WTCE set to wow visitors this year, organizers say
World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) is returning to the Hamburg Messe from June 6 to 8 2023, providing a unique opportunity for brands from across the inflight catering, onboard services and passenger comfort industries to meet with buyers from the world’s leading airlines and rail companies.
Recently, the conversation in the industry has shifted to focus on growth. Passenger demand is rising in the leisure travel sector with international markets reporting an increase in air travel in January 2023, compared with the same period in 2022, according to IATA.
While there are still many uncertainties, particularly in business travel, there are also huge opportunities for both long and short-haul operators, and WTCE will bring the global industry together to share insights and showcase the innovations that will shape the future of the passenger experience.
Now in its 11th year, WTCE is recognized as one of the leading global events for the onboard industry and is well-known for being the place to collaborate with the right people and develop meaningful connections for a stronger and more sustainable onboard passenger experience.
Building on the success of last year’s event and the continued regrowth of the travel industry, the 2023 edition of WTCE is expected to welcome more visitors and exhibitors in June. Organizers are expecting over 5,000 attendees — including more than 750 onboard buyers from global, regional and low-cost airlines, rail companies and travel caterers — who will be looking for inspiration from the 300+ exhibitors demonstrating their innovative products on the show floor.
Visitors will be treated to a first look at the most exciting new food and beverage, passenger comfort and onboard service products to hit the onboard market, as well as those developed specifically to help airlines achieve their sustainability targets. With a growing number of passengers looking for ways to improve their health and wellness onboard, there will be plenty of new ranges for airlines and rail operators to explore at this year’s event.
Key themes for the 2023 event include “wellness onboard”, “creating memorable experiences” and, of course, “sustainability”, with all topics set to be addressed at the Taste of Travel Theatre sessions on the show floor.
New exhibitors bring the wow factor
The show floor will feature more than 300 suppliers of onboard products and services, including 50+ companies that will make their WTCE debut this year. These include smoothie pioneers, innocent Drinks, who have been creating their products out of fruit, veg and ‘anything else nature has going spare’ since 1999 and Crunch Cereals Private Limited with its Elevate range of granola which comes in a variety of different flavours including Apple & Cinnamon, Almond & Seeds and Cocoa & Almonds.
The event will also welcome Cornish Clotted Cream producers Roddas, Doves Farm, the UK’s number one organic flour brand, gluten-free bakery Skinny Genie and frozen and fresh special meals provider Air Chef Inc along with a host of companies offering new drinks concepts. These include &Stirred Cocktail Mix with its premixed cocktails that are served in airline-friendly packaging and Lockdown Liquor & Co. with its award-winning premium blended cocktails crafted by expert mixologists.
WTCE will also welcome back a number of suppliers that have exhibited at every event to date, including Monty’s Bakehouse, the food solutions business on a mission to make on-the-move food a memorable experience, Sola Switzerland, a specialist in fine dining ware, Linstol with its range of amenity kits, comfort products, headsets and more, and Formia, which focuses on amenity kits for luxury travel, lifestyle and wellbeing.
Speaking about the role WTCE has played in the company’s growth in the onboard services sector, a Formia spokesperson said, “WTCE is an invaluable platform for FORMIA as a global company to connect with our airline customers and industry colleagues from across the regions, and to expand our network and develop new relationships. In our eyes, the event provides the perfect opportunity to bring a company’s purpose to life, and inspire and delight passengers with meaningful, valuable and conscious creations.”
Food and drink inspiration
For those looking to explore the freshest food and drink trends, visitors can expect to find more than 100 exhibitors dedicated to showcasing their latest food and drink products in line with passenger trends. These include confectionery products such as Lily O’Brien’s award-winning chocolates and desserts, plus the return of PLAYin CHOC with its natural, organic, allergen-free and vegan chocolate that’s also proudly plastic-free, zero waste and 100 percent recyclable. Freeze-dried snack producer 5th Season Fruit BV and new exhibitor Novepan with its unique frozen bread products complete with a sustainable onboard packaging solution will also be showcasing their products at this year’s event.
Visitors will not be short of food and drink companies to explore on the show floor, from snack brands to complete meal solutions. Foodcase International BV and the host brands in its portfolio of food categories, from special meals to sustainably packaged options, will be on-hand to highlight its selection of pre-prepared meals and sandwiches. In addition, caterers such as sous-vide specialist Cuisine Solutions, Asian cuisine specialist SATS Catering, dnata, a market leader in inflight catering and LSG, one of the world’s leading airline catering, train catering and hospitality service providers will also be showcasing their products on stand at the event.
Special dietary requirements
Furthermore, a host of companies that specialize in catering for special diets will be on-hand to show visitors how they can meet and exceed passengers’ expectations for great tasting “free-from” food. Europe and the US are currently leading the free-from market, with Europe alone forecast to grow its overall free-from market by 8.7 percent during the period 2020-2025. The European vegan market has grown exponentially too — with an EU-funded project reporting a 49 percent growth in Europeans’ consumption of plant-based foods between 2018 and 2020, making it a real focus for airlines if they are going to continue to meet passenger expectations.
