OmniPork Cathay Pacific

Image via Cathay Pacific

After Air New Zealand began serving the Impossible Burger in flight last year, Cathay has become the the first airline in the world to offer passengers a pork alternative.

Hong-Kong based airline Cathay Pacific is bringing the plant-based trend to the skies this month with the launch of a vegan bolognese made with OmniPork, one of a growing number of meat-alternatives on the market. It will be served with garganelli pasta throughout the month of October to passengers seated in business class on long-haul flights departing from Hong Kong.

Made from a blend of pea protein, non-GMO soy, shiitake mushrooms and rice, OmniPork looks and tastes like the real thing. It’s also healthier — 86 percent lower in saturated fat and 66 per cent lower in calories than pork.

While Cathay is the first airline in the world to offer passengers a pork alternative, Air New Zealand began serving the meatless Impossible Burger on its LA–Auckland route in 2018. The rival Beyond Meat burger has been available in Cathay’s first-class lounge at Hong Kong International Airport for just over a year. In a statement, the airline said it currently dishes out about 800 plant-based patties each month. Even McDonald’s has joined the meat-free “burger that bleeds” bandwagon, recently announcing a trial of a Beyond Meat sandwich in select locations.

Pork however has been largely overlooked, even though it makes up almost 40 percent of worldwide meat production. In many Asian countries, including China, where the food tech firm behind OmniPork is located, it beats beef consumption by a substantial margin. Right{treat} created OmniPork in collaboration with a team of Canadian scientists. Its parent company, the Chinese startup Green Monday, is targeting the health and environmentally conscious Asian pork consumer by marketing OmniPork as a product of Western innovation and Asian application.

While Cathay had considered a number of different cuisines, including those from Asia, for its first in-flight OmniPork fare, it ultimately decided on the bolognese. The airline previously offered an Asian-inspired marinated OmniPork clay pot rice dish in its airport lounges and is featuring the ingredient this month in its first-class lounge through an OmniPork and black truffle braise recipe.

“We’re continually exploring new ways to enhance the experience we offer to customers,” Cathay shared in an email. “We are delighted to partner with local venture Green Monday, which shares our belief that customers should have more high-quality meal options that are good for their health and good for the environment. This is something our customers are also often telling us they would like to see both on flights and in our lounges.”

Cathay said it will review passenger satisfaction and continue to experiment with different OmniPork dishes.