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Emirates has delivered a resounding response to heightened demand for plant-based cuisine with a multimillion-dollar investment into new vegan choices onboard ahead of the World Vegan Day on November 1.

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.

To cater to the rapid growth of the global vegan community and general interest in herbivorous diets, Emirates is setting new standards in customer experience with delicious and healthy options for cosmopolitan customers following a vegan lifestyle, or for those who seek a lighter meal choice while travelling. Vegan options are available to order and pre-order onboard, as well as in Emirates Lounges.

Increasing demand for vegan cuisine
Emirates has been serving vegan options onboard since the 1990’s. 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.

Menu development
Emirates has invested into developing a new vegan menu to rival acclaimed restaurants. The vegan menu in First and Business Class spent a year in development in Emirates Flight Catering, an expansive facility based at Dubai International airport, which is home to 11,000 employees and serves up to 225,000 meals daily. It is the largest flight catering facility in the world and home to international chefs of 69 different nationalities.

In Economy Class, the vegan menus are also refreshed every month, providing a wide variety of dishes to frequent travellers. The vegan meals in Economy Class are available to pre-order and have been extremely well received by passengers worldwide.

The vegan desserts are also deliciously decadent, featuring tempting choices such as a dark chocolate custard cake balanced by fresh, juicy strawberries, a zesty lemon tart lightly laced with coconut cream and a rich chocolate tofu cheesecake complemented by a sweet strawberry compote.

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 leaves and herbs from Bustanica. Bustanica is the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm, a $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. 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. – TradeArabia News Service

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