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Thanks Air New Zealand For Backing Something New

Media release: Little Island
5 July, 2018
For Immediate Release
Thanks Air New Zealand For Backing Something New

Since 2010 we’ve been through a lot together.

From our first grab-a-seat flights to meet buyers in Wellington, to regular hops over to Australia and Singapore to grow our NZ made plant-based business, we’ve been right there with you and you’ve always done right by us.

From your many safety videos, which we’ve generally enjoyed, to the innovative cabin design we’ve grown to love, and sometimes experienced in an out of the blue last minute upgrade, we’ve always thought of Air New Zealand as an innovative company.

So yesterday when acting Prime Minister Winston Peters got hot and bothered about a new temporary vegan burger on the Air New Zealand menu, stating that our national carrier should be the meat industry's number one marketer, it got us thinking, shouldn’t Air New Zealand instead be the number one marketer of our country? If so, we think you’re already doing a good job of it.

Sure, Beef + Lamb NZ, meat farmers and truck loads of politicians were angered that the third option on the menu wasn’t another round of beef or lamb, but Air New Zealand refused to back down on being a champion for the future and made no apology for offering "innovative product choices for its customers and will continue to do so in the future".

Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Sam McIvor has said the red meat sector is facing its biggest disruption since the 1980s, from plant-based production, including soy, nuts, legumes, grains and vegetables, to other protein alternatives including lab grown meats using stem cell technology and novel farmed proteins such as crickets. "The technology is being driven by savvy Silicon Valley investors with deep pockets." The last thing they need is to be stuck in the past with whale oil and wool when innovation comes a knocking.

Speaking of being stuck in the past, former Primary Industries minister Nathan Guy tweeted: "We produce the most delicious steaks & lamb on the planet – GMO & hormone free. The national carrier should be pushing our premium products and helping sell NZ to the world." But if meat is already being pushed as option one and two then couldn’t option three be plant based and meet the needs of anyone not wanting a meat meal at 35,000ft? Could it really hurt that much?

Turns out it could.

"One day you will go home and someone will serve you plant-based meat and you will think it's delicious and be shocked," Beef + Lamb NZ’s independent director Melissa Clark-Reynolds told sheep and beef farmers at a Beef + Lamb NZ seminar in Christchurch. "There will always be a market for good tasting, ethically produced meat. This may mean we don't feed the masses.“ But someone has too.

So Air New Zealand, we think you’re making all the right moves supporting the future, and when you want to expand your plant based options look no farther than good ‘ol NZ, with several local meat and milk alternative startups already sharing room on the supermarket shelves of Aotearoa, including our range of coconut based dairy free milks and ice cream.

And one day, when we sort out our emissions and nitrogen run off issues, New Zealand may also be seen as the world’s best source of plant based foods and Air New Zealand will have once again been at the forefront of supporting innovation and a better future for more than just beef and lamb farmers.

Little Island produces NZ made plant based milk and ice cream and is set to launch more products in September 2018.

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