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Rising Appetite for Plant-Based Meals in the Skies: A Global Trend

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The global demand for plant-based meals is soaring, and the airline industry is a testament to this shift.

Emirates Leading the Way

Emirates Airlines has witnessed a remarkable 40% increase in demand for plant-based cuisine. In 2023, the airline served over 450,000 plant-based meals, significantly up from the previous year. Regions like Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East have seen consumption surpass passenger volume growth. This surge is mirrored in Emirates’ expansive ‘vegan vault’ of over 300 chef-crafted recipes, indicating a significant shift in consumer preferences​​.

A Whole Foods Approach

Emirates’ vegan menu features dishes like chickpea crepes, tofu tikka masala, and jackfruit curry, emphasizing whole food ingredients and thoughtful recipes. This approach satisfies customers and encourages repeat choices, not just among vegan passengers but also those seeking healthier, more sustainable options. From economy to first class, Emirates offers a range of plant-based options, including decadent desserts like chocolate pecan cake and raspberry tonka cake, showcasing the versatility and appeal of vegan cuisine​​.

The Global Implication

The trend in Emirates reflects a broader shift towards plant-based meals in the airline industry and beyond. Consumers are increasingly opting for meals that align with health, ethical, and environmental concerns, signaling a significant opportunity for businesses in the food sector. Airlines, in catering to this demand, are not only meeting customer needs but also contributing to a more sustainable and ethical food system.

Plant-Based Food Service Done Right

Emirates Airlines’ approach to in-flight dining is a template to learn from in the plant-based realm. Their three-decade journey in offering vegan dishes demonstrates a deep understanding of evolving dietary preferences. They emphasize the use of fresh, locally grown produce, primarily grown from the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm. This venture, ensuring passengers enjoy pesticide-free kale and lettuce, reflects their commitment to sustainable practices and nutrient-dense dishes. Emirates’ also boasts an inclusive approach, extending plant-based options to cabin crew since 2018.

Long term commitment, fresh ingredients and teamwork… that’s a surefire recipe for success!