AIR New Zealand has come under fire for its latest in-flight meal offering - a synthetic meat burger known as the Impossible Burger.

The New Zealand First party's primary industries spokesman Mark Patterson called the promotion of the "Impossible Burger", which contains a plant-based meat substitute, on some international flights a "slap in the face" for New Zealand's red meat sector, reports the NZ Herald.

The man discovered the instructions on the receipt after he had eaten the burger.
The man discovered the instructions on the receipt after he had eaten the burger.

Air New Zealand has teamed up with Silicon Valley start-up Impossible Foods to serve the burger to premium customers.

The plant-based burger will be available as part of its business premier menu on flights NZ1 and NZ5 from Los Angeles to Auckland until late October.

"The national carrier should be showcasing our premium quality grass-fed New Zealand red meat, not promoting a product that has the potential to pose an existential threat to New Zealand's second biggest export earner," Mr Patterson said.

"There has been widespread concern in the regions at the loss of services from provincial airports and now 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."

Patterson called for Air New Zealand to review its decision and instead showcase New Zealand produce to international visitors.

NZ National Party agriculture spokesman Nathan Guy expressed his disappointment on Twitter over the promotion.

"Disappointing to see Air NZ promoting a GE substitute meat burger on its flights to the USA. 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," Guy tweeted.

Comment was being sought from Air New Zealand.

At June 2018, meat products were worth $A6.1 billion to the New Zealand economy, behind dairy which was the country's top export earner on $A12.9 billion. In April this year tourism was worth $A13.4 billion to the economy.

In March, Regional Economic Development Minister and NZ First MP Shane Jones criticised the board of Air New Zealand following the carrier's decision to cut flights to Kapiti, on the lower North Island.

"I'm telling that board, in terms of the growth and connectivity in provincial New Zealand, it will not increase unless that board changes," he said.

He also warned Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon to butt out of politics.

"Do not poke your nose into the political boxing ring unless you're going to resign today and join the ranks of the National Party. This is a legitimate issue on behalf of those provincial areas who have been short-changed. I've said all along, my focus is on the board."

This story was originally published on the NZ Herald and is republished with permission.