Airlines Urged To Offer Vegan Food To Offset Carbon Emissions

According to campaigners, the default choice is 'beef or chicken' - and this needs a plant-based upgrade
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Airplane

Airlines should offer more vegan options, say campaigners (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Airlines are being urged to offer vegan options to offset their carbon emissions and cater for plant-based flyers.

The Vegan Society and Humane Society International have joined forces to create the FlyVe website, which provides consumers with the first-ever online rating system for vegan inflight meals. FlyVe is part of the Vegan on the Go campaign that aims to bring attention to the importance of catering for vegans, and to highlight the many benefits of ensuring plant-based options are included on standard menus.

According to the two organizations, the default meal options provided by most airlines are dominated by meat, dairy and eggs. This means that passengers have to proactively request a vegan meal in advance.

Environmental impact

"Flying has a notorious reputation for producing high greenhouse gas emissions and providing vegan options can be a way of offsetting this environmental impact,"says The Vegan Society.

"Animal agriculture produces around a fifth of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions and meat, egg and dairy production is a bigger contributor to global warming than all forms of transportation combined, including aviation.

"Airlines serve an estimated one billion inflight meals every year, so actively encouraging passengers to choose plant-based options could help reduce the industry's carbon emissions.

Oxford University scientists recently confirmed that eating a vegan diet is 'the single most effective thing an individual can do to help climate change'.

Woman eats meal on airplane

Airline meals typically contain beef or chicken (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Environmentally-friendly meal

"Adding vegan options to every standard in-flight menu would mean that all passengers can opt for a more environmentally-friendly meal,"Elena Orde, Senior Campaigns Officer at The Vegan Society, said.

"It would be fantastic to see airlines really embrace the variety and creativity that is possible with vegan food, and to create options which are suitable for vegans but appeal to everyone.

"We have launched FlyVe to allow us to see which airlines are flying ahead of the curve, and which could do with some extra support when it comes to embracing plant-based options. We encourage any airline to get in touch for advice and training.”

Climate crisis

"In an era of climate crisis, we all need to be making more planet-friendly lifestyle choices," Charlie Huson, Forward Food Programme Manager at Humane Society International UK, said.

"Reducing how often we fly is of course key, but so too is making sure that when we do fly we're not further increasing our carbon footprint with our food choices. Despite the compelling need for change, the ubiquitous 'chicken or beef' remains the unimaginative default choice on most airlines.

"If everyone flying out of Heathrow in just one day chose a vegan meal it could save around 33,592 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of driving 112,695,851 miles in an average UK petrol car.”

Passengers can rate their vegan inflight meals at www.flyvegan.org now.