People are fuming over this divisive menu item on Air New Zealand flights

3 min read

What do you think?

Airplane food has long been a sore point for travellers. As long as there have been commercial flights, passengers have complained about the quality of the food they've been served and hey, sometimes they're well within reason.

Air New Zealand is making headlines today because of its in-flight menu, but people have taken issue with just one item: a burger. 

As has reported, the airline has introduced the Impossible Burger to its menu after deciding to team up with U.S company Impossible Foods and promote their plant-based "meat" substitute. 

The veggie-friendly patty is said to smell, taste and look just like beef (down to the appearance of "blood"), which is absolutely incredible. However, not everyone is happy that this menu item is being introduced by Air NZ.

As Traveller has reported, National Party's Nathan Guy has shared his disappointment at the decision, stating New Zealand should be promoting its meat industry:

"We produce the most delicious steaks and lamb on the planet," he has said over Twitter.

"The national carrier should be pushing our premium products."

Acting prime minister, Winston Peters, has also given comment on the move, telling reporters:

"I'm utterly opposed to fake beef.

"Some of the taxpayers are the farming industry who want to ensure they get top end of the product market offshore and our airline should be its number one marketer."

On the introduction of the burger to the menu, Air New Zealand's Inflight Customer Experience Manager Niki Chave has said:

"Like Impossible Foods, we are committed to offering our customers a fresh and innovative approach to cuisine. We're incredibly excited about this partnership and the opportunity to offer our Business Premier customers travelling from Los Angeles to Auckland a delicious plant-based option that tastes just like the real deal.

"We're confident vegetarians, flexitarians and dedicated meat lovers alike will enjoy the delicious taste of the Impossible Burger, but for those who want to stay with the tried and true it will sit alongside our regular selection of menu items prepared by our talented culinary team and consultant chefs."

In a statement to NOVA, a representative for Air New Zealand said:

"Air New Zealand proudly showcases our nation’s produce in-flight and in our network of domestic lounges, whether it be fresh seafood, beef and lamb, dairy products, fruit and vegetables or award-winning wines.

"We are a significant customer and supporter of the New Zealand meat industry and spend millions of dollars each year purchasing beef and lamb sourced from around the country for our in-flight meals. In the past year alone, we proudly served around 1.3 million New Zealand sourced beef and lamb meals to customers from around the world. Few organisations in New Zealand do a better job of showcasing the best of our pastural produce on the global stage.

"Air New Zealand has been serving a burger on board the Business Premier cabin of our international flights since 2011. That’s more than half a million beef or lamb burgers served over that time, the equivalent of feeding every resident of Christchurch and Hamilton a burger.

"The Impossible Burger is available on our Los Angeles to Auckland route through until the end of October and is just one of three main course options available on the Business Premier menu.

"Air New Zealand performs a key role for our nation’s export industry, carrying thousands of tonnes of meat to offshore export markets each year via our extensive global cargo network. The airline also plays a key role in tourism, facilitating 16 million customer journeys every year, and investing up to $10 million dollars per annum as part of our partnership with Tourism New Zealand to promote New Zealand offshore.

"We are the world’s largest single server of New Zealand wines and a patron of the Fine Wines of New Zealand programme, which includes supporting New Zealand wine producers via our marketing channels.

"As you can see from the above we make a very substantial investment in purchasing New Zealand products, showcasing them to customers from all over the world, and helping New Zealand’s exporters get their products to the global market.  Indeed the international media coverage over the past 48 hours positioning Air New Zealand as an innovative airline and, by association, New Zealand as a desirable place to visit has been invaluable.

"Air New Zealand makes no apology for offering innovative product choices for its customers and will continue to do so in the future. We serve multiple international markets with varying food and beverage tastes and trends. Our products and experiences will continue to have a modern edge reflecting the needs of our customers."

Image: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Written By Stephanie Nuzzo