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Angry Belgians take action over Ikea's cheap meatballs

Restaurant owners believe Ikea’s low prices are undermining their own businesses – so they have begun bussing homeless people in for dinner.

The disputed meatballs
The disputed meatballs
Image: perry_marco via Flickr

IKEA MAY BE famous for its cheap meatballs, but not everybody is happy about it.

In fact, restaurant owners in Belgium are so angry at the low prices in Ikea’s in-store cafeterias that they have begun sending homeless people to eat there.

Iin an apparent attempt to disrupt the Swedish furniture chain’s business, Horeca, the organisation representing Belgium’s hospitality industry, bussed 200 homeless people to a branch of Ikea for a slap-up dinner over Christmas.

Horeca has accused Ikea of undermining the restaurant trade. Its president Yvan Roque told Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri (via Google Translate):

With those prices, you have to look at Ikea as a social service – and I acted accordingly. We invited 200 homeless people to dinner at Ikea. We gathered them up in buses and drove them out there.

He said the bussing would continue until Ikea admits that its food prices are an example of “price dumping”, where prices are kept artificially low to disrupt the market.

Roque told Belgian news site RTL: “After seeing meatballs at €2.50 in Ikea, consumers will treat us traditional restaurants like thieves.”

However, Ikea has rejected the accusations. “It is our philosophy,” a spokesman told RTL. “We are here to provide furniture, accessories and food at prices that are affordable for most people.”

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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