June 19, 2024

WTCE: Ambassador foursight

We ask this year's WTCE ambassadors for their individual expert opinions on the imminent future of onboard F&B...

What do you think airlines should prioritise in their food and beverage service over the next 12 months and why?

SUSTAINABILITY

Matt Crane
Co-Founder of the Aviation Sustainability Forum (ASF)

As sustainability ambassador to WTCE this year, the challenges facing airlines in improving food and beverage sustainability are diverse. Some are relatively easy to solve whilst others are much more complex. The introduction of more sustainable materials and practices onboard requires passengers to be educated on the cabin waste problem and taken with the airline on their journey to reduce cabin waste. Similarly, crew waste segregation and the removal of single-use plastics fall into the “relatively” easy-to-achieve basket.

At the heart of the issue is the legacy supply chain for the provision of inflight products and services from design to plate which is linear – “Take-Make-Waste”. The WTCE Taste Of Travel session on Tuesday 28 May 14.30-16.15 called ‘The growing issue of cabin waste & what’s needed to solve it’, will unveil the results of the first in depth audits of cabin waste and re-set the aviation sector’s understanding of the problem and debate what’s needed to solve it.

CHOICE

Kelly Stevenson
Former global wine and beverage manager at British Airways and Director of JetVine

Over the next twelve months, customers will expect to see more choice generally across inflight food and beverage selections. This doesn’t just mean options available, but a wider range of categories. Although many travellers like to indulge when they fly, there is an expectation that access (especially on longer flights) to healthier food and drinks will be possible, so airlines should really target wellness in the air. Leading on from this is the need for carriers to consider better quality brands, meaning quality ingredients in recipes and ethical and eco-friendly practices.

Two good examples of this are The Unrooted’s wellness shots, packing a punch in flavour and going above and beyond in terms of their focus on people and the planet. Another brand to watch is The Pickle House with their spiced tomato juice that offers the goodness and great taste of real tomatoes and guaranteed top quality across the other ingredients, resulting in a ready-to-go base for a Bloody (or Virgin) Mary onboard.

INCLUSIVITY

Julianne Ponan, MBE
Allergen campaigner and Founder of Creative Nature Superfoods

In the next 12 months, airlines should prioritise creating more inclusive menus in their food and beverage service. Firstly, with allergies on the rise globally, including the alarming statistic of 1 in 12 children being diagnosed with allergies in the UK alone, and every three minutes, someone in the US is rushed to the ER due to a food allergy reaction, it’s imperative for airlines to cater to diverse dietary requirements.

One significant step is offering better options for passengers with dietary requirements. This entails not only providing alternatives for common allergens, but also ensuring that these alternatives are clearly labelled and readily available. By doing so, airlines demonstrate their commitment to passenger safety and inclusivity.
Furthermore, banning peanuts and tree nuts from all aircraft could significantly mitigate the risk of allergic reactions mid-flight. While it might seem like a drastic measure, many airlines have already done this with good feedback.

NUTRITION

Melissa Adamski
Travel Dietitian and Founder, Nutted Out Nutrition

With a growing interest in nutritious food and wellbeing, there is an opportunity for the travel industry to look to nutrition science to create meal services that align with passengers’ changing preferences. By having nutrition as a pillar of meal development and onboard service offerings, airlines can really elevate the passenger experience.

It is not about taking away ‘comfort-style’ meals or foods. The styles of meals that airlines say passengers like the most, is in fact quite the opposite. It is about optimising these meals to deliver on both taste and packing a nutrition punch. Prioritising wholefoods as an important component of meals and snacks is an important step, reducing reliance on ultra-processed foods. This will also assist with maintaining focus on food quality – a factor which contributes greatly to creating an outstanding meal. Additionally, focusing on ways to deliver personalisation of food and beverage services can help manage expectations, dietary requirements, and food waste.

It’s free to attend WTCE. Register for your pass today at worldtravelcateringexpo.com

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