Food options on the ground and at 35,000 feet in the air will soon include more varieties. Vegetarians and vegans can rejoice as Qantas wants to grow a range of synthetic meat dishes designed to look, smell, and taste like real meat. Meat-free bolognese, burger patties, and schnitzels could be on the menu at the airline’s lounges and onboard flights by the end of this year.
Exploring a different type of meat
Qantas will be looking to establish partnerships with global plant-based substitute companies that produce meals made from artificial meats at a reasonable cost. Qantas creative director of food, Neil Perry, said:
“We’re doing a lot of menu planning for the future in the next month, and I think in the next six months, we’re hoping to launch some things. We’ll have a complete plant-based dish on each of the menus, and we’ve also started looking at plant-based meats like Beyond, Impossible, and V2, an Australian product.”
Founded in January 2019, Australian-based v2food produces sustainable plant-based meat substitutes made primarily from soy. Perry first got inspired to bring the food company in with Qantas after having successfully included more of v2food’s plant-based meats into his own fine-dining gig, Perry’s Margaret Restaurant in Sydney’s Double Bay.
The new plant-based meat menus are likely to debut in Qantas airport lounges. Photo: Qantas
And over on the other side of the planet, Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat has previously worked with Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines to roll out meat-free meal options. California-based Impossible Foods has also become a hero of the blossoming meat-less industry and has already been rolled out by Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. By working with either of these local or international industry leaders, Qantas will join the bandwagon of airlines introducing plant-based meat alternatives to its menu.
Exclusive first taste
The Australian flag carrier wants to offer its passengers regionally-inspired recipes, such as prawn spaghettini, zucchini, 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. Beginning as early as next January, passengers enjoying selected Qantas’ airport lounges for First and Business Class could be the first to taste the oneworld member airline’s fake meat menu. As to why the lounge users get an exclusive first taste instead of flights, Perry feels that lounges have more flexibility and opportunity for creativity and speed than onboard flights.
Despite the menu changes, carnivores need not fret as Perry promises regular meat options will not be altered in any form. He also emphasized that introducing the artificial meat menus is solely to build on Qantas’ introduction of plant-based meals across all cabin classes. It also reflects a growing trend towards healthier lifestyles, especially for passengers sitting for hours on end during 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. In my 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 retouched, Qantas will roll out the plant-based meat alternatives onto its domestic and international flights. Photo: Qantas
The synthetic line
Airlines seem to be on the drive for plant-based meat dishes lately, with the most recent before Qantas being Alaska Airlines. While it is undoubtedly Qantas’ bandwagon initiative of diversifying its menus for inclusivity and a healthier lifestyle, it could also be driven as a sustainability initiative. Considering that food waste from flights remains massive and unavoidable, plant-based meats tend to have reduced waste on the production side as opposed to standard food production. Thus, one could argue that by having a meat substituted menu, Qantas could be inching closer to being a more sustainable airline indeed.
Source: Australian Aviation