With the demand for vegan meals increasing, Gulf carrier Emirates will introduce more than 300 new plant-based dishes across its in-flight services and lounges in 2024. Whether you’re experimenting with your diet for Veganuary or have avoided animal products for years, you’ll find plenty to eat and enjoy during your trip with Emirates.
Emirates already has an extensive “vegan vault” of more than 300 plant-based recipes, ranging from tofu tikka masala in economy cabins to elevated thyme mushroom ragout in first class.
The Dubai-based airline first introduced vegan fare on its flights in the 1990s, initially just on select routes for travelers requiring plant-based options for religious reasons, such as to Addis Ababa (ADD), for those practicing the Ethiopian Orthodox faith.
Over the last decade, as more people worldwide embraced plant-based diets for health, environmental, and ethical reasons, Emirates has brought vegan dishes to every flight. In 2018, it extended vegan options to its cabin crew as well.
Today, Emirates offers an extensive and diverse vegan menu that was named the top airline for plant-based travelers by the magazine VegNews in 2023.
That year, Emirates served more than 450,000 vegan meals onboard its flights, up from 280,000 in 2022.
While some of that 40% increase is down to rising passenger volumes, in some regions, demand for plant-based meals eclipsed traveler growth, including in the Middle East (up an additional 34%), Southeast Asia (up 5%), and Africa (up 4%).
In particular, passengers on routes to China, Japan, and the Philippines and those in economy cabins request plant-based meals at the highest rates ever.
Emirates is doubling its vegan menu this year, introducing fresh dishes across its cabins and airport lounges. Additions will include new vegan main courses, snacks such as fruit muffins and pizza, and a range of delicious desserts, including chocolate pecan cake, pistachio, and raspberry tonka bean cake.
Emirates’ vegan meals are made from high-quality ingredients from around the world, including meat substitutes from Beyond Meat, soybean protein from UAE and Singapore brand Arlene, and Qianye pressed tofu from Japan.
Emirates bucks expectations of dreary plant-based meals with tasty ingredients such as dark vegan chocolate from French brand Linnolat, vegan curry paste from Thailand, vegan margarine from German baking supplier MeisterMarken, and almond milk from Italy.
First- and business-class meals incorporate leafy greens from Bustanica, the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farm, in which the airline has invested. Intended to reduce the UAE’s reliance on imported produce, Bustanica produces organic lettuces, kale, spinach, and arugula without pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals and requires a fraction of the water conventional farming does.
Travelers can request vegan meals on all Emirates flights and all cabins up to 24 hours before departure. First-class passengers can order vegan meals directly onboard.