IKEA has created a plant-based version of its iconic meatballs in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint.

The Swedish furniture chain has introduced the ‘plant ball’ to its menu as a meat-free alternative for flexitarians, vegetarians, vegans and meatball lovers alike.

It is claimed that the new plant-based food item contains four per cent of the climate footprint of a regular meatball.

Ingredients include yellow pea protein, oats, potatoes, onion and apples.

The plant balls have been created as a sustainable alternative to IKEA's iconic meatball dish

Despite the differences to that of the regular meatball, IKEA bosses say that the plant ball looks and tastes like meat.

Customers will be able to sample the new plant-based product at restaurants inside the IKEA branches in Edinburgh and Glasgow from next month.

The plant balls will be served with traditional helpings of mashed potatoes, lingonberries and cream sauce - but the firm warns that the additional extras are not suitable for vegans as they include dairy products.

They will also be available to buy in frozen bags for those who are looking to chuck them in with their favourite dishes to cook at home.

IKEA already sells one million meatballs across the company each year, and is hoping to reduce that as it bids to become climate positive by 2030.

It believes that if 20 per cent of those meatball sales were to convert to the meat-free alternative, the company will achieve an eight per cent reduction in its climate footprint.

The new plant-based meatballs are said to be four per cent of the carbon footprint of a regular one

Sharla Halvorson, health and sustainability manager for the IKEA food business globally, said: “In order to reduce the climate footprint of the IKEA food business, we need to reduce the amount of traditional meatballs that we sell.

“With the new plant ball we can now offer meat lovers a more sustainable alternative – without compromising on the IKEA meatball experience that is loved by so many.

“In the development phase of the plant ball our key objective has been to recreate the meat-like taste and texture, only using plant based ingredients.

“We have tried and tested different ingredients and methods and we are very pleased with the final results.”