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Health chic

Posted 12 September 2018 · Add Comment

The World Travel Catering Exhibition (WTCE) in Hamburg, Germany, was packed with companies offering snacks and drinks to airlines.

With airlines offering more cabin comfort than ever before, there is also an increased importance to health and well-being in the sky with healthier food, snacks and beverages being offered.
Earlier this year, Etihad Airways collaborated with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi to introduce ‘weqaya’, a range of healthy food items on board its flights and in its lounges in Abu Dhabi.
Weqaya, meaning ‘prevention’, is a programme established by the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi to encourage people to eat a healthy and balanced diet.
In April, the airline began to offer a number of weqaya dishes on menus in first and business-class long-haul and ultra-long-haul outbound flights from Abu Dhabi, as well as in first and business-class lounges at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Linda Celestino, vice president guest experience and delivery, said: “As the first airline in the region to achieve weqaya status, we are both honoured and excited to promote health and wellness, not just in Abu Dhabi, but also on board our flights, which is most certainly a passenger demand as we become more aware of health and well-being.”
At the WTCE in Hamburg in April, the halls were packed with catering companies all trying to tap into the aviation market with their healthier food options – and this included a lot of the snack products.
One such company is Snapz, which produces a range of dried fruit, vegetable and cheese snacks.
“We offer a range of dehydrated food that is a perfect and healthy alternative to, say, a packet of crisps,” said chief executive Bahram Ajodani. “We use only the best quality organic fruit, picked fresh, washed, sliced and, using our special technology, dried to create a delicious and crunchy snack full of nutrients and no artificial anything.”
The company’s ‘special technology’ is a vacuum dehydration method that allows moisture to leave the products at a low temperature to create a crunch.
“Our new cheese range also appeals to airlines wanting to offer a complimentary snack with wine in their first-class cabins. The long shelf life – two years for the fruit and vegetables and one year for the cheese – helps reduced waste and drive costs down,” said Ajodani.
Another company leaning away from snacks like fatty crisps and nuts is UK company, Olly’s Olives.
Olly Hiscocks came up with a vacuum-packed range of fresh olives, particularly with airlines in mind, two years ago.
“I am very passionate about olives and, after some research into the market, I realised the few olive products out there were committing olive treason by pasteurising them – a process which blasts the products at high temperatures and ruins their texture, taste and incredible nutritional value – and also using artificial preservatives,” said Hiscocks.
Having started out in his parents’ kitchen and moving on to a market stall, Olly’s Olives are now an award-winning product, packaged in the world’s first unpasteurised snack pouch with no artificial preservatives.
“All the packs use the finest Greek Halkidiki olives and are marinated using extra virgin olive oil,” said Hiscocks.
Flavours include chilli and rosemary, and garlic and basil.
The company is about to launch its olive pouches on Australian carrier Jetstar.
“Jetstar Airways liked the shelf life of 12 months, knowing it can serve them fresh in a pouch with just a nice light marinade offering less mess,” said Hiscocks.
“Not many people think of olives as healthy but did you know they can reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease by helping with memory, they show proven benefits with cancer, they are great for hair and skin, plus they’re tasty?”
Jordanian company, Mezete, already has its ambient long-storage life houmous options on its domestic airlines.
“The various flavoured houmous is offered in aseptic packaging and in a snack box with breadsticks,” said brand owner, Mai Abu Soud.
“Houmous is now popular all over the world and makes the best tasty, healthy, and filling on-board snack.”
The company will next add baba ganoush to its range.
Lots of healthy beverage companies were also at WTCE, driving home the message that not everyone likes to drink alcohol, and that we are certainly seeing the younger generation preferring to choose a healthier lifestyle but still wanting a ‘treat’ drink.
Among them was Be-Mocktails, which was actually being launched at the show by Dutch sisters Conchita Daniel, director, and Norita Daniel, manager.
“Our drinks range is vegan, natural, with no added sugar and all based on coconut water and superfood – making the drinks healthy and hydrating, as well as giving an energy boost,” said Norita Daniel.
The range includes: Be Grateful (coconut water, pineapple, graviola, and lemon), and Be Beautiful (coconut water, pomegranate, aronia and gooseberry).
Norita added that the drinks are perfect for airlines to serve on board.
“It’s simple really; alcohol is dehydrating generally but especially when you fly. These cocktails taste like a real alcoholic beverage but offer healthy clean flavours leaving you refreshed once at your destination.”
A new water brand called Angel Revive is now on the market claiming to rejuvenate the skin and combat dehydration, making it perfect for airlines.
The product, which is marketed in health shops as well as for the travel industry, is 8.2 on the alkaline scale (pure water has a perfectly neutral pH of 7).
“The history of Angel Revive is really interesting,” said David Sharp managing director of Blue Napkin, who was representing the brand at the show.
“It was sourced from a rediscovered 500-year-old natural spring two-and-a-half years ago in Lancashire in the UK. The water contains natural minerals and electrolytes – which are added artificially in many competitor drinks.”
For airlines, the company said it reduces jet-lag by combating tiredness and headaches, and can help with acid reflux.
“The water is also great for sports people as it helps with performance by reducing fatigue,” said Sharp. “In fact, the former Liverpool football legend and England captain, Steven Gerrard, is a major shareholder.”
Of course, alcohol is still popular on board many airlines, but brands are offering more than just beer, wine and spirits – cocktails made easy.
On the Rocks Premium Cocktails was created a little more than two years ago by former bartenders.
“We decided to revolutionise the kind of bar service offered in the air,” said Rocco Milano, co-founder and mixologist.
“We created a line of drinks that are preservative-free, all natural and authentic cocktails, but taking away the difficulty of the multistep process of pouring and making.”
Milano added: “Being a bartender, I knew what the cocktails are meant to taste of and even look like. We use fruit or vegetable juice as a colour, as opposed to artificial colours, and we only use cane sugar.
The US-based company has a range of six cocktails, including the Aviation Cocktail – a classic from 1915.
It mainly supplies to hotels and airlines, with the circular bottles provided designed to fit into cabin trolleys.
The company has been providing its Mai Tai cocktail to Hawaiian Airlines since January 2017, and it started supplying its Old Fashioned on United Airlines domestic routes in May this year.
“Cabin crew aren’t bar tenders and passenger expertise is on the rise. People pay high prices for flight tickets and expect more,” said Milano.
If you do have one of the cocktails – perhaps it would be wise to follow it with an orange tablet to hydrate.
Phizz combines a World Health Organisation-inspired rehydration formula and mix of essential vitamins and minerals.
“A typical aircraft cabin is drier than the Sahara Desert. Time at 30,000ft in such dry conditions can rapidly cause dehydration,” said the company’s Yasmin Badiani.
“Phizz helps you get more out of that little cup of in-flight water. It is designed to rehydrate you and replenish vitamins and minerals, to help your body combat associated symptoms of tiredness, fatigue and promote general well-being.”
The company already supplies Phizz to Emirates Airlines passengers in first class.
“Emirates has given us great feedback from passengers, cabin crew and pilots, who all benefit,” said Badiani.

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