Onboard Hospitality winner interview: WK Thomas
WK THOMAS WON THE BEST FOR ONBOARD SUSTAINABILITY CATEGORY
BLACK BAGASSE TRAY
Q.Tell us a little about the product, its background and how it came to market
A.WKT’s black bagasse tray is made from lightweight, 100% biodegradable sugar cane. A major airline wanted an all-disposable, single-use service in premium economy. The tray had to function well, retain a premium look and save weight versus a conventional rotable tray. The brief called for an ergonomic and practical design, convenient in one of the tightest, most challenging spaces – aircraft.
Q.What do you think puts this product ahead of others in the same field?
A.Where heavy plastic reusable trays have dominated the market, this tray is lighter, more flexible and no-less sturdy. Unlike some environmentally-friendly products our Black Bagasse Tray is stylish – black has a select feel and provides an alluring backdrop to the trayset which makes it ideal for the environment it is used in.
Q.What need or onboard trend does the product address?
A.Bagasse is not just 100% organic but robust – good for consumers clued up on sustainability and airlines demanding ergonomic durability. The tray meanwhile is an ideal single-use serving method for food and drink, with edges designed to glide smoothly on cabin-trolley runners for easy delivery and storage. The disposable tray is atlas compatible to maximise cabin crew and passenger benefits.
Q.What product trends/ airline demands will you be responding to next?
A. The growing clamour for all-things sustainable will see WKT target new environmentally focused products – more bagasse innovation and polylactic acid (PLA) products such as cutlery. PLA is a compostable and biodegradable cornstarch derivative.
Q.How does your team develop or source new onboard products and ensure it stays ahead of the curve?
A. WKT serves transport and foodservice sectors; dynamic, fast-evolving markets that increasingly take creative cues from the high street. We are one of the UK’s only packaging suppliers with an in-house design studio with two full-time designers dedicated to new product development. As part of multinational Bunzl Group, WKT draws from a global sourcing network that’s tuned into international trends.
Q.How will winning an Onboard Hospitality Award help your business?
A. It will build credibility and recognition. Businesses are constantly up against competitors and this award will allow us to benchmark against them and stand out from the crowd. Such a respected award is excellent peer recognition and PR. Our staff work day in, day out to support our industry and this is award will boost morale and emphasise the positive effect our work has on industry.