Vegan Burger Poses 'Existential Threat' to New Zealand

The Impossible Burger
The Impossible Burger | © Impossible Foods

A vegetarian burger that ‘bleeds’ is at the centre of a controversy, having been accused of posing an “existential threat” to New Zealand’s beef industry.

Loved by over 40s

New Zealand Air’s choice to serve an American-made soy-based burger has been criticised by acting Prime Minister Winston Peters, who said that the airline should be supporting the country by using real animal products sourced in New Zealand. Peters stated that he is “utterly opposed to fake beef.”

The burger in question was made famous by chef David Chang. Produced by American company Impossible Foods, it contains a molecule from the roots of soy plants called heme. The molecular structure and iron content of heme means that, when it’s formed into a patty and cooked, it smells, tastes and looks like beef. Heme is the blood-like substance that spills out of the vegan burger when it’s cut. Along with that, the Impossible Foods creation also contains wheat, coconut oil and potatoes.

Would you eat a bleeding vegan burger?

The ruling New Zealand First party issued a statement saying that the veggie burger could pose “an existential threat to New Zealand’s second biggest export earner” and was a “slap in the face” to the country’s red-meat industry, which is worth NZ$9 billion (£5bn, or $6bn).

The party’s spokesperson, Mark Patterson, said: “We have Air New Zealand actively promoting synthetic proteins which have a genetic modification component to them. This is not a good example of New Zealand Inc working together for the greater good.”

National Party MP Nathan Guy tweeted his displeasure: “Disappointing to see Air NZ promoting a GE substitute meat burger on its flights to the USA,” he wrote. “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.”

- embed -

Air New Zealand responded to the comments saying that their choice to serve the burger posed no threat to New Zealand’s meat industry.

“In the past year alone, we proudly served around 1.3 million New Zealand sourced beef and lamb meals to customers from around the world,” they said. “Air New Zealand makes no apology for offering innovative product choices for its customers and will continue to do so in the future.”

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.