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Japan’s national flag carrier line Japan Airlines will be serving vegan burgers using Beyond Meat’s plant-based patties on select routes between Tokyo and the United States. The vegan burger option will be available to first class passengers on the select flights, and the promotion will begin this month and last until the end of May this year. The move comes as a number of airlines have introduced dishes using popular vegan meat alternatives, reflecting widespread consumer demand.
Starting from this month, Japan Airlines (JAL) is collaborating with Silicon Valley-based food tech Beyond Meat to bring its famous plant-based burgers to passengers on select routes. The dish will be available for first class passengers travelling from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Tokyo until 31st May this year.
Commenting on the partnership, “Asia is an important strategic region for Beyond Meat. We’re proud to partner with Japan Airlines to introduce their customers to the delicious taste and texture of the Beyond Burger, while helping to support some of their larger sustainability initiatives,” said Beyond Meat chief growth officer Chuck Muth.
Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat has become one of the most well-known vegan meat alternative brands spearheading the global plant-based movement. Beyond Meat’s portfolio of plant-based proteins, including its burger patties, sausages and beef mince are currently sold at an estimated 58,000 retail and food service outlets across over 50 countries worldwide.
Having collaborated with Hong Kong-based plant-based social enterprise Green Monday, Beyond Meat’s products have launched in many Asian countries to significant fanfare, and the company’s latest partnership with JAL signals its plans to further tap into the massive Asian plant-based market. According to Euromonitor International, the plant-based meat substitute market is set to reach a whopping US$15.8 billion, with consumers in Asia and China in particular driving much of the growth.
It is unclear whether there are longer-term plans to expand the Beyond Meat options on JAL flights. For now, it does appear that the vegan burger will only be offered for first class passengers on select flights for a limited time.
JAL’s move comes as a number of aviation companies have started to offer more vegan and vegetarian options on flights using plant based meat substitutes, signaling strong consumer demand. Last year, Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific became the first airline to serve plant-based pork mince analogue Omnipork by Green Monday, which was available for business class passengers on long-haul flights departing from Hong Kong.
It followed Air New Zealand’s launch of Impossible Food meat on its Business Premier menu back in 2018. Earlier this year in January, Emirates added a vegan choice to its main meal options as a part of the Veganuary campaign.
Lead image courtesy of Japan Airlines.