154 pc rise in vegan meals served onboard Emirates

Emirates celebrates ‘Veganuary’ to promote vegan diet
/ New Delhi
Vegan meals served onboard Emirates
154 pc rise in vegan meals served onboard Emirates

Demand of vegetarian and vegan meals is rising around the world

With rising awareness about the ecological impact of meat-based meals, demand for vegetarian and vegan meals is rising around the world. Emirates Airlines reports a 154 pc rise in vegan meals served aboard its aircraft in 2022, compared to 2021.
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As part of its ‘Veganuaryprogramme, a month-long initiative every January to promote the vegan diet, Emirates Airlines says it has seen a 154 pc increase in vegan meals served onboard between 2021 and 2022, with over 280,000 plant-based meals consumed in the past year.

According to a press statement, Emirates offers more than 180 recipes catering to vegan passengers or those looking for a healthy meal onboard, and has been serving vegan meals for over three decades. It adds that while initially, vegan requirements were focused on specific routes such as Addis Ababa where vegan meals are required during certain times of the year by those practising the Ethiopian Orthodox faith, or across the Indian subcontinent where multiple faiths encourage a plant-based diet.

Over recent years however, vegan dishes have been rapidly gaining popularity on United States, Australian, some European and UK routes, with Emirates noting a sizeable increase in interest in vegan dishes over the last decade. Routes showing recent increasing interest in vegan meals include Beirut, Cairo, and Taiwan, says the press statement.

Current vegan meal favourites in Economy Class include a creamy spinach and avocado mousseline, with marinated tofu, blanched snow peas, radish, asparagus, pomegranate seeds, courgette ribbon and sriracha oil; multicoloured quinoa with succulent caramelised pear and celeriac purée, roasted cauliflower, glazed carrots, sautéed kale and lovage pesto; and the hearty flavours of barley risotto with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, buttered chestnuts, blanched broccolini and toasted pumpkin seeds.

The airline says that a brand-new gourmet vegan menu was also introduced in 2022 to First and Business Class, including chef-curated dishes like pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms, jackfruit biryani, sliced kohlrabi and burnt orange, chocolate truffle cake with hazelnut, pistachio and gold leaf, and green grape tart with candied rose petals, vanilla custard and berry compote glistening with yuzu pearls.

Notably, over 195,000 vegan desserts were served in 2022 across all classes of travel, 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.

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

The airline has also developed Emirates Flight Catering, an expansive facility based at Dubai International airport, which is home to 11,000 employees and serves up to 225,000 meals daily, the largest flight catering facility in the world with chefs of 69 different nationalities. A panel of highly skilled and experienced Emirates Flight Catering chefs worked closely with nutritionists to identify ingredients from existing popular dishes, which can be adapted to a vegan offering without compromising on flavour.

They also focused on fusing flavours and ingredients from around the world to create a menu that will appeal to all passengers across the network, not just vegan customers. The menu was the focus of multiple presentations and tastings, featuring contributions from diverse cuisine specialists like Chinese, Indian and Arabic speciality chefs, to create a wide range of flavours and textures. The tasting panels included both vegan and non-vegan chefs and team-members to ensure an inclusive approach.

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