May 22, 2024

WTCE news round-up

The WTCE show floor was buzzing with new ideas, productive conversations and smiles as the industry reconnected. Read about some of the stands and product stories the Onboard Hospitality team spotted – expect to see more over the coming weeks.

It’s a wrap for Lily O’Brien’s

Chocolate specialist Lily O’Brien’s is evolving its packaging to support inflight moves towards sustainability.

The company has been supplying the travel sector since 1995 and has 40 airlines among its customers. The premium chocolates brand was showcasing innovative flavour profiles and new packaging options at the show including Dessert Pots now made from PEFC approved board and 100% recyclable. A new paper flow-wrap packaging is currently in trial to replace plastic packaging for individual servings of chocolates.

The brand’s ambition is to replace every flow-wrapped chocolate that contains plastic packaging with a new plastic-free recyclable material by the end of 2022.

Rebrand for W K Thomas

W K Thomas has rebranded as WKT Travel and relaunched its product portfolio.

A leading supplier of specialised food service packaging for many years, WK Thomas is now part of Bunzl but retains its specialism under the new brand identity.

The portfolio includes a refreshed range of meal service packaging solutions and galley equipment, trolley accessories and bespoke ancillary kits. It brings together the established know-how of WK Thomas with the Bunzl financial stability and corporate leverage.

New for 2022 is a certified compostable range made from a renewable high-heat pulp material which is suitable for freezing and high heat applications.

The innovative formula means this range is suitable for conventional and microwave ovens. It includes a casserole dish, salad dish and large tray.

Next-gen Frankenburg

Three generations came together on the Frankenburg stand as former managing directors Helga and Rudi Friedrich joined current managing directors Laura and Sebastian Schlaadt and their young daughter, making her debut at WTCE.

The German frozen catering specialist was commemorating 35 years in the inflight catering business and reports business building back strongly. The team has extended its range to include a new organic recipes for inflight meals and continues to focus on sustainable sourcing.

Avio Pack spotlights the backstory

Plastic injection manufacturer Avio Pack hoped to raise its profile as an airline partner for inflight catering equipment by showcasing its range of accreditations to buyers as they look to better understand the credentials of their entire supply chain.

The Chinese based business offers reassurance around quality through SEDEX and FDA accreditation, ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 status. Its range includes ovenable/rotable dishes, atlas trays and draws and cutlery.

Non-slip tray mats are also a part of the portfolio mix created using offset paper 60gsm or 80gsm, with a non skid coating. They can come with straight or rounded corners and customised with graphics in up to five colours.

The company also offers packing and assembly services for amenity kits and cutlery packs to other suppliers in the onboard hospitality sector.

Cuisine Solutions forms strategic alliance with LSG Group

Cuisine Solutions and the LSG Group have announced a new strategic partnership.

Cuisine Solutions is a global leader in the sous-vide cooking technique and the alliance will see the company and it’s education/innovation arm, CREA, provide support to the LSG Group in jointly developing new concepts for airline catering.

They will also explore opportunities to use the LSG Sky Chefs catering network for other food-commerce models to refine their catering model and future-proof the business in the longer term.

“The partnership with Cuisine Solutions will equip our existing LSG Sky Chefs locations with the manufacturing and service capabilities necessary to handle multiple food-commerce concepts, like convenience retail products for take-away options, buy-on-board concepts and home-delivery menus, while ensuring the highest standards of quality and safety,” said Erdmann Rauer, CEO of the LSG Group.

The alliance will be launched in three simultaneous stages: First, Cuisine Solutions will supply the LSG Sky Chefs facilities with a selection of core menu items globally. Second, the LSG Group will work closely with CREA to continuously educate its global culinary team on the latest developments and innovative approaches. Thirdly, the two companies will explore options to redesign the LSG Sky Chefs kitchens worldwide, transforming their operations into the catering facilities of the future.

Cuisine Solutions President and CEO Felipe Hasselmann commented of the strategic partnership: “Erdmann Rauer’s vision of the future of catering along with the LSG Group’s strong penetration on airlines and non-airline channels fits perfectly into our vision of supplying the highest quality, safer and innovative products consistently around the world. CREA, our sous-vide consulting arm, has had very successful results creating the future back of the kitchen for restaurants, hotels, stadium restaurants and ghost kitchens, and now we will do the same with catering in partnership with LSG.”

Sola reveals rebrand

Dutch cutlery specialist, Sola, returned to WTCE with a strong new brand identity and a determination to build on nearly 100 years of experience and innovation.

Operating since 1922, the business has been bringing its products to the tables of the world’s best hotels and restaurants, as well as to travel and retail sectors with a passion for style and quality which has become its established hallmark.

The team developed a dedicated airline and railway sector to meet the specific special requirements of these industries but now its rebrand tightens onboard links with the core business and aims to better reflect the combined strengths, stature and reputation of the company as a whole.

On show were the new unifying logo and brand image, backed by a relaunched website, all reflecting a renewed focus on standing out from the crowd and asserting established strengths in partnership with a contemporary enthusiasm for innovation.

