Emirates records 154% spike in vegan meal requests on flights

As an increasing number of people sign up for Veganuary, the Dubai airline has seen soaring demand for its plant-based options

As Veganuary 2023 celebrates record sign-up rates, Emirates Airlines has seen a spike in demand for vegan meals on flights. Photo: Emirates
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For many people, a new year means a new diet and that’s especially true for everyone who signed up for this year’s Veganuary.

The month-long initiative to try a plant-based diet in January saw a record-breaking sign-up rate in 2023, with one person taking up the challenge every 2.4 seconds, according to the charity, Veganuary.

Emirates airline also recorded a significant uptake in the number of plant-based meals being requested on its flights.

Travellers flying with Emirates are embracing plant-based cuisine, with the airline recording a 154 per cent increase in vegan meal requests on flights last year. More than 280,000 plant-based meals were consumed on the airline's flights in the past year, including more than 195,000 vegan desserts.

With more than 180 plant-based recipes in rotation, Emirates offers a variety of dishes for vegan flyers. Among these are spinach and avocado mousseline with marinated tofu, multicoloured quinoa with caramelised pear and celeriac puree and lovage pesto.

The airline has been serving vegan options for more than two decades. Initially, its vegan meals were offered on specific routes such as Addis Ababa, where animal-free meals are required during certain times of the year by those practising Ethiopian Orthodox faith, or across the Indian subcontinent, where several faiths encourage a plant-based diet.

But for several years now, vegan dishes have been rapidly gaining popularity on other routes including to the US, Australia and on some European and UK routes.

Emirates says it has seen a recent increase in vegan meal uptake in new destinations, including to Beirut, Cairo and Taiwan.

Last year, the airline introduced a new gourmet vegan menu for premium passengers. It includes chef-curated dishes such as jackfruit biryani, pan-roasted king oyster mushrooms and chocolate truffle cake.

The airline sources plant-based ingredients from several UAE suppliers, including fresh locally grown greens from Bustanica, the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm.

Passengers on all Emirates flights and across all classes of travel can pre-order vegan meals up to 24 hours before departure. Some flights offer plant-based meals as part of the main menu options.

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Updated: January 09, 2023, 9:17 AM