Japanese ZIPAIR adds insect powder to two in-flight meal options

One of the pleasures and challenges of travel is eating foods outside of your comfort zone. It often starts when you board an airline, especially if that airline is not from your home country. What there is to eat can take on a whole new meaning. Japan’s ZIPAIR promises to challenge some starving travelers from afar with a little something extra on what otherwise looks like a fairly conventional lunch.

A cricket burger for lunch?

Introduced in late June and picked up by Japanese outlet Asahi Shimbun over the weekend, ZIPAIR now allows passengers to pre-order meals containing insect powder, specifically powder made from two-spot crickets. Fried crickets have long been a popular and nutritious street food option in parts of Asia, although a sometimes unconventional choice for travelers more accustomed to trail mix.

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Food scientists have worked extensively on the possibilities of insects as food staples as the world becomes increasingly crowded and the environmental and ethical concerns of large-scale animal production grow. controversial. The well-known nutritional value of insects is a plus. ZIPAIR introduces its two new cricket-based meal options as an eco-friendly meal option.

ZIPAIR offers a more environmentally friendly burger & pasta option

So what’s for lunch on your next ZIPAIR flight? The two meals containing ground cricket powder (or gryllus powder) are the chili burger topped with tomato and pasta pescatore. ZIPAIR says gryllus powder is included in the burger’s buns, patty, and spicy tomato sauce, and in the pasta option, soft-shell shrimp, octopus, squid, and clams are cooked in a sauce. tomato base with gryllus powder.

“As part of ZIPAIR’s commitment to sustainability, the airline has partnered with Gryllus Inc. to offer an eco-friendly meal option to help reduce food waste across its network. international”, says a ZIPAIR statement.

“Starting July 1, 2022, the carrier will offer customers the option to purchase special high-protein meals, including a tomato-topped chili burger or a pescatore pasta plate developed in collaboration with Gryllus. The ingredients of both meals contain a high protein content. edible insect in powder form, gryllus bimaculatus. By consuming an alternative source rich in protein, these actions can have a positive impact on climate change.

ZIPAIR is a low-cost subsidiary of Japan Airlines. Like most low-cost companies, ZIPAIR does not just distribute these meals. You must order and pay for them before flying. Meals are available on flights between Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Bangkok (BKK), Singapore (SIN), Honolulu (HNL) and Los Angeles (LAX). In the case of the two US destinations, ZIPAIR notes that meal options will only be available on flights at these destinations.

Seafood pasta aboard the ZIPAIR (pictured) comes with cricket powder. Photo: ZIPAIR

ZIPAIR tries to talk about sustainable development

A ZIPAIR official told Asahi Shimbun that the cricket powder had “an appetizing flavor resembling that of crustacean shells.“As someone who believes the best part of a shrimp is its in-shell tail, I wholeheartedly agree with this flavor.

It’s easy to say that a practice is environmentally sustainable, but talking is often cheap. But ZIPAIR says they try to lead by example. Requiring customers to pre-order meals reduces waste (and saves the airline money) – so no arguments there. But both meal options still include beef and seafood. There are a whole host of environmental issues with farming and fishing, so an all-insect meal option could be a better choice from an environmental point of view. However, that might be a step too far too soon for ZIPAIR customers.


As ZIPAIR notes, they’re not trying to change the world or eating habits overnight. Instead, the airline wants to reduce food waste and promote the consumption of alternative sources of protein. A year or two later, it will be interesting to know what the adoption of the new meal choices has been.

Source: Asahi Shimbun