The plant-based Impossible Burger has been labeled an 'existential threat' to the beef industry' by a New Zealand politician.
The complaint follows news that the country's national airline - Air New Zealand - will be serving the patty on its Los Angeles-Auckland flights in Business Premier until late October in a bid to offer more innovative menu options. The patty is part of a vegetarian burger build featuring Gouda cheese, caramelised onions and tomatillo cream.
As Plant Based News reported yesterday, MP Nathan Guy said he was 'disappointed' that the airline is promoting' the plant-based patty over homegrown lamb and beef. Now he has been joined by a slew of politicians adding their anger.
Mark Patterson of the ruling New Zealand First Party waded into the debate, branding the airline's decision a 'slap in the face' to the country's red meat industry - which is currently worth around $6 billion.
In a statement, Patterson said the decision was 'totally tone deaf adding that it might pose 'an existential threat to New Zealand's second biggest export earner'.
Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters added: "Air New Zealand is an airline built by the New Zealand taxpayer, was privatised, was bailed out by the New Zealand taxpayer, and is there because of the taxpayer. Some of the taxpayers are the farming industry who want to ensure they get top end of the product market offshore and our airline should be its number one marketer."
Speaking about its decision to offer the Impossible Burger patty - which uses 95 percent less land, less water and creates 87 percent less greenhouse gas emissions to create than beef - Air New Zealand said it makes 'no apology for offering innovative product choices for its customers and will continue to do so in the future'.
It added: "In the past year alone, we proudly served around 1.3m New Zealand sourced beef and lamb meals to customers from around the world.
"Indeed, the international media coverage over the past 24 hours positioning Air New Zealand as an innovative airline and, by association, New Zealand as a desirable place to visit has been invaluable."