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Virgin Australia has taken a not-so-subtle dig at rival airline Air New Zealand by launching a campaign to find New Zealand's ``finest meat supplier''.
Earlier this month, Air New Zealand announced it would be serving the plant-based Impossible Burger as part of its business premier menu on its Los Angeles to Auckland flight.
That attracted ire from many in the rural sector, who believed the airline should be pushing the country's premium products.
Virgin Australia has now called for New Zealand meat suppliers to submit their interest in providing their produce on board flights from New Zealand to Australia.
The successful supplier would work alongside the airline and its local caterer LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand to develop a bespoke dish designed to showcase the quality of New Zealand produce. It could be available on flights as soon as October.
General manager of customer experience and product Tash Tobias said the initiative demonstrated the airline's ``commitment to New Zealanders and their primary industries.''
The successful supplier would be required to meet particular criteria, such as having sustainable practices which met Virgin Australia's procurement policy.
When contacted, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive officer Rod Slater said the organisation was happy with any airline - or organisation - that promoted or used New Zealand red meat.
As far as the furore around the Impossible Burger went, Mr Slater said he often flew with Air New Zealand overseas and it used New Zealand red meat.
It also always offered a vegetarian menu and he saw the Impossible Burger as ``an addition to that''.
He welcomed what Virgin Australia was doing, just as he would if it was any other airline, he said.