Snacks report: Mindful munchies
This is a special feature from PAX International's April World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Hamburg 2020 edition.
With new health findings emerging seemingly on a daily basis, travelers are becoming more aware of the effects of their voyage on both their own bodies and the environment. As a result, passengers have new requests when it comes to inflight catering, from food restrictions and health-conscious items to sustainable packaging. PAX International caught up with a few suppliers to get the latest on inflight snacking that decreases footprint but delights passengers’ palates on both short- and long-haul flights.
Baked buys now on board
Monty’s Bakehouse moved into the buy-on-board sector in 2019, offering a wide range of heat-in-pack and chilled snacks, as well as entered into supplying sustainably packaged handheld meals. It also participated in forming the Airline Sustainability Forum with other suppliers.
“Our UK-based Innovation Centre has developed a proprietary innovation design framework and the team are market leaders in human-centric, insight-driven product and packaging innovation,” says Bridget Paice, Head of Key Accounts at Monty’s Bakehouse. “The Innovation Centre has been open for 18 months and is already winning awards for its work,” she says.
In the year ahead, Monty’s Bakehouse plans to launch a range of filled bread products, including a cheeseburger-style filled bagel, as well as hot dog bread stick and sustainable, recyclable, plastic-free meal pots.
On trend with the popular request for differing dietary options inflight, Snackbox To-Go will launch a range of vegan snacks during WTCE expo, the company tells PAX. “The demand for vegan products and special meals is still increasing and we would like meet these demands for our customers,” says Kees Verschuure, Sales Director for Snackbox To-Go.
2019 saw the opening of the supplier’s innovation center in Roosendaal, Holland. The center serves as a product development, presentation and test facility. It is equipped with an airline oven for the company to work directly with customers on new snack products. Snackbox To-Go also recently revealed a new production hall, with the ability to pack frozen products in ovenable boxes.
Along with its boxes with chicken and fries, fish and chips, pizza, and fries, the company’s product range recently extended to puff pastry snacks, calzones, burritos and other meal boxes. It also supplies a selection of ambient products such as muffins, cakes, granola and yogurt and snack boxes with cakes and drinks.
Sharing is caring
Lily O’Brien’s introduced its premium Share Bag range in 2019 which led to contracts in Australia, Canada, Russia, Japan and Poland in both retail and travel. On the heels of this success, the company is now focusing on its eco-friendly dessert pots, which will be showcased in Hamburg.
“Our new eco-friendly dessert pots are exclusive to the travel industry, produced using only PEFC approved board,” says James Duff, Account Manager of Foodservice at Lily O’Brien’s. The chocolatier will also showcase its certified UTZ/Rainforest Alliance chocolate options for all of its dessert offerings, and later this year, will launch a completely recyclable dessert pot.
Bringing in the essentials
Group SOI’s latest snack offerings includes a pizza that comes in four flavors, Margherita, Mushroom, Four Cheese and Super Vegetarian, and can be served in just 10 minutes, as well as Fusion dressing and extra virgin olive oil dressing called DipIN Oil for vegetables and cold appetizers. The suppler is also offering a new dessert - cheesecake made with organize saffron from its company-owned farms.
Dutch cheesemaker Beemster is focusing on creating high quality cheese snacks, including hot snacks, to meet dietary restrictions inflight. “Beemster is noticing more and more vegetarian food trends within the offer onboard,” Sales Manager Patrick den Drijver tells PAX. “Cheese is an excellent product for this as it is vegetarian and has multiple uses.”
Last year, Beemster won a Mercury Award for its Beemster Bun, launched the Beemster Bretzel together with Qizini on Delta Air Lines and catered outbound stations for KLM in Japan, South Africa and the Dutch Antilles. The company also started a partnership with Gate Gourmet in Amsterdam and renewed its contract with KLM.
Airline hot snack and food producer AAB-inflight, previously AA Bakeries International, is looking at the combination of food packaging and logistics as the most important trend for healthy products.
“The heatable boxes we’ve been using for the last eight years are without any plastics - this was a hot topic the last year,” says Sales Director Patrick Berkers. “There’s a lot of new development within the hot snacks range. New fillings and looks for our hot snacks from South America style to Middle Eastern flavors.”
The company develops and produces a range of hot snacks such as quiche pies, laminated hand held snacks and pizza-style snack in heatable paper foil and carton boxes.
En Route International is looking to the landscape for snacking inspo, with more “experiential snacks” that incorporate regional offerings and touch on diverse geographies, Hamish Cook tells PAX. En Route’s Tiny Teacup snack box takes a note from the tradition of English afternoon tea and the hot chicken parmigiana sandwich offers a classic Australian pub experience onboard.
“In particular, we are seeing demand for snacks that cover a range of dietary requirements such as vegan, gluten-free as well as traditional halal and Asian vegetarian options,” he continues.
Cook says that company also sees emphasis on demands for packaging that it as environmentally friendly as possible, including requests for reduced single-use plastics and alternative biodegradable products couples with sustainable sourced material and food items. En Route produces breakfast items, snacks, conceptual single- and multi-format boxes and individual hot and cold foods.