Emirates is now offering their passengers a wider range of plant-based meal options thanks to a whopping 154% increase in demand for vegan dishes.

In conjunction with the growing phenomenon of ‘Veganuary,’ Emirates has reported a massive rise in the uptake of its vegan-based inflight catering options since 2021 and is investing further to expand in this area to enhance the overall passenger experience.

The phenomenal growth in demand for vegan meals

While many see the start of a new year as a chance to try something new, Emirates has today reported that its inflight vegan-based meal options have rapidly grown in popularity since 2021. In an announcement by the Dubai-based megacarrier today, the airline has seen a whopping 154% increase in demand for vegan dishes on its services over the last couple of years.

Since kicking off in the United Kingdom in 2014, the concept of Veganuary has gathered momentum year-on-year ever since. Veganuary is a month-long initiative to promote the benefits of a vegan diet and has developed something of a worldwide following ever since its inception nine years ago.

In reporting this considerable increase in the popularity of its onboard vegan menus, evidenced by the 154% increase in vegan meals served onboard between 2021 and 2022, Emirates has revealed that its customers consumed over 280,000 plant-based meals throughout all classes of travel in the past year alone.

A wide range of options on offer

Currently, Emirates offers more than 180 recipes catering to vegan passengers and those looking for a healthy meal onboard. Indeed, the airline has been serving vegan meals on its services since the 1990s.

Initially, the vegan requirements of Emirates customers were focused mainly on specific routes such as Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, where vegan meals are required during certain times of the year by those practicing the Ethiopian Orthodox faith, or across the Indian subcontinent where multiple faiths encourage a plant-based diet.

That said, according to the airline, in more recent years, vegan dishes have been rapidly gaining popularity on its US, Australian, some European, and UK routes in particular, with Emirates noting a sizeable increase in interest in vegan dishes worldwide over the last decade.

Emirates tempting vegan meal options 

Given the massive rise in the popularity of vegan meals in recent years, Emirates has undoubtedly embraced the trend and has developed onboard menus that aim to tempt and tantalize the taste buds of its passengers.

Current vegan meal favourites in Emirates’ Economy Class include –

  • A creamy spinach and avocado mousseline with marinated tofu, blanched snow peas, radish, asparagus, pomegranate seeds, courgette ribbon, and sriracha oil;
  • Multicolored quinoa with succulent caramelized pear and celeriac purée, roasted cauliflower, glazed carrots, sautéed kale, and lovage pesto;
  • Barley Risotto with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, buttered chestnuts, blanched broccolini, and toasted pumpkin seeds.

Additionally, a brand-new gourmet vegan menu was also introduced in 2022 to First and Business Class passengers, which includes chef-curated dishes such as –

  • Pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms, jackfruit biryani, sliced kohlrabi, and burnt orange,
  • Chocolate truffle cake with hazelnut, pistachio, and gold leaf,
  • Green grape tart with candied rose petals, vanilla custard, and berry compote glistening with yuzu pearls.

If the headline entrees are not enough to keep its vegan customer happy, the airline’s efforts do not stop once the main course is over. Notably, over 195,000 vegan desserts were served throughout 2022 across all travel classes, including tempting choices such as a dark chocolate custard cake balanced by fresh, juicy strawberries, zesty lemon tart lightly laced with coconut cream, and rich chocolate tofu cheesecake complemented by a sweet strawberry compote.

Vegan options are available to order and pre-order onboard, as well as various Emirates Lounges across its network. Customers can request vegan meals on all Emirates flights and across all travel classes up to 24 hours before departure. Plant-based meals are also provided as part of the main menu options on high-demand routes.

Emirates is investing in vegan cuisine

Already rated highly by vegan travellers in many passenger experience polls, Emirates has not rested on its laurels. The airline’s investment in developing its new First and Business Class vegan menus in 2022 aimed to rival acclaimed international restaurants and draw further attention to its alternative catering options. This move is clearly bearing fruit for the carrier.

The new menus spent a year in development in Emirates Flight Catering, an expansive facility based at Dubai International airport. The facility employs 11,000 staff and serves up to 225,000 meals daily, the most extensive flight catering facility in the world with international chefs of 69 different nationalities.

According to the carrier, the benefits of plant-powered choices are of increasing interest to health-conscious customers who may not define themselves as vegan but will occasionally choose lighter options to complement their lifestyle.

Vegan options onboard Emirates are rich in greens, fruits, and vegetables, sourced from several UAE-based suppliers, including fresh, locally-grown kale and lettuce from Bustanica. Bustanica is the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm, a US$40 million joint venture investment through Emirates Flight Catering.

The Bustanica produce is grown without pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals. First and Business Class passengers can enjoy farm-fresh leafy greens in some dishes, including lettuces, arugula, mixed salad greens, and spinach.

The future of vegan inflight catering

Fully embracing the trend for vegan-based diets, Emirates is dedicating a great deal of time and effort to attract further customers through its enticing vegan onboard offerings.

With more and more people buying into the Veganuary phenomenon annually (629,000 individuals took part in last year’s event from 228 countries), alongside the general rise in popularity of vegan-based diets, airlines are feeling compelled to up their game when it comes to so-called alternative inflight catering options.

Emirates is aiming to be the leader in the pack when it comes to vegan and vegetarian meal options, and with meals such as those listed above, it hopes to continue winning over converts and skeptics alike.

And don’t forget this handy Simple Flying hack – cabin crew on many airlines, particularly in economy class, will often serve the ‘special meals,’ which includes the vegan options before they begin serving the rest of the cabin. Therefore, if you like your inflight meal served first, then perhaps consider switching to the vegan option. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Original source: https://simpleflying.com