IKEA Unveils Plan to Cut its Food Waste in Half by 2020

Don’t worry—those Swedish meatballs aren’t going anywhere

IKEA
An IKEA Storefront in ItalySeth Werkheiser

IKEA, apart from manufacturing chic yet frustratingly-hard-to-assemble furniture, also owns a massive chain of restaurants, and they've just announced plans to chop their food waste in half by the year 2020.

This is good news, as a staggering one-third of all food produced annually is lost or wasted, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (that number is even higher in the U.S.). The Swedish furniture giant is doing its part to help reduce that alarming percentage by trying to eliminate food waste at both their in-store self service outlets as well as their individual restaurants. As Ylva Magnusson, a spokeswoman for IKEA Food Services, told Reuters, an average daily food waste estimate for one of their in-store self service outlets is over 600 pounds. (That's the same weight as a fully-stocked vending machine.) With their new sustainability plan—which they've already tested in 84 of their restaurants—IKEA projects a large drop in food waste as well as a breather for their wallet. "Based on an average dish price of 5 euros, we have avoided throwing 880,000 euros in the bin," Magnusson explained.

Cutting back on food waste isn’t just good for world hunger—food waste is also a serious factor in climate change. The FAO tweeted this about food waste and its effects on greenhouse gas emissions:

So the next time you’re struggling to build that low-profile bed frame or sleek bookshelf, think of all the food you’re saving. (If you’re not too worked up about losing that final screw.)