It's easy to make a ton of impulse buys at IKEA. (Cheap cutting boards? Sure! Plastic baggies? Throw 'em in the bag!) And I will almost always support the purchase. But after taste testing a few dozen grocery items from the Swedish retailer, I have come to learn that some things are best left on the shelf.
Here are the seven IKEA groceries that just aren't worth buying.
- SJÖRAPPORT cured salmon, $8 for 0.441 pound: Made with ASC-certified Atlantic salmon farmed off the coast of Norway, these cured salmon slices are perfectly serviceable, although nothing special.
- SYLT HALLON & BLÅBÄR raspberry and blueberry jam, $4 for 425 grams: If you've run out of jam and you're at IKEA, you can feel pretty good about picking up a jar since they're all made with organic fruit. The trouble is, they're also overly sweet and not distinctly flavored. The lingonberry option at least has a little cranberry-like bitterness to round things out.
- TALANDA Chocolate bars, $1 per ounce: The milk and dark chocolate bars get points for being UTZ certified, but they won't be winning any awards. Overall, they're just sweet and bland. The milk chocolate is reminiscent of foil-wrapped chocolate Easter eggs. The dark chocolate tastes more like Nestle's semi-sweet morsels than anything else. Skip these in favor of the hazelnut version, which greatly improves with the addition of the nuts.
- KAFFEREP oat biscuits, $7 for 1.3 pounds: The super-crispy Kafferep oat-chocolate cookies have a large online fan base, but I can't say I'm impressed. They're a bit greasy, which I could forgive if they were made with delicious butter, not funky-tasting palm oil. And the chocolate is still way too sweet. There's so much potential here, if they were just made with better ingredients.
- ALLEMANSRÄTTEN mix for cream sauce, $1.50 for 28 grams: This packet of instant gravy is yet another top-selling item, likely because people think it's essential for serving with meatballs. But ultimately it's just a bland brown sauce, devoid of any distinct flavor, and certainly not essential for meatball enjoyment.
- MUNSBIT snacks, $1.50 for .11 pounds: The fruit gummies have a slightly grainy texture and nondescript flavor (at least they contain no artificial ingredients!). And the trail mix is airplane-snack basic, with nuts that have gone disappointingly soft.
- KALLES KAVIAR cod roe spread, $4 for 6.7 ounces: I'm sorry, Sweden, I really am. I just don't love your tube of salty fishy pink goo. Don't get me wrong — I don't hate it, but it's like slathering your bread in fish sauce, and I'm just not into that. Apparently, though, the entire country of Sweden is. It's even IKEA's top seller in the seafood category, which is likely thanks to homesick Swedes. That being said, I'm very willing to cook with Kalles. I can see using it in place of anchovies or fish sauce to add an umami oomph.
Your turn! What grocery items at IKEA can you do without?