According to a September 2021 Nielsen report (‘Growing demand for plant-based proteins’), more than half of US consumers are increasing their plant-based food consumption, and sales of plant-based meat substitutes are climbing. Many airlines are keen for their inflight catering to reflect this growing passenger preference, among them United Airlines, which is adding more plant-based options to its inflight meals.
The airline is now collaborating with Impossible Foods, a California-based company that develops plant-based substitutes for meat products, perhaps best known for its Impossible Burger, launched in 2016 for Burger King’s ‘Impossible Whopper’ meatless burger. The company has created an exclusive Impossible Meatball Bowl for United Airlines, now available to first-class customers on all domestic flights of more than 800 miles in the continental US, and its Impossible Sausage patties will be available in Polaris lounges in Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark and San Francisco.
“We want our food offerings to evolve and change along with people’s preferences,” said Aaron McMillan, United’s managing director of hospitality and planning. “To many travellers, the quality of food choices at the airport and in the sky are a really important part of the customer experience, so we’re invested in making sure our menu items exceed their expectations. This is the first of many updates we look forward to sharing in the months ahead.”
The Impossible Meatball Bowl features three Impossible Meatballs made from plants and broccolini, served on a bed of couscous and topped with a herb-infused tomato sauce. Impossible Meatballs are made from a mix of Impossible Beef (a plant-based beef substitute) and Impossible Sausage (a meatless sausage patty), seasoned with a savoury homestyle spice blend. Additionally, during breakfast at Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Newark and San Francisco Polaris lounges, United will offer ground Impossible Sausage as an optional omelette ingredient and Impossible Sausage breakfast patties as a buffet option.