Along with hard-to-pronounce Swedish names and big blue bags, probably the most recognizable icon of IKEA, the home furnishing giant, is the Swedish meatballs served at its store refreshment stands—but not in India.
IKEA is about to open its first India store, with plans for 24 more, but the traditional meatball will be missing from the menu in a bow to cultural sensitivities. IKEA's recipe calls for beef and pork, both of which present issues. In Hindu religion, cows have a sacred status.
The company's PR manager for India says, "It doesn't mean we won’t have Swedish food. Salmon is very popular, we’ll have lingonberry jam and whatever is possible to bring here. It'll be a 50 percent vegetarian menu, because a lot of people in India are vegetarian. We will replace beef and pork with chicken meatballs. We’ll also have a special vegetarian ball, both will be locally sourced from Indian suppliers but keeping in mind the Swedish recipe."