In 2023, Emirates Airlines had more than 300 vegan recipes in rotation across 140 destinations, up from 180 recipes in the previous year, and served more than 450,000 plant-based meals onboard, an increase from 280,000 in 2022. After the famous airline from the Arab Emirates noted a surge of 40% in customer demand for plant-based meals, the airline introduced new vegan dishes onboard and in lounges.
The airline reports that in Africa there was an additional 4% increase in demand for vegan meals compared with the average of the rest of the world, Southeast Asia an additional 5% increase, and in the Middle East a significant additional increase of 34%. As far as classes are concerned, the biggest increase occurred in Economy Class. Emirates routes to China, Japan, and the Philippines showed significant increases too.
In 2022, requests for vegan meals at Emirates Airlines increased by 154%, with more than 280,000 passengers consuming these meals. 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 meal requests increased, especially in routes involving Taiwan, Cairo, Beirut, the UK, the US, and Australia.
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
Today, customers can request vegan meals on all Emirates flights and across all classes of travel up to 24 hours before departure. Vegan options are available to pre-order on board and order directly in First Class, as well as in Emirates Lounges. 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).