Couples that have nearly broken up while browsing in IKEA can tell you they’re never really there for the flat-pack furniture – it’s all about the meatballs.

What else but food can convince you to enter a store you know will inspire a screaming match in front of other relationships that are being tested over the merits of a Billy bookcase in brown ash veneer vs white stained oak veneer?

And now vegans have an excuse to test their relationship to its limits with the news that IKEA is working on a plant-based version of its most famous product which “looks and tastes like meat.”

“We know that the IKEA meatballs are loved by many people and for years the meatballs have been the most popular dish in our restaurants,” says IKEA Food Services AB managing director, Michael La Cour.

“We see a growing demand from our customers to have access to more sustainable food options and we want to meet that need.

“Our ambition is to make healthier and more sustainable eating easy, desirable, and affordable without compromising on taste and texture.”

The vegan meatball based on alternative plant-based proteins is currently in development, with plans to roll it out globally in 2020.

IKEA has been serving its famous Swedish meatballs for 35 years. For the full experience, it’s best to have them with lingonberry jam, mashed potatoes and a cream sauce.

The vegan version will be one of five varieties, joining the current line-up of cult-favourite original, chicken, vegetarian, and salmon and cod.