Thinking holistically

June 5, 2019

From eco-burgers to clean label foods, sustainable packaging to retail collaborations, Marfo tells Julie Baxter how it has transformed itself into a total solutions business

Inflight catering has come a long way since the early 1970s when Marfo started supplying traditional hot meals to airlines, and the company says the key to success is staying ahead of the curve, embracing new trends and bringing ever-more innovative products onboard.

Marfo has a well-established reputation for supplying fresh-frozen dishes to the airline industry but in recent times has evolved its offer to provide a one-stop shop for everything from complete meal solutions to snacks to buy-on-board programmes.

“Since 2000, our focus has shifted towards also offering total solutions. We have co-branded meals with famous retail brands and extended our range of starters and desserts,” says vp sales, Gijs van Zon. “Working with a highly-experienced team and prestigious international chefs from around the globe, each with a strong reputation in their own country or continent, we have also ensured outstanding performance in authentic ethnic cooking, including Asian and Middle Eastern dishes.”

Two key trends to watch, says Gijs van Zon, are the transition from animal to plant-based protein, and sustainability. During WTCE, the company will launch a new range of products incorporating these trends. One is a burger made from a combination of oyster mushrooms and beef. The mushrooms grow on the waste products of the coffee industry.

Marfo also draws inspiration from its other markets including retail, health care and hospitality. Gijs van Zon says the team is developing ‘clean label’ meals for hospitals which are healthy dishes made from as pure ingredients as possible. “I don’t think it will be long before airlines also required these.”

Packing a punch
“All Marfo meals are carbon-neutral using, among other elements, green electricity and our own biomass,” adds Giji van Zon. “We buy as much local produce as possible and use packaging that is lightweight and preferably made of recycled base material. Packaging is becoming increasingly important as airlines and passengers focus on sustainability.

“These days, Marfo is a specialist in total solutions, from service concepts to waste collection onboard, and we use an holistic approach with our clients.” •