Requests for vegan meals at Emirates Airlines have increased by 154%. More than 280,000 passengers consumed these meals in 2022. Emirates now offers over 180 recipes for vegans and people that want to eat plant-based meals, produced by Emirates Flight Catering. Passengers can book their meals and pay through mobile banking 24 hours before their flight.
The airline has been serving plant-based meals since 1990, starting as a meal option on specific routes like Addis Ababa, especially due to passengers practising the Ethiopian Orthodox faith (which prohibits eating animal products for 208 days of the year, including every Wednesday and Friday, and several weeks before major holidays). Then the popularity of the vegan selection grew in the Indian subcontinent routes. With the spread of veganism and the fashion of eating plant-based food for health, the frequency of vegan meals requests increased, especially in routes involving Taiwan, Cairo, Beirut, the UK, the US, and Australia.
Emirates Airlines has recently announced the launch of its vegan menu for its first and business-class cabins, and it has also updated the economy-class menus to include various vegan dishes. Vegan options onboard Emirates are rich in greens, fruits, and vegetables, sourced from several UAE-based suppliers including kale and lettuce from Bustanica (a hydroponic vertical farm).
Among the ingredients used for such vegan meals Emirates Airline’s chefs have chosen jackfruit, Kohlrabi (a Northern European cross between cabbage and a turnip), tofu, cauliflower steak and varieties of nuts and legumes. Heirloom cherry tomato tofu with edamame and roasted sesame, thyme-scented mushroom ragout, fresh Hass avocado and mango salad timbale, or kale and cranberry salad served on a bed of grilled sweet potato are examples of their vegan dishes.