Plant-based partner for LSG Group

LSG Group has upped its commitment to the development of plant-based menu options through an exclusive collaboration with fast-growing food-tech company, NotCo.

NotCo has evolved the first-of-its-kind, patented A.I. technology (named Giuseppe) that creates plant-based options that taste, feel, cook and function just like their animal-based counterparts.

Working with NotCo will allow LSG Group to add plant-based menus to its portfolio, using ingredients and components from NotCo.

“In terms of our sustainability approach, and in particular our Healthy Planet pillar, we have been looking for some time at ways in which we can contribute to animal welfare and offer our customers a real alternative to animal products,” explained Simon Frischemeier, Head of Sustainability Management at the LSG Group.

“Thanks to our new relationship with NotCo, we now have access to ingredients and specific know-how in the area of plant-based food, which we can now also pass on to our customers in the form of new food concepts.

”The idea behind NotCo is both simple and ingenious: NotCo’s Giuseppe, its proprietary artificial intelligence technology, in combination with its team of chefs and food scientists allow the company to create plant-based replacements faster, better and more accurately than anyone else in the industry. NotCo has already disrupted three main animal-based protein categories simultaneously – dairy, eggs and meat.

“We were amazed by NotCo’s expertise and the taste and texture of their products after our initial product tastings,” said Bill Gillen, Director of Culinary Excellence at the LSG  Group in the Americas region. “My team and I are excited to now develop this idea further and translate it into the airline and retail worlds.”

Surprises from SMiZE

Premium ice cream brand, founded by American TV personality Tyra Banks, had a constant stream of show visitors to its stand as delegates took the chance to sample the product.

Said to be the first of its kind ice-cream it offers a luxe-meets-fun dessert for airlines with a super-premium ice cream combined with an edible surprise in every cup and branded the SMiZE SURPRiZE.

Strategically located at the bottom of every serving, the SMiZE SURPRiZE cookie dough inside is the heart of the dessert designed to appeal to the kid in all of us. It is also said to symbolizes what the company stands for: ‘Empowering its community of goal-getters to help each other reach for their dreams via our SMiZE Cream Goalz & Dreamz Factory mentorship programme’.

Beemster thinks positively

Cheese specialist Beemster is adding a ‘paper mini’ to its range, a single serve cheese in paper wrapping.

The move reflects the companies on-going commitment to reducing plastics on packaging while maintaining food-grade protection to the product. It has been shelf testing a range of paper-based pack alternatives with the ambition to be climate positive by 2030.

Gispol focuses on the regional

Plastics manufacturer Gispol is pivoting its business with investment in new materials and machinery to produce inflight products from cardboard and other sustainable materials.

The company’s focus is on buying, producing and supplying locally within Europe using regional materials (from Norway), manufactured in Portugal and delivered to European airlines, so as to cut the international carbon footprint and long tail supply chains.

The company’s chinaware and blankets are also being locally sourced and this regional approach is identified as the way to be most sustainable.

New initiatives will include a biodegradable range using a wheat-based material bound with products approved under the EU SUP regulations, and a push towards closed loop solutions using product waste from other sectors it work with.

Non-slip topper from Intex

Intex Comfort Products aims to take inflight comfort to a new level of convenience with its seat mattress topper with non-slip backing.

The topper is offered without poly bags, in a fabric carrier, with elasticated straps that easily hook over the aircraft seat to hold it in place. The rubberised coating on the back-side of the product prevents it from sliding off the seat as the passenger moves.

The topper itself uses polyester fabrics quick and easy to wash well. When rolled the mattress can also work as a back support bolster.

Tom Savano launches on Virgin

Handcrafted cocktails company Tom Savano made its debut at the show as it announced its product have been selected for service on Virgin Atlantic.

The range has been built around quality craft spirits and travel-inspired tastes and aims to create a premium pre-mixed cocktail with minimal fuss.

Recipes include the Single Estate Reposado Margarita, Sydney Twilight Espresso Martini and English Garden Lychee Martini, and the aim is to tap into the trend for personalisation with bespoke cocktails inspired by the journey’s destination.

Tom Savano’s 100ml drinks are now available to Upper Class passengers on Virgin Atlantic’s A350 fleet flying between London Heathrow and Manchester to Orlando. Inspired by global destinations, the brand aims to encapsulates the essence of beautiful locations with quality, provenance and ingredients that tell a story.

Environmental hero

Wexiodisk and Diskomat were in celebratory mood marking 10 years at WTCE, 25 years under its current ownership and 50 years in washerware manufacturing.

To mark the moment the trolley and dishwashing specialist launched an anniversary deal on its Environmental Hero, trolley washer, showcasing its environmental credentials which mean it uses just two litres of water per trolley – the lowest in the industry.

The trolley washer is also lauded for its compact and robust design and a unique spin dry-spin technology that does not require any hot air fan for drying. The washer can take three full size trolley or a variety of trolley, bins and containers.  It is quiet and low in electrical and chemical consumption and ensures a high level of hygiene.

The deal remains available until the end of 2022. The companies also showcased their cart pillar lift , mobile cart lift and collapsible/fold flat flight catering trolley – all evolved to meet the changing needs of airlines and their catering kitchens.;