Executive Traveler Exclusive
Meatless burgers, bolognese and schnitzels could be on the menu at Qantas lounges and onboard flights by the end of this year, with the airline developing a range of dishes using artificial meat designed to look, smell and taste like the real thing.
“We are planning a lot of menus for the future over the next month, and I think in the next six months we hope to launch some things,” said Qantas chef Neil Perry. Executive Traveler.
“We’ll have a full plant-based dish on each of the menus and we’ve also started looking at plant-based meats like Beyond, Impossible and V2, which is an Australian product.”
American startup Impossible Foods is a hero in the booming “fake meat” industry. Its Impossible Burger has already been rolled out by Air New Zealand, American Airlines – as a vegan alternative to its Flagship Lounge Burger – and Delta Air Lines.
United Airlines is now offering Impossible Meatball Bowls on First Class domestic flights and Impossible Sausage Patties in Polaris Business Class Lounges.
Perry has also partnered with local company V2 Food at her Margaret restaurant in Sydney’s Double Bay to add more plant-based elements to an already sustainability-focused gourmet menu, “and we’re even cooking at home with V2 right now… out of our five family meals a week, we’ll eat at least two that don’t contain meat or fish protein.
Backed by Australia’s CSIRO, V2 has also made inroads into the mainstream, from Hungry Jack’s flame-grilled Rebel Whopper burger to supermarket shelves Woolworths and Coles (alongside rivals Impossible and Beyond Meat).
“We will decide with which company we will choose how it will affect the menus from next year,” says Perry.
But carnivores needn’t panic: That doesn’t mean the end of the business-class steak sandwich or the economical choice of “chicken or beef.”
“I don’t think we’ll ever eliminate meat from our diets and I don’t think we should. In my opinion, it’s just about balancing and changing people’s perception of how much meat they should eat.
Humans are “sort of hardwired to eat meat,” Perry explains, “so getting people to eat more plant-based meats and realize how delicious they are, and that they (satisfy ) in a way that the craving for meat is a way to get that balance… we can give people the pleasure and satisfaction of eating a meat meal.
Perry’s artificial meat menus will build on the airline’s introduction of plant-based meals in all cabins from November 2021, reflecting a growing trend towards healthier lifestyles, especially during long trips abroad where you sit for hours.
This is certainly good news for the legion of vegans and vegetarians who all too often have the celery short when it comes to in-flight meals.
But many flesh eaters are simply becoming more aware and, dare we say, more attentive to their diets – including embracing “Meatless Monday” (created by Paul McCartney in 2009) to help balance the remaining six days of the the week.
Visitors to Qantas airport lounges could be the first to sample the airline’s faux meat menu, as “we have the opportunity in the lounge to be a bit more nimble and bring things in quicker ( than on flights),” says Perry.
“Domestic is faster than international, and salons are faster than both.”
Additional reporting by David Flynn