June 23 2020  |  Catering

LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand producing meals for supermarkets

By Jane Hobson

As airline caterers around the globe make adjustments during COVID-19, LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand is pivoting to find success through the pandemic. This month, the caterer tells PAX International that it is gaining lots of attention from its airline customers by highlighting its work with local supermarkets, including Foodstuffs chains New World and PAK’nSave.

The Foodstuff’s partnership includes six meals on offer; five meat options and one vegetarian option. The meals are prepared fresh daily at the LSG Sky Chefs facilities in South Auckland by the unit’s team of trained chefs. The classic meal range includes chicken Provencal with pasta and vegetables, pork cacciatore with polenta and vegetables, and mushroom, pumpkin and leek macaroni. The premium meal range includes Moroccan chicken with roasted pumpkin and apricot couscous, braised beef with rice and vegetables, and slow-cooked lamb shoulder and gravy with potato, pumpkin and peas. The meals were originally designed for people who are unable to leave their home or people who prefer to stay home to eat, and single-serving meals.

While LSG Sky Chefs provided supermarkets with products before the pandemic, the idea of supplying meals to those beyond its airline customers grew when the pandemic hit New Zealand, says Bilal Ozturk, Sales and Service Director at LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand and Pacific.

Ozturk says the caterer began reaching out to anyone who may benefit from its food supply capabilities. It contacted hospitals to see what its people and patients needed; it contacted Auckland Mayor Phil Goff to offer meals to the emergency management team; it contacted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to let her know to be in touch if it can help in anyway; it tried cruise lines at standstills in nearby ports.

“We want to come out of this, to climb up and have some air, so this is necessary to be successful,” Ozturk tells PAX.

And it seems that the hard work has been worth it, Ozturk says, adding that the news of the partnership with Foodstuffs garnered lots of attention from different news outlets and agencies, as well as its airline customers.

“One day when I was listening to the radio, I heard our name and a story about ‘the airline caterer in Auckland that did a fantastic job innovating and supplying to supermarkets,’” Ozturk says. “So many e-mails from our customers. They see that we are rolling with this and implementing something out here.”

Ozturk says he’s confident that when the skies open again for regular air travel, these customers will be as eager as ever to work with LSG Sky Chefs New Zealand.

Now, the caterer is working with branding agencies and updating its packaging, looking for different materials to use.

“It brings us a new challenge,” Ozturk says.

The caterer supplied meals to gas stations before COVID-19 and has plans to expand this offering with ready-to-eat meals when gas stations open again. There are also some other ongoing “serious” projects that can’t be revealed yet, Ozturk says.

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