Visitors will be able to discuss the latest free-from trends with Tops Foods NV, which will introduce its new hot meal range that offers a variety of vegan, lactose and gluten-free recipes using the company’s unique microwave technology to serve meals without the need for boiling water to process the food. Elsewhere, Foodpartners France will highlight its range of ambient and frozen special meals while Frankenberg GmbH will be back at WTCE to showcase its sustainable and environmentally sympathetic culinary creations, with options to suit a variety of special diets.
Furthermore, producers specializing in halal and kosher meals will also be at the show to guide visitors on how to cater to these sectors. Kragtwijk Finest Food is one such company with over 20 years of experience producing premium quality kosher meals suitable for Economy and First Class menus. They will be joined by the Islamic Chamber Halal Certification (ICHCS) which will show airlines and suppliers how they can help promote them within the Muslim world and assist in finding trading partners and new markets.
Beyond food and beverages
Visitors can also view a large selection of products from a broader range of categories, including packaging, passenger comfort and well-being, food service equipment, hygiene, onboard technology and logistics.
Hello Straw will bring its biodegradable paper straws that can last in liquid for at least 12 hours, while Kaelis will introduce visitors to the newest products in its extensive range of products and services, from galley equipment and tableware to kids' activity packs and headsets. Producer of high-quality bedding, Paradies, will showcase its products designed to deliver ultimate relaxation and restful sleep onboard, and Buzz Products will invite visitors to explore its luxury amenity kits, skincare and sleeper suits that have style and sustainability at their core. Furthermore, for visitors looking for cost-effective or high-end galley equipment, Korita Aviation and Egret Aviation will offer attendees the opportunity to experience their latest innovations firsthand. There will also be exhibitors on the show floor specializing in in-flight logistics, including LimeFlight with its fully integrated end-to-end solution that helps airlines streamline their inflight logistics operations effortlessly.
Commenting on WTCE from an airline buyer perspective, Abdulrahim Aljneibi, Procurement Manager of Etihad Airways said, “I come to WTCE to meet up with suppliers face-to-face and expand our portfolio and build up relationships. We want to discuss and see how the new market is growing. I really enjoy the environment, and everything is really organized.”
New for 2023, WTCE will introduce its “Wellbeing Walk-Through”, a feature not to be missed for buyers interested in food, drink, beauty and amenity kit products that can improve a passenger’s well-being while travelling.
Speaking about the new Wellbeing Walk Through, WTCE Event Director, Polly Magraw, commented, “Mental and physical wellbeing have become extremely important to passengers, and airlines are increasingly looking for innovations that can really enhance the onboard experience. We have some exciting exhibitors that cater to this growing trend, from companies offering jet lag solutions, to functional food and drink; there really will be so much on offer for our visitors to discover in the wellness space at this year’s event.”
The Passenger Experience Conference
For those looking for a broad perspective on the future cabin experience in the aviation industry, the return of the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) presents the opportunity to join speaker sessions on the hottest topics of the moment. Taking place on Monday, June 5th at the state-of-the-art Congress Centre Hamburg (CCH), there will be several sessions that are aimed specifically at WTCE attendees.
The one-day event will give visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the latest insights, ideas and analyses from the people and companies that are driving the evolution of the onboard sector. Visitors can look forward to sessions such as “A Vision of The Multi-Modal Future”, “Succeeding In The Green Revolution” and “Delivering For The New Generation Passenger”. As well as the PEC program offering so much for WTCE visitors to look forward to, they can also benefit from early bird ticket prices up until May 19.
Personalize your visit
Last year saw the launch of WTCE Connect, an online show planning platform that enables visitors and exhibitors to make the most of their time at the event and easily discover new highly relevant contacts and arrange their meetings schedule prior to arriving in Hamburg.
Following its success, WTCE Connect will once again be available to attendees, enabling them to develop new relationships, meet the right people and find the products most suited to their needs. Attendees will need to pre-register for the event to gain access to the platform — simply by filling in the registration questionnaire — and the tool will match their responses to relevant products, services and exhibitors.
All visitors and exhibitors will also be invited to the free-to-attend WTCE Drinks Reception — sponsored by Heineken — which will take place on Wednesday, June 7th and will once again present the perfect opportunity for individuals to network with other attendees and discuss opportunities to increase passenger satisfaction and revenue onboard in a more relaxed atmosphere.
WTCE Event Director, Polly Magraw, said, “We’re looking forward to building on the success of last year’s show, with an even better event, packed with exciting product launches and inspiring educational sessions. We’re already expecting more exhibitors and visitors than last year, and we’re looking forward to welcoming new and familiar faces to Hamburg in June. It has been encouraging to see how far the industry has come since the pandemic hit and I’m positive that the event will yet again provide a source of inspiration for everyone involved.”
Co-located with the industry-renowned Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), WTCE will be found in Halls A1 and A4 of Hamburg Messe. Together, the events will provide passenger experience professionals with a unique opportunity to identify new products and solutions throughout the cabin.
For further information or to register for the event, click here.