It could mean as many as 11 million salmon meals a year.
The first store, in Hyderabad, opened yesterday, and hundreds of salmon meals will be served daily. The salmon is sourced from Norway.
A meal with salmon, roast potatoes, vegetables and lemon dill sauce is priced at 599 Rupees (£6.81), but the price drops to R399 (£4.54) with a family discount card. IKEA has already issued 100,000 family discount cards to Indian customers.
“With space for over 1,000 guests, as many as 9,000 meals a day will be served, 500 of them with Norwegian salmon,” estimates Yogi Shergill, the man who has led the Norwegian Seafood Council’s project in India over the past two years.
“In such a large market as India, the IKEA restaurants alone have a great potential for salmon.”
“India has a fast-growing middle class, and they are very interested in new dishes and in trying new things. Traditionally, Indians don’t eat salmon, but I want to change that, and through IKEA we have a wonderful arena where Norwegian salmon can find the way to the Indian middle class’s eating habits,” Shergill says.
Six million shoppers
IKEA has made its own recipes with sauces produced in India for the salmon. For the retailer’s signature dish with Swedish meatballs, the Hyderabad store has made its own vegetarian and chicken balls.
IKEA expects that around 6 million people will head to the Hyderabad store during the next year.
“I think IKEA will make it big in India, and hopefully, too, will help to get Norwegian salmon regularly on Indian food dishes,” says Shergill.
India is potentially a huge market for salmon. It has a population of just under 1.3 billion, around 90 million fewer than China.
According to Indian independent economic think-tank, the National Council of Applied Economic Research, India's middle-class population was 267 million in 2016 and is expected to reach more than half a billion by 2025.