Have your drink and eat it, too.

By Jelisa Castrodale
Updated December 06, 2019
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Earlier this year, Air New Zealand announced that it would be taking significant steps to cut back on its use of disposable plastics, both in the air and on the ground. It removed all of the single-use water bottles from its Business Premier and Premium Economy cabins, which the airline says will both keep 460,000 bottles out of landfills every year and will cut its carbon emissions by more than 660,000 pounds annually. On top of that, it stopped passing out plastic sauce packets to Business Premier customers, swapping them for reusable serving dishes.

Air New Zealand

And earlier this week, the airline announced that it's trading some of its plastic coffee cups for edible versions instead. The cups for this trial run are being produced by Twiice, an Auckland company whose edible wares are currently being used in more than a dozen coffee shops throughout the country.

Air New Zealand

"It’s terrific that Air New Zealand has partnered with us to showcase to its customers and the world that a little bit of Kiwi ingenuity and innovation could have a really positive impact on the environment while at the same time delivering a really cool and tasty customer experience," Twiice cofounder Jamie Cashmore said.

The cups are made from vanilla-flavored biscotti, and the airline says that they've been a hit with the customers who have nibbled on them so far. In addition to being used for coffee, they can also double as ice cream dishes. Air New Zealand has also permanently switched to paper-and-corn based cups on its aircraft and in all of its lounges, a change that will keep an estimated 15 million plastic cups out of landfills. (Unfortunately, the plant-based versions don't taste like vanilla.)

According to the BBC, some flyers with allergies or dietary restrictions have expressed concerns about the ingredient list. Air New Zealand has confirmed that the cups are made with eggs, while Twiice says that they contain gluten, and may contain traces of dairy or nuts. (And the airline's @-replies have stressed that its new plant-based cups are still available on every flight, even the ones that are testing the edible versions.)

In 2017, KFC restaurants in the U.K. started serving coffee in edible cookie cups, which were all wrapped in red-logo sugar paper and sealed with vanilla icing. A handful of other bakeries and cafes have also experimented with edible cups, ranging from sculpted chocolate mugs, to shot glasses made from cookies, to the chocolate-covered waffle cones that are a crucial part of the Coffee in a Cone experience.