Every week restaurant customers in the eight UK branches of IKEA consume over 135,000 meatballs and take another 46,000 home to put in their freezers. Served in the traditional Scandinavian way with boiled potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberries they are so popular that another Swedish company, Scan, is now supplying chilled, pre-cooked "Authentic Swedish Meatballs" to a growing number of supermarket chains.
It's a far cry from the tinned meatballs and faggots that we were served for school dinners, according to Tony Greenwood, Sales and Marketing Manger for Scan, who is keen to point out that their meatballs are made from a traditional Swedish recipe using "only the very best ingredients with no additives or flavourings".
"In the past, meatballs have had a bit of an image problem" he admits. "If you ate them they'd probably have things in that you'd rather not know about."
Where to get yours
IKEA restaurants: if you buy two adult portions you get pounds l off meatballs from their Sweden shop. The usual retail price for a 600g pack is pounds 3.40. Tel 0181-208 5600 for branches.
Scan Authentic Swedish Meatballs are available from Sainsbury's, Tesco and Safeway, price pounds 1.69 for 350g.
Or try these... other traditional Swedish foods are finding their way into our shopping trollies:
Lingonberries: Harvested wild in Sweden in August the Lingonberry is being hailed as the "new cranberry". It is mostly commonly served as a relish with meat but can also be used in pancakes or mixed with yogurt. Producers are recommending that this Christmas we should ditch the cranberry sauce and try lingonberries instead.
Jars of wild Swedish Lingonberries in sugar are available in Sainsbury's at pounds 1.99 for 283g. Lingonberry preserve is also available in IKEA for pounds 1.65.
Gravadlax: This modern Swedish dish of raw marinated Salmon actually dates back to Viking times. "Grava" means to dig and fish were preserved by wrapping them in birch bark and burying them in the ground.
Thankfully more sophisticated methods of preserving the salmon using salt, sugar and dill were later developed.
Gravadlax can be bought in IKEA for pounds 3.39 for 200g or from Marks and Spencer for pounds 2.99 for four slices. Marks & Spencer have also introduced Lemon and black pepper Gravadlax.Reuse content