Airlines go trendy with in-flight meal options

Virgin America (PRNews Foto/Virgin America)

Virgin America (PRNews Foto/Virgin America)


, Last Updated: 12:20 PM ET

Trends like gluten-free foods, Greek yogurt and artisan ice cream flavors are taking off in-flight.

In its new menu shake-up, United Airlines has become the latest mainstream carrier to add gluten-free alternatives that will extend to salad dressings, soup, fruit and nut bars. 

The options will be available for premium-cabin customers on domestic flights, routes to Central America and long-haul international flights departing the US. Gluten-free snack boxes will be available for purchase in economy-class cabins.

United joins other carriers like American Airlines, Air Canada, Delta and Singapore Airlines to offer meals that are wheat, rye, barley and oat-free.

Premium-cabin passengers flying United will also be upgraded from regular yogurt to Greek yogurt in response to the wild popularity of the thicker, denser yogurt. Chobani Flip Greek yogurt will be added as a breakfast option on flights within North America and to Central America.

Meanwhile, Virgin America also released a new in-flight menu this month, inviting passengers to vote for the artisan ice cream flavor they'd like to see served on board.

In collaboration with gourmet ice cream maker Humphry Slocombe, a popular San Francisco ice cream parlor in the airline's home base, Virgin America invited flyers to tweet their choice among three flavors: Butter by Moodlight made with brown butter and blueberry glaze; Red Hot Banana, made with banana cream, sweet cinnamon spice and mashed Red Hot candies; and Coconut Blond Ambition, an homage to founder Sir Richard Branson with vanilla marshmallow fluff mingled with lemon citrus sorbet and a coconut finish.

The winning flavor will be served to passengers flying in the First Class cabin starting March 4.

In a sign that the low-carb diet continues to see demand, the carrier has also introduced protein-packed plates like yogurt, fruit and gluten-free granola, and farro pudding with edamame hummus, boiled egg, grapes, radishes, mini pitas, and camembert cheese.