May 1 2024  |  Events

Guest Column: A nudge toward including nutritious foods onboard

By Melissa Adamski APD BSc MND, WTCE Ambassador — Travel Nutrition

WTCE Ambassador – Travel Nutrition, Melissa Adamski APD BSc MND

Not long now until the World Travel Catering and Onboard Service Expo (WTCE) and it is getting to the exciting part for me – looking at the foods and drinks on offer from the exhibitors. As a dietitian and nutritionist, I LOVE food, and I love nothing more than exploring new foods, especially for travel. So, when I hit the expo floor at WTCE 2024 in Hamburg, here are a few products and exhibitors I am looking forward to viewing in more detail. These products have caught my eye in regards to their nutrition innovation potential for the travel industry.

(While special meals for dietary requirements do fall under my scope of practice as a travel dietitian, I have not featured exhibitors specifically in regards to special diets/meals as my fellow WTCE ambassador, Julianne Ponan, has written a fantastic article outlining the products and exhibitors that have stood out for her in her role as WTCE Ambassador for special diets.)

Let’s take a look at the exhibitors that, as a travel dietitian, I am excited to view.

Mix Buffet at stand 4C59 has a range of salads that not only look delicious but also balanced meals. Using a variety of ingredients to create colourful salads, I am looking forward to learning more about their salad concepts. Salads can be delicious, nutritious and satisfying meals for travel when crafted carefully. What caught my eye was the opportunity to choose from a range of nutritious ingredients which included higher fibre grains/carbohydrates, a range of protein sources and vegetables in a selection of tasty flavours. I think this is what I am most excited about – vegetables with flavour!

It is great to see innovation in snacks that extends beyond traditional nuts and crisps. 4700BC (at stand 1F50) and Love Corn (at stand 1G81) are showcasing a range of innovative corn snacks including crispy whole corn kernel snacks in a range of flavours. I was also delighted to see a fresh corn snack on offer from Love Corn – this is different, and I love the innovation.

At stand 1A84 you will find Cocohagen serving up a range of plant-based truffles, based on dates and cocoa. Cocohagen describes its truffles as being made with no added sugar, no additives and no preservatives. These certainly sound decadent for those looking for a sweet snack.

Koppert Cress provides innovative products to help boost flavour – and I would also suggest boost nutrition too. Many working in the airline industry are familiar with the effect that flying can have on how we taste food, and so strategies for boosting flavour are essential. The concept of using freshly sprouted seedlings (cresses) and other edible leaves and flowers to add flavour to dishes is fantastic and I am looking forward to exploring their range. Microgreens and sprouts can be rich sources of nutrients, adding not only flavour to a dish, but giving it a nutritious boost.

You will find Nordic Breakfast at stand 1E113 offering breakfasts inspired by the Nordic diet, with a focus on using a range of Nordic berries from Finland. Berries are generally a fantastic source of antioxidants and other bioactives (that’s what gives them their amazing colours) and so having an opportunity to increase the variety of berries in our diets is great. The porridge is also made with oats, sweetened with xylitol and designed to be eaten hot and on-the-go. I look forward to learning about the nutrition content of this interesting concept.

Poshi, located at 1E110, is on my list to stop by and check out. Their range of vegetable snacks is an interesting concept with green beans, cauliflower florets and asparagus among their offerings. These wholefood snacks are steamed and marinated. With the recommendation that vegetables should be a main part of each of our meals each day, this is especially true while travelling. If these are as delicious as they look, then what a fantastic snack to provide more vitamins, bioactives and fibres to help make healthy, nutritious eating when travelling easier.

The carefully curated cheese selection by En Route International (stand 1F30) and artisan cheese makers has caught my eye. As has Beemster Cheese Cono Kaasmakers at stand ID41, with their cheese made by traditional methods and with a focus on sustainable meadows. Cheese can be a convenient, nutritious snack, but there is a large spectrum of cheeses available — some being overly processed. This is why I would like to learn more about the cheeses available at these stands and how they are made – and of course perhaps a cheeky tasting!

And remember this list is just the beginning. Make sure you spend time exploring the exhibitors and their products - I know I certainly will be. I can’t wait to chat with caterers, suppliers and the airlines/railways to learn more about the nutrition aspects of products and discuss how best to position these products onboard to meet passenger expectations and also use their fabulous properties to help people feel their best while travelling. 

 I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this article.

About Melissa 

Melissa is a Dietitian and Nutritionist, specializing in the area of travel food, nutrition and diet. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science (Food Science and Nutrition), Master of Nutrition and Dietetics, is a PhD candidate, and has over 10 years’ experience working as a dietitian – advising both businesses and patients. Melissa is the founder of Nutted Out Nutrition, a specialist nutrition business supporting both travellers and the travel industry through expert food and nutrition expertise.

Her first article as WTCE Ambassador for Travel Nutrition explored the reality of nudging onboard offerings to be more nutritious, now it is time to check out some of her top exhibitor picks to explore at WTCE 2024.

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