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Air New Zealand takes the plant-based Impossible Burger to the skies

Air New Zealand takes the plant-based Impossible Burger to the skies

Air New Zealand's teamed up with Silicon Valley start-up Impossible Foods to serve a plant-based burger and according to the promotional video by True, it's quite the celebrity.

The spot, called ‘Air New Zealand serves up the Impossible’, takes place in LAX airport, as two Air New Zealand flight attendants put an Impossible Burger through security to the delight and excitement of a customs officer, who says “I’ve never met a real celebrity before”.

The officer takes the burger aside and examines it with a torch. He’s so impressed, he calls over a colleague who tries to use a metal detector and is abruptly stopped with the comment from her co-worker: "There’s no metal in there, no beef either, it’s the Impossible burger.” The pair then gush over the burger's beef smell before flight attendants then take the burger off to its flight to presumably be eaten.

The burger will be available as part of Air New Zealand’s business premier menu on flights from Los Angeles to Auckland until late October.

  • Check out Idealog's series The Great Food Disruption to see how companies like Impossible Foods are trying to change the way we eat. 

While environmentalists and vegans will be glad to see the airline doing something different, not everyone is happy with the burger, including NZ First MP primary industries spokesman Mark Patterson who said it was a "slap in the face" for New Zealand's red meat sector.

In response to Patterson’s comments, an Air New Zealand spokesperson told StopPress the feedback from customers who have sampled the Impossible Burger has been overwhelmingly positive.  

"We are a significant customer and supporter of the New Zealand meat industry and spend millions of dollars each year purchasing beef and lamb sourced from around the country for our in-flight meals.  In the past year alone, we proudly served around 1.3 million New Zealand sourced beef and lamb meals to customers from around the world. Few organisations in New Zealand do a better job of showcasing the best of our pastural produce on the global stage."

The spokesperson says the Impossible burger is one of three main course options on its Business Premier menu between Los Angeles and Auckland and will be available for just two months. 

"We always offer at least one meat-free main course option and customers are free to make their choice...as an airline renowned for innovation, our partnership with Impossible Burger is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with a Silicon Valley food tech start-up to offer our customers a fresh and innovative approach to cuisine.”

In the spirit of the plant-based meat phenomenon, here are three locally available alternatives to meat: 

Sunfed: 

Since Sunfed Meats launched in 2017, it’s chick-free chicken has been flying off the shelves, with the company now gearing up to launch pig-free bacon and cow-free beef this year. Its meat is made out of pea protein, and it has been created to replicate the taste, texture and nutritional value of meat as much as possible, so consumers don’t notice when incorporating it into a dish that’s usually meat-based.

Lord of the Fries:

In the fast food department Lord of the Fries, a restaurant chain based in Australia and New Zealand, has been at the forefront of plant based meats. It's clever marketing of burgers named, Chick'n, Pharma, and Phish, to name a few, have long stumped carnivores who don't realise what is being served up is vegetarian. Additionally, the Lord of the Fries has recently unleashed its widely popular Beyond Burger, described as the future of protein and backed by Leonardo Dicaprio and Bill Gates, into New Zealand.  

Crawlers:

Another alternative proposed by experts is insects. Last year Idealog reported that researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Scotland's Rural College explored a scenario where half of the current animal products in the world are replaced by insects, lab-grown meat or imitation meat.

They found that halving global consumption of animal products by eating more insects or imitation meat would free up 1,680 million hectares of land, as farming insects requires far less land and energy to produce. And New Zealand based company Crawlers are harnessing the creepy crawly alternatives. It's mostly for novelty value, rather than nutritional value, but it sells a wide range of crickets, silkworms, locusts, grasshoppers, mealworms, ants, scorpions, superworms and tarantulas, boasting one of the world's largest edible insect ranges.


 

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