,” she said. “It’s important that our customers feel safe, and if they have concerns they should contact us.”

However, unlike Nestlé, IKEA’s PR department did not keep things so obscured. They made several announcements and posted a video on the issue.

IKEA's statement on their US website

IKEA’s statement on their US website

Link shared by IKEA UK's Facebook

Link shared by IKEA UK’s Facebook

Do you think this situation was approached in a better way than Nestlé? Do you think customers appreciate this kind of behavior? What else can IKEA do that could help win back the public’s confidence?

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6 Responses to IKEA Roped into Horse Meat Scandal

  1. Danielle Chavez says:

    I think IKEA did a much better job than Nestle in handling the horse meat scandal. By posting releases and videos, IKEA proved it was transparent. I am now much more likely to think IKEA’s products are horse meat-free than Nestle’s because of their honest efforts to keep their stakeholders informed.

  2. Clare Hahne says:

    I am a little horrified! I love those IKEA meatballs, but definitely not as much as I love horses. I think IKEA made the right choice in removing the meatballs from the menu. It makes me wonder though what are their other meats contain? I think this is just the beginning of a food revolution.

  3. Kelsey Pfeffer says:

    My first thought upon reading this post was — ew I’ve eaten those meatballs! I think most of the public would have a similar reaction if they found out that they could have possibly scarfed down some horse meat unknowingly. I guess with the cheap prices of IKEA furniture and food, consumers end up getting what they pay for. However, there are standards for food and American consumers aren’t about to accept anything inedible. I’ve read about Nestle’s situation and do believe that IKEA handled things better. Consumers are going to turn right to the source when problems arise, and it’s important that IKEA have clear messaging, transparency and knows all of the facts. I thought the video announcement clearing the air was an excellent way to reach panicking Swedish meatball lovers. On a store level, I think they should clearly post “100 percent beef Swedish meatballs” at all IKEA food courts — if the meatballs are indeed 100 percent beef.

  4. Minda Elliott says:

    I find it incredibly interesting that two cases involving contaminated meat in large international companies have occurred so close together. What makes it so interesting is the very contrasting reactions the PR teams for these two companies have displayed. While Nestle tried to keep the incident under the radar and make small statements regarding the horse meat, IKEA has made a very public statement and addressed any questions regarding the scandal. I am curious to watch the public’s reaction to these two incidents and see if one company receives more backlash than the other. Did IKEA’s PR team make Nestle’s PR team look bad for not being more open about the situation?….I think yes!

  5. tmmaguir says:

    Honestly, I have always been sketched out by the IKEA meatballs that everyone seems to be obsessed with! I cannot imagine how taken aback people must be, especially in feeling deceived! I agree with the other replies: IKEA definitely handled the situation much more effectively than a Nestle-type situation by maintaining transparency, putting out releases with information and the informational video. Like Kelsey stated, when there is any sort of crisis or question from an organization, consumers/people who use the service turn to the organization for answers. I think IKEA’s sense of transparency was the best solution for this particular situation.

  6. Hannah Lurie says:

    I really appreciate the way that they handled the situation. It seems like it was timely and to the point. Had they avoided the issue, or not made a statement, I would have doubts about my future Swedish meatball consumption.

    As it stands, I’m pretty confident that if I want to have a snack after getting lost for four hours in miles of DIY furniture, I won’t end up unwittingly eating horse.

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