Swedishness and IKEA

As you arrive at the new IKEA at Tempe in Sydney, one of the first things you notice are the flags out the front. There’s a NSW flag, an Australian flag, and a Swedish flag all flying high. When it comes to “Swedishness”, however, that’s pretty much where it ends.

One of the things I used to love about IKEA was the food section. I loved the way you could go to IKEA and purchase some iconic Swedish brands. By that I mean things like Marabou Chocolate, Bilar (another popular Swedish sweet), Kopparbergs Cider and Kalles Kaviar, amongst many other items.

In some respects, Kalles Kaviar is to the Swedes what Vegemite is to Australians. Australians know exactly how much vegemite to put on a sandwich, where people from other countries always put on too little or too much. The same is true of Swedes when it comes to Kalles Kaviar. The first time I had some I put far too much onto hard-bread and found it almost inedible. I now know how much is right.

“You would often see Swedish mothers with their children at the IKEA looking at the food”, my friend Graeme commented. You would often see emotion in the eyes of the mother (an expat) as she passed on some “secret cultural knowledge” to their children growing up in Australia. As much as I purchase home brands most of the time, I also recognise there’s often an affection for brand names too.

But that’s all changed, as the new IKEA at Tempe in Sydney has only IKEA brand food. Sure, you can buy the hard breads, the caviar, the chocolate, the pickled herring and so on, but it’s not quite the same, I think, to purchase IKEA brand chocolate instead of the iconic Marabou. Even in the cafe now, Lingon soft-drink has been replaced by Schweppes Raspberry.

Despite the veneer of Swedishness, IKEA has obviously become as international as McDonalds. They have the Swedish named furniture, they have the portraits and biographies of the Swedish designers on the walls, they have Swedish language books on the bookshelves, but they seem to shy away from anything “too Swedish”. It would be great to hear the occasional Swedish pop song on the PA system. It would be great to see some photographs of Stockholm in the frames which otherwise feature images of New York, London and Paris.

I understand things change, and that they’re a global company not a Swedish company anymore. But I did quite like that you could purchase some well known Swedish brand food in the food section. Alas, no longer…

As much as I understand the importance for internationalism in the commercial sector, I note that McDonalds, for example, appreciates you can have variation from country to country. I hope IKEA doesn’t become too generic, and preserves a little of their intrinsic Swedishness. I also understand I’m a bit of a freak, and the vast majority of Australians don’t give a shit if there’s Lingon soft-drink, or if you can purchase Marabou chocolate…

5 thoughts on “Swedishness and IKEA

Add yours

  1. That’s very disappointing. Sorry.

    I would be disappointed if there was a place where I could buy Australian food; and then they took that away to make things more global.

    Maybe they’ll change things back eventually?

  2. Kalles Kaviar is delicious with boiled eggs………which is always on the breakfast menu here in Sweden.
    Tried it back home in Australia when I first learnt of it, but it never tasted the same!

  3. As you say, they’re an international company now, but their advertising trades heavily on their Swedishness…it’d be nice to see them follow through on that Scandinavianism.

  4. I’ve not been to IKEA in ages. Its a pity they’ve gone generic with the food – that was one of the best parts of my shopping experience. (and I have NO Swedish bloodline). I hope they do change it back. I am not a fan of ‘home brand’

  5. They should stop calling their food section selling ‘Swedish good’, it’s false advertisement. Call it ‘generic brand’ food, which it is.

Please leave a comment below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

A Scandi Life

A lifestyle blog about all things Scandinavian

shivashishspeaks

ALL U WANNA KNOW

A Gentleman's Lifestyle

Men's Fashion, Inspiration and Lifestyle blog.

uniquely north coast

Exploring interesting corners of the Northern Rivers

Moore Genealogy

Fun With Genealogy

Needull in a haystack

Selected. Sorted. Shared.

Απολύτως Διαλλακτικός

Logical stories of everyday madness

Newzo

Moon moon

The Swedish Kiwi

A Swedish lifestyle blogger, bitten by the travelbug.

TravelUpdate

A fresh and unique perspective on travel.

David M. Beecroft

A work in progress

The Pursuit of Food Perfection

A Sydney Food Blog | Restaurant Reviews & Food Guides

freespiritfood

Spirited food from far & wide

Yummy Lummy

I cook, photograph and eat food with the occasional restaurant review!

inte fan gör det det

Alla säger:det ordnar sig....inte fan gör det det..

Graeme Aitken

Writer, Reviewer, Reader, Bookseller

welcome to andyville

Food, books, shows, writing, travel and the other stuff that life is made of.

XPLORE

"The Landy" Out and About having fun

The Nomad Notes

Adventure and Travel Blog

Storytime with John

Pull up and listen...I've got a funny one for ya...

Catherine Croll

Community Cultural Development Specialist

backpackerlee

Backpacking (and eating) my way around the world!

Twist In The Dark

Grant's personal observations and experiences...

The Best Judge

"Allow me to be the best judge of that"

Etcetera Etcetera Etcetera

... about nothing in particular, because "Candid photography is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get". Photography by Lignum Draco, "The Wood Dragon" since 2013.

transcendingbordersblog

A TWINKLING STAR- BRINGING A DASH OF HOPE, INSPIRATION AND LOVE IN YOUR EVERY DAY LIFE!

59 North

Travel, Food, Music, Art, Culture

matthewschiavello

Just another WordPress.com site

Neil's Commonplace Book

The modest successor to the "Floating Life" blogs

Redsultana

Redsultana is the personal blog of Cellobella. Welcome!

LYNNE SANDERS-BRAITHWAITE

from the ELDERWOMAN in the WORKERS' COTTAGE. THIS WAY HOME .

%d bloggers like this: