Ikea imagines the future of fast food — with bugs


When Ikea launched its meatless meatballs in 2015, the company was praised for its innovation and dedication to sustainability. On Friday, Space10, a future living lab that collaborates with the Swedish furniture company, pushed the envelope on sustainable food by revealing recipes made with lab-grown meat and insects.

Space10 took classic fast foods like hot dogs and hamburgers, reimagining them to be healthy, sustainable and delicious, according to the company’s Medium post. The reason they toyed with such classic American grub? “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,” the lab said in the post.

Whether the idea of eating bugs delights or disgusts you, know that “there are no current plans to put these dishes on Ikea’s menu,” Simon Caspersen, communications director for Space10 said in an email. In a few decades, however, we might not have the luxury of choice: By 2050, the planet will be populated by 10 billion people, and we’ll likely need more diverse, sustainable protein sources. Some experts insist that insects will be a part of our daily diets.

Would you be willing to pay for (and eat) a dogless hot dog, made with dried and glazed baby carrots, beet and berry ketchup, mustard and turmeric cream, roasted onions, cucumber salad and a herb salad mix, all on a spirulina bun? Regardless, it’s worthy to imagine this future of food as colorfully and thoughtfully as Space10 has.

The Dogless Hotdog

Kasper Kristoffersen/Space10

This meat-free hotdog contains more protein than the “real” type you might get at a ballpark. Spirulina, the ingredient that gives the bun its emerald green tone, is a “micro-algae that contains more beta carotene than carrots, more chlorophyll than wheatgrass,” according to Space10, and has about 40 times as much iron as spinach.

The Bug Burger

Kasper Kristoffersen/Space10

This burger’s “meat” comes from mealworms, which are the larval form a darkling beetle. The patty also contains beetroot, parsnip and potatoes.

The Neatball

Kasper Kristoffersen/Space10

“Our latest take on the Ikea meatball, the Neatball is designed to get people thinking about reducing their meat consumption, using local produce and trying alternative proteins,” Space10 wrote. The lab created two different kinds of these balls — one made with the mealworms, the other a veggie option with root vegetables like parsnips, beets and carrots. “And for a true Swedish experience, we like to serve them with mashed potatoes, gravy, and lingonberry sauce,” the team at the sustainable lab wrote.

Microgreen Ice Cream

Kasper Kristoffersen/Space10

If you’ll eat mint chocolate chip, why not try microgreen? This futuristic take calls for hydroponically grown herbs and microgreens, sugar and a mix of natural fruit juices.