New Zealand Beef Lobby Fumes After Airline Adds Impossible Burger to Menu

The Impossible Burger will be flying high — literally — as Air New Zealand becomes the first airline to add the plant-based burger to its in-flight menu this summer.

Though it’s a vegan burger, Air New Zealand will offer it up vegetarian-style, with Gouda cheese, caramelized onions and tomatillo cream. The burger will be offered on flights from Los Angeles to Auckland through late October 2018.

The new commercial running to promote this addition to the menu will make you chuckle:

As you might anticipate, not everyone’s jumping for joy about this development. In fact, a few Kiwis are mightily peeved. You can probably imagine who they are and why they’re upset. New Zealand’s beef and lamb industry feels slighted — and it’s lashing out.

Agriculture is a huge part of New Zealand’s economy. Meat, specifically, is New Zealand’s second largest exported product – dairy is first. Meat generated $6.7 billion in export revenue for New Zealand in 2016 alone. This industry is also New Zealand’s largest manufacturing employer, giving jobs to 25,000 people at 60 nationwide locations.

It’s no wonder that any threat against meat becomes a battle royale.

Even New Zealand’s politicians are piling on. New Zealand First party’s Mark Patterson called Air New Zealand’s menu decision a “slap in the face” to the country’s meat industry.

“The national carrier should be showcasing our premium quality grass-fed New Zealand red meat, not promoting a product that has the potential to pose an existential threat to New Zealand’s second biggest export earner,” Patterson reportedly said.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters added:

Air New Zealand is an airline built by the New Zealand taxpayer, was privatised, was bailed out by the New Zealand taxpayer, and is there because of the taxpayer. 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.

Yes, once again, the beef industry is shaking in its shoes because plant-based meat is coming on strong. Should companies selling meat products worry? After all, Air New Zealand says it served 1.3 million New Zealand-sourced beef and lamb meals to passengers in 2017. And the airline will be serving the American-produced Impossible Burger for only four or five months. Yet this could be such a popular option that it might become a more permanent menu addition.

Despite all the angst, Air New Zealand is pleased with its decision. The company says it offers “no apology” for it partnering with Impossible Foods, because it wants to offer “innovative product choices for its customers.” In fact, it’s spinning all the home-grown negative press in a positive way, saying:

Indeed, the international media coverage over the past 24 hours positioning Air New Zealand as an innovative airline and, by association, New Zealand as a desirable place to visit has been invaluable.

I’d be worried too, if my so much of my national economy was based on two threatened industries — meat and dairy. Perhaps this is your red flag moment, New Zealand. It’s time to rethink a few things.

The plant-based tide rises ever higher. Start making the transition before you’re backed into a corner, New Zealand. The time is coming when meat and dairy will be in steeper and steeper decline. Widespread concern for animal welfare and the environment demands that it be so.

Photo Credit: Tony Webster/Flickr

110 comments

Jack Y
Jack Yabout a month ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Yabout a month ago

thanks

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John J
John Jabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John Jabout a month ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you.

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris5 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Carole R
Carole R6 months ago

Everyone deserves a choice.

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hELEN h
hELEN h6 months ago

tyfs

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Dave fleming
Past Member 7 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Thomas M
Past Member 8 months ago

thanks

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