Stock - Emirates Boeing 777
Emirates has introduced vegan options across its menus for Economy, First and Business Class passengers, and in its lounges. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: While Emirates has served vegan food options since the 1990s, the airline said in a media statement that now all of its passengers can get plant-based meals onboard their aircraft.

Heralding World Vegan Day, celebrated on November 1 every year, the airline said it has made a multimillion-dollar investment into new vegan choices onboard.

A curated menu of gourmet vegan dishes has been introduced into First and Business Class, while Economy Class menus have also welcomed a refreshed selection of plant-based produce. Vegan options are available to order and pre-order onboard, as well as in Emirates Lounges.

From the 1990s to now

Emirates has been serving vegan options onboard since the 1990s, the airline added.

Initially, vegan requirements were focused on specific routes such as Addis Ababa where vegan meals are required during certain times of the year by those practising the Ethiopian Orthodox faith, or across the Indian subcontinent where multiple faiths encourage a plant-based diet.

Vegan dishes are now rapidly gaining general popularity on US, Australian, some European and UK routes, with Emirates noting a sizeable increase in interest in vegan dishes over the last decade. Routes showing recent increasing interest in vegan meals include Beirut, Cairo, and Taiwan.

Currently, Emirates offers more than 180 plant-based recipes catering to vegan customers.

Sustainably sourced

Vegan options onboard Emirates are nutrient-dense and rich in greens, fruits, and vegetables, sourced from several UAE-based suppliers including fresh locally grown kale, heirloom cherry tomatoes, salad leafs and herbs from Bustanica.

Bustanica is the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm, a US$40 million joint venture investment through Emirates Flight Catering. The Bustanica farm is driven by powerful technology – machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced methods – and a specialised in-house team that includes agronomy experts, engineers, horticulturists, and plant scientists.

NAT 220809 BUSTANICA VERTICAL FARM38-1660059318886
Robert Fellows, Production Director, Emirates Crop One, during a media tour of the vertical farm, Bustanica in Dubai. 9th August 2022. Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan

A continuous production cycle ensures the produce is perfectly fresh and clean, and grown without pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals. All passengers on Emirates will be served delicious leafy greens, including lettuces, arugula, mixed salad greens, and spinach directly from Bustanica, with plans for even more fruit and vegetables to be farmed in the future.