10 million meatballs a year: All the things you didn’t know about IKEA Singapore’s food


As for the challenges of his job, one of his current projects is making sure that 50 per cent of the main meals offered at the restaurants are plant-based by 2025. The restaurants already have plant-based options such as Plant Balls, meatless lasagne and a salad range that has been expanded to include locally-grown greens, in response to “evolving consumer needs”.

Evolving food preferences are things that Ong must keep on top of. “In the past, consumers used to prefer dishes with richer flavours. Over time, we noticed a shift among locals towards healthier food options. Customers are increasingly looking for lighter, plant-based meals and incorporating more vegetables and lean protein into their diets,” he said.

And, “As consumers become increasingly health conscious and lean towards food offerings, we want to address customer preference for healthier food choices by offering dishes with lower sodium levels, less sugar, lower calories and less fats,” he added. 

“Moving forward, we will look at how we can provide lower-sodium menu items to help our customers manage their sodium intake for a healthier lifestyle, in line with the Health Promotion Board’s goals to cut down the Singapore population’s sodium intake by 15 per cent over the next five years.”

On top of all that, “One of the most challenging parts of my job is maintaining a healthy body weight with all the food tasting sessions!” Ong admitted. “It is always interesting to try new dishes, but the calories add up quite quickly when we have to sample food often.”

That’s what happens when you’re in charge of piloting a Swedish meatball wonderland that also has nasi kerabu, mala pasta sauce, D24 durian cream cake – we could go on, but this is really making us want to grab a tray or two.



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