Reading Time: 2 minutes The airline recently launched the patty as a vegetarian option (Photo: Air New Zealand)
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The plant-based Impossible Burger has been labeled an ‘existential threat’ to the beef industry’ by a New Zealand politician.

The complaint follows news that the country’s national airline – Air New Zealand – 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.

As Plant Based News reported yesterday, MP Nathan Guy said he was ‘disappointed’ that the airline is promoting’ the plant-based patty over homegrown lamb and beef. Now he has been joined by a slew of politicians adding their anger.

‘Existential threat’

Mark Patterson of the ruling New Zealand First Party waded into the debate, branding the airline’s decision a ‘slap in the face’ to the country’s red meat industry – which is currently worth around $6 billion.

In a statement, Patterson said the decision was ‘totally tone deaf adding that it might pose ‘an existential threat to New Zealand’s second biggest export earner’.

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.”

‘No apology’

Speaking about its decision to offer the Impossible Burger patty – which uses 95 percent less land, less water and creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions to create than beef – Air New Zealand said it makes ‘no apology for offering innovative product choices for its customers and will continue to do so in the future’.

It added: “In the past year alone, we proudly served around 1.3m New Zealand sourced beef and lamb meals to customers from around the world.

“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.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is a news and features writer for 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. She was previously the editor of Plant Based News for over 3 years.