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6 Sep, 2012

Innovations in Onboard Meal Menus Drives Global In-Flight Catering Services Market


San Jose, California (PRWEB) September 03, 2012 – As the competition heats up in the airline industry to attract and retain passengers, various airlines are devising innovative strategies that differentiate them from competitors and simultaneously allow them to operate at lower costs. In this direction, services provided in-flight remain pivotal in offering unique flight experiences, with passengers associating quality of catering services to a better flight experience.

Passengers’ attitude towards the airlines has changed drastically over the years as they are demanding more at a lesser cost. Appropriate menu design and lightweight packaging solutions offered by in-flight catering companies are not only assisting airlines in building a strong brand image but also allowing significant savings through recycling programs and weight reductions.

The global market for in-flight catering services is projected to rise at a moderate rate over the analysis period. Growth is expected to be moderated in value terms with increasing efforts of airlines to cut costs, which is increasing the penetration of buy-on-board practices. Going forward, the in-flight catering services industry is expected to explore innovative and diverse options, balance costs with quality, re-strategize business practices, improve client relationships, and largely work towards improving processes in the in-flight catering value chain in order to stay competitive.

The in-flight catering market operates in a constantly challenging operational environment, rife with complexities. The large number of take offs and landing at once, enhances the complexities in providing catering services to all aircraft, in time. These factors differentiate the in-flight catering from other sectors in the catering industry.

Major factors impacting in-flight catering include customers and their needs, menus, production methods, service style, shelf life of the produced food and finally, transportation. Transportation, which involves moving of packed meals from the production unit to the aircraft, uploading on to the aircraft and storing on-board, is one of the important ground handling functions. All the operational nuances demand constant and efficient management and control, putting pressure on manpower and resources. The time bound delivery deadlines of products also act as challenges for the caterers.

From a macroeconomic perspective, with the rise in the number of aircrafts in the global airline industry, the demand for in-flight catering services has also increased in the past few years. Being closely related to the growth in the number of passengers, the trends governing the growth in the airline industry also percolate to the in-flight catering market.

This also includes the opportunities and challenges facing the growth of the airline industry as a whole. The in-flight catering market is witnessing a sea change in the deliverables, from being a free service offering to a revenue generator. On-board, the cost cutting and revenue enhancement measures result in obvious changes to the service offering. The full course meals are gradually giving way to pre-packaged meals, utilizing disposable containers.

In the years ahead, an incremental decline is expected in the amount spent by airline caterers per passenger. Over the past few years, the aviation industry has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of no-frills or discount carriers that do not provide complementary meals to their customers. While the advent of low-cost airlines has assisted in boosting the overall traffic, they have also put some pressure on the in-flight catering services industry.

The financial recession that enveloped the entire global economy in 2009 had a major impact on the airline industry. There were lesser number of passengers, which were resulting in reductions and cancellation of flights. With reduced passenger confidence, consumption habits were severely affected, which led airlines to slash their costs and provide services at the same level of standards.

A majority of airlines incorporated options of purchasing food on board rather than providing a complimentary meal. Concurrently, airlines increasingly demanded low-cost solutions and discounted items. While the economic recession left the entire supply chain network bruised, gradual recovery has led the industry to emerge stronger and trimmer. Companies are now taking considerable efforts towards innovating their processes as well as products.

Moreover, the industry is witnessing significant partnerships between different stakeholders of the supply chain to offer the best services to airline carriers at a price that is acceptable to them. Caterers are now revising their marketing strategies to take a more realistic viewpoint of the budgets and plans in the current market.

The global in–flight catering market, taking a cue from the advances other areas, is increasingly adopting novel concepts from the production management arena to enhance the productivity of the systems and processes in catering. Lean manufacturing, quality systems, just-in–time manufacturing, IT management systems and inventory management systems are few of the tools that are increasingly witnessing acceptance across the global in-flight catering space.

With the increasing complexities of the in-flight catering market, such effective tools work towards making processes and systems more efficient. For example, with the use of new systems the caterers are able to plan inventory carefully, and as a result reduce losses, as the catering industry involves perishable food items.

Technological advancements is enabling caterers to expand the offerings onboard a flight, for example Air New Zealand is planning to introduce latest oven technology, first-of-its-kind, in its Australian routes that offers freshly cooked food instead of reheated food.

Meanwhile, leading global airlines are employing well-known wine experts and chefs on a regular basis, as a part of the marketing efforts. Airlines are increasingly outsourcing the various processes in the value chain of in-flight catering to third party caterers. The outsourced model, a popular practice in the developed markets, is also gradually percolating to the developing world.

As stated by the new market research report on In-Flight Catering Services, the US represents the largest regional market worldwide. However, future growth in the market is expected to emerge from emerging markets, with Asia-Pacific spearheading the growth. The region is projected to rise at a compounded annual rate of 4.2% during the analysis period.

The Middle East, Asian and the African Region have been witnessing an unprecedented rise in air traffic in the past few years. Despite the dismal performance of the airline industry globally, the region exhibited resilience and registered profits for the year 2010, especially in the Middle Eastern region. In the Asian and the Middle Eastern region, the traditional airlines are yet to bring about any changes to the in-flight catering services, despite the additional cost burden.

Major players in the global In-Flight Catering Services marketplace include dnata, Alpha Flight Group Limited, Emirates Flight Catering Co. LLC, Flying Food Group LLC, Gate Gourmet Switzerland GmbH, LSG Sky Chefs, Newrest Group International S.A.S, SATS Limited, TajSATS Air Catering Limited, and Servair SA, among others.

The research report titled “In-Flight Catering Services: A Global Strategic Business Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of market trends, issues, drivers, company profiles, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market estimates and projections in terms of annual revenues in US$ million for major geographic markets including the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific (China and Rest of Asia-Pacific), Middle East, Africa, and Latin America.

For more details about this report, visit –