Winning product: deSter Insulated Paper Cup

2016 Best Onboard Food Service Tableware Product (Passenger)

A simple but effective insulated paper cup won deSter the 2016 Onboard Hospitality Award for Best Onboard Food Service Tableware Product (Passenger). We ask how and why this user-friendly product got onboard…

Q.How do you and your team get your inspiration for new products?
A. I would say that it starts with an open mind towards anything that happens around you. Whether you’re inspired through market and consumer trend research, culinary intel or analysing specific customer needs, it is all part of a constant never-ending search and challenge to improve the onboard experience.We strongly believe in a co-development approach where we encourage collaboration between ourselves and our customers, partners and gategroup colleagues. You could say the creative spirit is present throughout the entire company where our in-house design, engineering and R&D teams constantly combine their skills in order to come up with new developments that truly make sense.

Q.How did this product come into your product range and why?
A. Next to the constant search for space optimization onboard, we noticed a lot of crew members struggle to remove paper cups from a stack. Most of the double walled paper cups in the market tend to stick together quite easily and cause irritation.

Cathay Pacific wanted to solve these issues and was very keen to test and help fine tune the product with us. After pushing the boundaries in production feasibility, Cathay became the first airline to have them on board.

Q.Are airlines looking for more innovative service equipment?
A. Innovation can come in many shapes or forms, but in all cases it can be a key differentiator in a very competitive market.

Sometimes it’s clearly and specifically asked for by our customers, but you could say that it is always wanted and appreciated.

There’s a lot of operational restrictions in serving good food on board an aircraft, and changing one aspect of the service will automatically have an impact on many other things.

That’s why almost all newly introduced equipment needs to be innovative in order to differentiate itself and at the same time solve all operational challenges that come along with the change.

Q.Have you managed to get the product onboard an airline?
A. Cathay Pacific was the first airline to launch it earlier this year.

In the meantime we have done some further development and broadened the product range with variations and different outer layer options such as ribbed or straightened walls. We are keen to show the next generation at WTCE 2017.

Q.What exciting project/trend are you responding to next? 

A. As people’s eating and travel behaviour changes over the years, what is technically feasible in the air changes as well. It’s key to not only respond to these changes, but also anticipate them.

We have a number of exciting developments that challenge the current model and aim for an enhanced dining experience.

It’s hard to predict which ideas will eventually make it in the air in let’s say five years time, but some of them will fly, I’m sure. And when they do, the onboard experience will look very different.

Q.How has winning an Onboard Hospitality Award helped your business?

A. Having won the Award for the past two years, we understand the advantages that come along with it.

It’s about getting recognition for developments that otherwise might go unnoticed, but offer crucial benefits. Using the award as a reference, it can act as an eye opener to the wide audience that Onboard Hospitality reaches within our industry.

It shows how we approach our customer’s needs and how we integrate design and technology because while it may seem like it’s just a cup, it clearly isn’t.