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An MP has blasted Air New Zealand for serving the plant-based Impossible Burger on some flights – saying it should be promoting homegrown beef and lamb.

Plant Based News reported yesterday that the airline will be serving the patty on its Los Angeles-Auckland flights in Business Premier until late October in a bid to offer more innovative menu options. The patty is part of a vegetarian burger build featuring Gouda cheese, caramelised onions and tomatillo cream.

But Kiwi politician Nathan Guy called the offering ‘disappointing’ in a tweet, branding the burger ‘substitute meat’.

‘Premium products’

Guy wrote: “Disappointing to see Air NZ promoting a GE substitute meat burger on its flights to the USA. We produce the most delicious steaks & lamb on the planet – GMO & hormone free.

“The national carrier should be pushing our premium products and helping sell NZ to the world.”

His description of NZ lamb and beef being GMO-free was a reference to the heme found in the Impossible Burger – an ingredient crafted from genetically modified yeast that gives the patty its ‘meaty’ taste and texture.

Mixed responses

Guy’s tweet was met with mixed responses, with many disagreeing with his stance. One user said: “Disappointing to see you telling a privately owned company what they should be doing. They should do whatever makes them profitable and stay afloat.”

Another added that the burger is an alternative to the products he wants to promote, saying: “You know it’s a vegetarian burger, right? And that vegetarians don’t eat lamb or beef? And that beef and lamb options are available to those who prefer them?”

But once felt Guy had a point, writing: “The rub here isn’t Air New Zealand offering a vegetarian menu option, it is the fact it is actively promoting via video a food that is completely disassociated with NZ and the country’s values of natural, pure and non-GMO, aimed at displacing NZ products.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.