By Yvette Tan

Swedish furniture and home accessory company IKEA is set to open its Philippine branch in 2021.

“The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for many people. Expanding our operations to the Philippines is aligned with this vision as we will be able to reach many Filipinos and create many beautiful homes through affordable, quality and sustainable home furnishing. The IKEA service office in the Philippines has been in operations since 2016 and we love the energy and the development that we are experiencing,” says Georg Platzer, Market Development Manager and Board of Director, IKEA Philippines.

Aside from offering competitively priced self-assembled pieces, IKEA is also popular for its in-house restaurant. The company has tapped local farmers to provide fruits and vegetables for this.

IKEA Southeast Asia food team visiting a farm in
Benguet province. (Photo courtesy of IKEA Philippines)

“IKEA Pasay City will open with a restaurant with a sitting capacity of 1,000 and it certainly needs an efficient food supply chain. This is the reason why we decided to tap local food farmers – to have the most efficient food supply chain,” Platzer says.

According to Platzer, it wasn’t hard screening potential suppliers, as the country has many farms that produce high-quality crops. Consistency and volume, however, can both be challenges.

“The initial criteria is the capacity of the farm and the diversity of choices. We got good support from the Department of Trade and Industry as well as DENR who introduced us to different organizations thus we are able to start conversation with some farmers and suppliers. We also got support from big food conglomerates like Jollibee and San Miguel Food who shared possible food partner information with us,” he says. “Quality is good, this is not an issue. We have some challenges about meeting the IKEA standards, particularly some certifications. IKEA has an IWAY requirement that must be met by all IKEA partners. Volume capacity is also a challenge.”

Finding local producers is a very important factor to consider in opening and running the restaurant. “It is important for us to produce locally because we need to have the most efficient food supply chain< Platzer says.

IKEA is set to open in Pasay City in 2021. “With the current pandemic situation, we had a full stop in construction for 3 months and this caused us uncertainty as to when we can really open, but we are working on a 2021 opening,” Platzer assures.

One of vegetable farms in Benguet, visited by
IKEA Philippines. (Photo courtesy of IKEA Philippines)