Editor’s comment: Vegan voices

Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

According to Google Trends vegan-related searches quadrupled in the five years between 2012 and 2017.

Demand for meat-free food increased by 987% in 2017 and going vegan is now more than a trend, promoted by sports stars and social media influencers.

Vegan foods and beverages were aplenty at this year’s WTCE in Hamburg back in April.

While all major airlines offer vegan meals upon request, the experience for vegan passengers is a little inconsistent.

However, a new rating system for vegan in-flight meals, launched today by The Vegan Society and Humane Society International hopes to change that.

The FlyVe website is part of the ‘Vegan on the Go’ campaign that aims to bring attention to the importance of catering for vegans, and to highlight the many benefits of ensuring plant-based options are included on standard menus.

According to the Vegan Society, airlines serve an estimated one billion in-flight meals every year, “so actively encouraging passengers to choose plant-based options could help reduce the industry’s carbon emissions.”

As Charlie Huson, Forward Food Programme manager at Humane Society International UK, said: “Despite the compelling need for change, the ubiquitous ‘chicken or beef’ remains the unimaginative default choice on most airlines.”

Elena Orde, Senior Campaigns officer at The Vegan Society, said: “Adding vegan options to every standard in-flight menu would mean that all passengers can opt for a more environmentally-friendly meal.

“It would be fantastic to see airlines really embrace the variety and creativity that is possible with vegan food, and to create options which are suitable for vegans but appeal to everyone.

“We have launched FlyVe to allow us to see which airlines are flying ahead of the curve, and which could do with some extra support when it comes to embracing plant-based options. We encourage any airline to get in touch for advice and training.”

Offering vegan options is inclusive of all dietary requirements as such food can also be eaten by vegetarians, people with dietary intolerances, followers of certain religions and those who simply fancy trying something different.

The Forward Food Programme provides vegan training to large catering companies and universities dishing up millions of meals every day and says it would welcome the chance to help airlines in a similar way.

Both the Vegan Society and Humane Society International are calling on airlines to contact them to find out more about providing vegan options.

Some airlines such as Jet2.com, which introduced its first vegan meal, a Penne Arrabbiata pasta dish, as well as adding vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free logos to relevant products to make the menu card easier to navigate for customers in January this year, and Thomas Cook (which offers both a vegan breakfast and main course) have responded to changing passenger appetites, but more needs to done to avoid vegan passengers being left with just nuts and crisps as their in-flight meal options.


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