Why IKEA Food is so Cheap? (10 Business Strategies)

why ikea food is so cheap
why ikea food is so cheap

Have you been wondering why IKEA’s meatballs, salmon, and veggie options are so affordable? One reason for the low prices at IKEA’s restaurants and food markets is its unique business model.

The Swedish retailer follows a “low margin, high volume” approach, meaning they keep their prices low to attract more customers and increase overall sales.

There are a few more reasons for this. Continue reading as we explain how the food is cheaper than usual while maintaining quality.

Why is IKEA Food so Cheap?

  1. They Don’t Profit from the food 

The most common reason IKEA food is so cheap is that they are not profiting from it.

They sell hot dogs for $.50 each, 10 Swedish meatballs for less than $6.00, and have food that anyone can enjoy, even vegetarians. They mark down the prices because they expect to make it up with their big-ticket furniture items.

hot dogs

They entice customers with food and hope they return for furniture. This is an effective strategy for the company, allowing them to offer cheaper food. 

  1. Bulk Purchasing 

IKEA has the buying power, as they can buy their ingredients bulk from suppliers. This allows them to negotiate lower prices for their food items and pass on those savings to the customers.

IKEA places a heavy focus on efficiency and streamlining processes.

This extends to their food products as well. By cutting out middlemen and buying directly from suppliers, they can keep costs low and pass on the savings to customers.

bulk purchase

IKEA is known for its massive warehouses and efficient storage methods, so it’s no surprise that they buy their food in bulk, allowing them to get better supplier deals.

They then pass these savings on to their customers by offering low prices on their food.

  1. Simplicity in Preparation 

IKEA’s menu is simple, with most items being pre-made or easy to assemble. This allows them to have fewer overhead costs and fewer employees needed in the kitchen, resulting in lower prices for their food offerings.

Even though the menu is simple, the quality and taste are not compromised, as they have dedicated teams that focus on perfecting their recipes.

  1. It Keeps IKEA in Customers’ Minds

Offering cheap food at IKEA constantly reminds customers that they provide more than just furniture.


This keeps them top of mind when customers need new furniture or home decor items and may even attract new customers looking for affordable meals.

Having cheap food keeps IKEA in customers’ minds. IKEA doesn’t mind if customers only come in for food. If their customers only come for food, at least they’re still thinking of the store.

When they eventually need a table, they’ll return to a place familiar to them: IKEA. Or if they do come for the food, they may feel compelled to look around. And who knows, the customer may leave with a new house plant or a mug.

  1. They Don’t Want Customers to Rush

If a customer is hungry, they will hurry through the store without considering their options. It is hard to shop on an empty stomach. IKEA wants its customers to take their time deciding on the best product.

They give out free samples and have an affordable cafe, so customers will likely stay longer. And the longer they stay, the more likely they will purchase something from IKEA. 

ikea bag

Offering cheap food keeps customers in the store longer, allowing them to consider all their options and make more informed purchases. This ultimately benefits both the customer and IKEA.

Eating at IKEA not only keeps customers in the store but also allows them to take their time looking around.

A customer may come for a cheap meal but spend hours browsing through the showroom and eventually buying a new couch or dining set.

In contrast, if customers go out for a more expensive dinner, they may feel rushed and want to leave after they’re done eating.

By offering affordable food options, IKEA encourages customers to stay in the store and explore rather than rushing out after a meal. This ultimately helps increase their sales.

  1. They Have a 30-Mile Radius Rule

IKEA has the rule to have the cheapest food item within a 30-mile radius. That means if a store within 29 miles is selling Swedish meatballs for $1, IKEA will sell them for $.99.

This rule ensures that customers will always find the best deal at IKEA, even if it means they have to sell their food at lower prices. 

This 30-mile radius rule helps attract customers looking for cheap meals and keeps current customers coming back for more affordable options.

This rule allows IKEA to stay competitive and appeal to cost-conscious customers in a world where every dollar counts.

Overall, offering cheap food at IKEA serves multiple purposes.

  1. IKEA is a Family Location

Many families choose IKEA as their go-to destination for furniture and home decor. And with affordable meal options, it makes for a perfect family outing.

Families can browse together, have a meal together, and potentially leave with new furniture or decorations for their homes.

IKEA caters to families by offering child-friendly meals and a supervised play area, making it a convenient and budget-friendly option for a day out.


The kids’ meals at IKEA are significantly cheaper than most, too. That’s because IKEA is a family location.

Families come to the store to search for new couches or bunk beds for the kids. Offering kids’ meals at $2.99 each make coming to the store a family outing and connecting with the customers.

Offering affordable food options helps attract families and solidify IKEA as the go-to destination for family outings.

Not only does offering cheap food draw in families, but it also brings in customers of all ages looking for an affordable meal option.

IKEA’s affordable food options make it a popular destination for families and individuals looking for a budget-friendly meal.

In conclusion, offering cheap food at IKEA serves multiple purposes.

It helps keep current customers in mind, attracts new customers, encourages customers to stay and explore the store, and appeals to families looking for a budget-friendly outing.

  1. They have Popular Menu Items

No doubt anyone hears the word “IKEA” and doesn’t think of their famous Swedish meatballs. Keeping the price of their favorite items low, IKEA gets regular consumers who will ultimately come back for some furniture. 

Other popular items include Salmon, Pasta, and their famous cinnamon buns. Offering affordable options for these fan-favorite menu items keeps customers coming back for more.

Keeping popular menu items affordable helps attract new and regular customers to IKEA. And with a full stomach, they’ll have the energy to browse through the store and potentially make purchases.

  1. They Want to Create an Experience

IKEA isn’t just a furniture store; it’s an experience. And offering affordable food options is just one aspect of that experience.

They were having meals available in the store allows customers to spend more time browsing and potentially make larger purchases.

It also adds to the overall IKEA experience, allowing customers to make a day out of their trip to the store.

Offering cheap food options at IKEA serves as a part of their larger goal to create an enjoyable experience. 

IKEA wants their store visit to be an experience. It should not be another stressful errand one does during the day. They add the cafe so customers can take a break while looking for that new end table.

The food is reasonably priced, so an expensive meal won’t turn off those who wish to take a break. Going to IKEA should be a fun, exciting activity.

ikea store

  1. They Want Everything in the Store to be Affordable

The main reason for how cheap the food is, and perhaps the most important, is that IKEA’s mission is to be sustainable and affordable. It would go against their mission if their furniture was affordable but not their food.

So they both are. IKEA’s mission is “To create a better everyday life for many people.” This includes offering affordable options for everything in their store, from furniture to food.

Overall, IKEA wants to offer affordable options for all their customers, which extends to their food choices as well.

In conclusion, IKEA offers cheap food for a variety of reasons. It helps keep current customers in mind, attracts new customers, encourages customers to stay and explore the store.

This also appeals to families looking for a budget-friendly outing, keeps popular menu items affordable, creates an overall experience for customers, offers cheap food at IKEA serves multiple purposes in line with the company’s overall mission and values.

Ultimately, IKEA wants their store visit to be an experience, and they strive to make everything in the store affordable for their customers.

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