May 25 2021  |  Partnerships, Collaborations & Acquisitions

The Concept and Etihad Airways team up to reduce inflight food waste

By Jane Hobson

The Concept, a UAE-based product development and design company that develops sustainable solutions using a combination of hardware and technology innovation, and part of the Hub71 community, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Etihad Airways to research and develop sustainable inflight technology to monitor food consumption. This is in line with the Etihad's sustainability efforts and the drive for food waste reduction onboard.

The Concept founders (from left to right): Yadhushan Mahendran, Maria Sobh and Muhammad Rijal

As part of the partnership, Etihad will provide industry expertise and access to its catering facilities and flights to support The Concept with the development of the NEOS Fly+, an inflight smart tray. The NEOS Fly+ is the world’s first IoT-based (Internet of Things) inflight technology for trays.

“We look forward to this innovative partnership with Etihad Airways that will enable us to develop NEOS Fly+ locally in the UAE and is yet another testimony to how companies in the UAE are aligned together towards creating a sustainable impact globally," said Yadhushan Mahendran, Chief Executive Officer at The Concept.

The NEOS Fly+ IoT-based tray

The aim is to use the data to find a solution to reduce industry-wide food wastage, which cost an estimated USD 3.9 million per year globally, according to the press release from The Concept. The technology will be developed to act as a data collection hub for airlines. The data will show passengers’ food consumption behavior which will help the airline to understand food preferences and how it may be possible to reduce food waste.

NEOS Fly+ will allow Etihad to track consumption of food items served on board its flights with detailed information around components and portions of the meal that are not consumed. The anonymized data will be used to highlight food consumption and wastage patterns across the network, and will help to reduce food waste, improve meal planning and reduce operating costs.

The NEOS Fly+ tray is made from sustainable materials including PET bottles previously used onboard

“This research and development partnership reinforces Etihad’s commitment to sustainability and our reputation for innovation," said Frank Meyer, Chief Digital Officer, Etihad Airways Group. "We look forward to working with The Concept on the development of the NEOS Fly+ which could support our efforts to reduce food wastage. We are proud to partner with a homegrown, locally based start-up, to push the sustainability agenda forward.”

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