The plant-based Impossible Burger from California startup Impossible Foods has been added to the business class menu on Air New Zealand flights from Los Angeles and Auckland.
According to its creators, the burger cooks, smells and tastes like real beef because it’s infused with “haem”, the same iron-containing molecule found in meat.
The company says it is haem, a component of haemoglobin, which gives meat its unique flavour. After testing haem molecules from several plants, they found that the haem in soy legumes behaved similarly to the haem in animal haemoglobin.
The resulting burger can be produced with 75 per cent less water, 87 per cent less greenhouse gases and 95 per cent less land than a beef burger. It’s now served in 2,500 restaurants around the US.
Air New Zealand will offer the Impossible Burger on flights NZ1 and NZ5 through at least late October. The airline’s customer experience manager Niki Chave said the burger “tastes just like the real deal”. Even so, the inflight menu will continue to include standard, meat-based options.