Qantas is investigating vegan dining options for lounges and flights

Dining options on the ground and 35,000 feet in the air will soon include more varieties. Vegetarians and vegans can rejoice as Qantas wants to develop a range of synthetic meat dishes designed to look, smell and taste like real meat. Meatless bolognese, burgers and schnitzels could be on the menu in airline lounges and on board flights later this year.

Exploring a different kind of meat

Qantas will seek to establish partnerships with global plant-based substitute companies that produce artificial meat-based meals at a reasonable cost. Qantas food creative director Neil Perry said:


“We’re doing a lot of future menu planning in the next month, and I think in the next six months, we’re hoping to launch some things. We’ll have a full plant-based dish on each of the menus, and we’ve also started looking at meats from plant-based such as Beyond, Impossible and V2, an Australian product.

Founded in January 2019, Australia-based v2food produces sustainable plant-based meat substitutes made primarily from soy. Perry was first inspired to bring the food company with Qantas after successfully including more plant-based meats from v2food at her own fine dining gig, Perry’s Margaret Restaurant in Sydney’s Double Bay.

New plant-based meat menus are likely to debut in Qantas airport lounges for the first time. Photo: Qantas

And on the other side of the planet, Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat previously worked with Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines to roll out meatless meal options. California-based Impossible Foods has also become a hero of the burgeoning meatless industry and has already been implemented by Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. By working with any of these local or international industry leaders, Qantas will join the bandwagon of airlines introducing plant-based meat alternatives to their menu.

First exclusive tasting

The Australian flag carrier wants to offer its passengers regionally inspired recipes, such as spaghetti with prawns, courgette and basil soup; grilled fish with peperonata, pine nuts and basil; and a traditional tiramisu for dessert. Other dishes include fettuccine bolognese, buffalo mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes and basil, and mascarpone tartlets. Starting next January, passengers enjoying select Qantas airport lounges for First Class and Business Class could be the first to try the oneworld member airline’s fake meat menu. As for why lounge users get exclusive first contact instead of flights, Perry thinks lounges have more flexibility and opportunities for creativity and speed than inflight flights.

Despite the changes to the menu, carnivores need not worry, as Perry promises that the regular meat options will not change in any way. He also emphasized that the introduction of artificial meat menus is solely to take advantage of Qantas’ introduction of plant-based meals in all cabin classes. He also reflects a growing trend toward healthier lifestyles, especially for passengers sitting for hours on long-haul flights. Perry mentions:

“I don’t think we’ll ever cut meat out of our diet, and I don’t think we should. From my point of view, it’s just about balance and changing people’s perception of how much meat they have to eat.”

Once the trial launch in its lounges is successful and tweaked, Qantas will roll out the plant-based meat alternatives on its domestic and international flights. Photo: Qantas

the synthetic line

Airlines seem to be on the hunt for plant-based meat dishes lately, and the most recent before Qantas is Alaska Airlines. While this is undoubtedly Qantas’ initiative to diversify its menus for inclusivity and a healthier lifestyle, it could also be pushed as a sustainability initiative. Considering that in-flight food waste remains massive and unavoidable, plant-based meats tend to have reduced waste on the production side compared to standard food production. So it could be argued that by having a meat-substituting menu, Qantas could move ever closer to being a more sustainable airline.

Source: Australian Aviation

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