November 10 2020  |  Food & Beverage

F&B innovation station

By Jane Hobson

This is a special feature from PAX International's October 2020 digital edition.

Dilmah has partnered with Beverage Partners International to launch an iced tea range made from hand-picked, traditional loose tea leaves

While many things in the cabin are changing for the better, one thing is certain; passengers will never stop wanting delicious snacks and drinks in the cabin. Whether it is a gourmet cheeseboard, iced coffee or refilling a personal water bottle in the wellness zone, high-quality onboard snacks and drinks contribute to the overall passenger experience, and that is never going to change. In this feature, PAX International talks to snack and drink trend-setters to get the update on what tasty options are available now.

Digital innovation
Snackbox To-Go has used the COVID-19 downtime to launch an updated website, implement a social media strategy and focus on new product development, says Kees Verschuure, Sales Director for The Netherlands-based onboard snack supplier.

The updated website, which went live July 1, features images of the snack selection and the new blog component, with some pieces written by Jeroen Kosterman, owner of parent-company GJK Food Trading B.V. Snackbox To-Go is now actively sharing updates on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram to reach beyond Europe to as much of its worldwide customer base as possible.

Snackbox To-Go now supplies ambient breakfast options, such as granola and yogurt

“We wanted our customers to be able to have access to us and follow all interesting news we have to report. The blog gives our followers just the little extra – as we always [aim for with] all our customers,” Verschuure says.

The snack supplier is introducing fresh-to-frozen sandwiches, ambient breakfast options – such as granola and yogurt, but also cornflakes and milk – and a more diverse selection of ambient boxes that can be tailored to the changing needs of customers due to the pandemic.

“During the COVID period we ensured that our vast logistics network within Europe is complete – we can deliver to every airport in Europe,” Verschuure explains. “This can be a huge advantage for all airlines flying to and from Europe.”

Classic but fresh
During the pandemic, International Water-Guard (IWG) can help airlines build passenger confidence by guaranteeing clean water, without the use of chemicals. IWG has combined its UVL1 water disinfection component with the Passenger Water Dispenser (PWD) that filters sediments and eliminates any foul taste and odors. It kills common waterborne pathogens and biofilms before the water enters a passenger’s bottle, says David Pohl, Director Strategic Development at IWG.


Galleys and common areas around aircraft are prime places for the Personal Water Dispenser (PWD) which allows passenger to fill their own water bottles

The PWD is integrated into the aircraft water system and it is designed to be operated by the passenger seeking wellness and refreshment on long-haul flights. Without the need for crew or caterer involvement, fewer touchpoints and more distancing is possible cabin while simultaneously keeping passengers hydrated and better able to fend off sicknesses.

The PWD occasionally needs a filter cartridge replacement, once every three to four months. The UV-LED device needs replacing once every five to seven years depending on usage. The PWD will be TSO certified as a galley component. The PWD will be NSF61 Compliant and the UVL1 will be tested to NSF 55 Class A standard for UV disinfection.

Feeling snackish
Netherlands-based cheesemaker Beemster tells PAX International it has developed four new cheese platter concepts to help airlines satisfy cheese-loving passengers inflight during the pandemic.

The solutions include:

  • a plastic four-compartment, flow wrapped tray, with the option to add a self-adhesive airline branded label
  • a four-compartment tray with transparent plastic lid and branded banderole closure
  • a platter in an enclosed box with printed information about the cheeses for a more premium experience
  • a paper-based pouch that holds the platter. In the fourth concept, the cheese is not visible until the package is opened by the passenger but it uses less plastic

“All the concepts are based on ‘never touched before’ philosophy; less handling between caterer, crew and passenger. This creates confidence that is so important for airlines and their passengers right now,” says Patrick den Drijver, Sales Manager Airlines, Beemster.

Beemster is still delivering cheese to KLM and Delta Air lines started flying Beemster on flights out of Europe in 2020, den Drijver adds.

Le Must prestige condiment maker has added a line of single-serve artisan preserves and honey and a hazelnut spread to its offering. Imported directly from France and USDA Organic certified, the preserves are made true to authentic preserve recipe, with sugarcane and cooked quickly in copper cauldrons to retain the freshness of the fruit. The Chocolate Hazelnut spread is made by a master chocolatier in Paris and marks the first alternative to Nutella in a single-serve format, says Moshe Cohen, Le Must Managing Partner and Creator.

Ready to drink
Colombo-based Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company announced a partnership with Beverage Partners International (BPI) in mid-September to launch an iced tea range. The partnership is a timely move into the ready-to-drink segment.

“As awareness of the natural, antioxidant goodness in tea grows globally, especially with research suggesting that antioxidants in tea offer immune-protective benefits, there is a premiumization trend that is evolving from tea and herbs to ready-to-drink tea,” says Dilhan C. Fernando, Dilmah’s Chief Executive Officer. “The involvement with BPI combines their expertise and network in the ready-to-drink beverage segment and our core commitment to taste, natural goodness and ethical purpose.”


Dilhan C. Fernando, Chief Executive Officer, Dilmah Tea

The Iced Tea is made from hand-picked, traditional loose tea leaves. The natural sweetness combined with honey, cane sugar and stevia offer a low-calorie, chilled beverage, ideal for passengers looking for a refreshing beverage other than a juice. The single-serving containers offer convenience and a clean inflight beverage experience.

While the pandemic initially disrupted the growing, harvesting and manufacturing operations at Dilmah, Fernando says the situation has been remedied with social distancing and other safety measures that are in place. He says the biggest complication Dilmah faces is climate change, which he calls a “more complicated and longer story.”


La Colombe Draft Chocolate Milk marks the coffee roaster’s first non-caffeinated drink

Founded in Philadelphia, La Colombe Coffee Roasters has launched ready-to-drink canned beverages that are shelf-stable, low-touch and do not need to be chilled. The line includes Draft Latte, Oatmilk Draft, Brazilian Cold Brew and Draft Chocolate Milk. The drinks are available in dairy milk, plant milk and non-milk to cater to changing consumer expectations. The cans feature the Sip Through lid that mimics an in-cafe experience. The nitrous oxide infused milk and cold brew create a premium texture, complete with a layer of foam.

“All of our products originated in our cafes, which set our benchmark for quality taste and experience,” says Jacob Lake, Brand Manager, La Colombe.

Allegiant Air is serving five SKUs from La Colombe onboard; Vanilla Draft Latte, Doubleshot Draft Latte, Cold Brew Brazilian and the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Draft Latte and the Peppermint Mocha during the winter.

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