Recently, while researching a yearly project to determine future menu trends for aviation clients, I was surprised to learn that the menu choices for 2012 were not changes in foods, but basically changes in the preparation of the same foods we are eating now.
Research indicates that consumers have definite expectations from their food sources around the world, and it is to every caterer’s benefit to make certain they stay on the cutting edge of change. The latest food trend around the world is all about eating healthy! This is enough to make me think twice since being a chef and a taster of everything I make doesn’t allow me to practice healthier eating as a way of life. I studied reams of research hoping to find that the trend was going to be chocolate covered everything, but to my dismay it was simply put-healthier eating and enabling the consumer to see how healthy the food is through nutritional labeling.
A recent survey was conducted in seven countries – The United States, United Kingdom, China, Germany, Russia, Brazil and Turkey of 3500 people who ate out more than once a week . You, the aviation world of passenger and flight crews eat at least one meal a week away from home. Your schedules make it almost impossible for you to have home prepared meals on an everyday basis. We, your aviation catering food source can be considered a take away food service establishment. After all, you don’t consume the food we prepare in our kitchens, but we deliver it to you to be eaten at some later time and place. So I am sharing this information as relevant to those of us serving the aviation community around the world.
Eating habits have changed dramatically over the past decades. With more and more aircraft available to our flying executives to get them in the least amount of time from point A to point B, there is more demand on your food sources to provide more and varied meals to you. But, do you get to make the same choices about what to eat; do you want to see the nutritional content of that food? Do you want healthier food served on board your aircraft? I say yes! Over five years ago, we at Tastefully Yours implemented a nutritional breakdown of meals served at the request of our clients. You were ahead of the population curve; you saw the need to eat healthier because of the passengers you carry in an effort to maintain better health for them and the flight crews. Your demanding schedule required it. You were in a position to request food prepared to your exacting specifications. Because we now eat so many meals prepared outside of our home kitchens, significant concern worldwide has been elicited worldwide regarding the nutritional impact of current eating habits and fears over the long term sustainability of the modern food industry.
Exactly what is it that consumers want when they eat away from home? They are demanding food that is healthy but still delicious. They want fresh meals, prepared with fresh ingredients. They want nutrition- based meals offered on menus. How many of your aviation food sources offer nutritional labeling on meals; are they able to plan and prepare special meals to meet all your dietary requirements – diets low in fat, diets with less prepared foods that contain preservatives and additives? Nutritional information will enable you to make smarter choices on the foods you eat and thus have a direct impact on your health. I decided it would be fun to compare a typical American breakfast continental which is ordered regularly for aircraft (bagel, muffin, fruit cup, yogurt, orange juice) and compare it to what we sell as a European breakfast ( sliced meat, sliced cheese, hard cooked egg, fruit, yogurt and bread) and were surprised with the difference. The American breakfast contained 1754 calories, 39 gr. Fat, and 38 gr. Protein where the European breakfast contained 750 calories, 18 gr. Fat, and 46 gr. Protein. So if given this information before ordering, which would you choose?
Do people really care about what is in their food when they travel or are away from home? In 2010, the world menu report published these figures.
Times are changing and people DO want to know what is in their food. You must ask for this information for your passengers and flight crews because it will not magically appear. There has to be a demand for it in the catering industry or rather than leading the world as you did for a change to healthier meals years ago, we will find that aviation is the one group left behind and not providing this valuable information. Who is the one responsible to make this change happen? It is the food industry. We are the ones with the ability to educate the passengers we are serving. The catering food service needs to work together with those ordering meals to provide the information to the passengers to enable them to make a healthier choice….on each and every flight. This is not just one country wanting this information, but, it is a global aspiration to live a healthier lifestyle. We are in search of more super food- based menu choices, more meals that take into consideration calories, fat, sugars, protein, additives, preservatives and allergens. Offering comprehensive nutritional information about the food our passengers and flight crews consume may help toward achieving this. In the western world people would also like to know more about salt content, while people in China demand more information about the vitamins and protein contained in their foods. According to the 2010 World Menu Report, “There appears to be a world-wide movement to reset the global table-and if it is accomplished, it will take a combination of “stealth health” (healthful changes in the kitchen) and transparency (allowing diners to take responsibility and interest in their own health) and ask for more information on what’s on the menu.” So, as you put together orders for flight crew meals, why not offer them a choice by including nutritional information?
According to an interviewee in Russia, “I would like to know the quality ingredients and calorie content of the dish if possible”, and a respondent in Brazil “I want to know the ingredients used to prepare the meals and the hygiene of the kitchen”. A China respondent said, “I want to know the source of the ingredients; are they organically sourced and are they safe to eat”. Do you see a trend in what people are now asking and wondering about here? Another respondent from Germany commented” I want to know the origin and nutritional content of the food- vitamins, calories, etc….”
Can you guess what the top three things people wanted to know when eating out?
- First they wanted to know the source of the food. Have you done your due diligence in vetting your food source?
- Second they wanted to know how it was prepared. Is the safety of the kitchen used to prepare the food meeting your Catering SMS requirements?
- Third they wanted to know the nutritional values of the food. Is there any request for menus from the food source that meet the concern of those we serve?
In the UK (75%), China (80%) and Brazil (63%) mentioned health in their answers to why nutritional information would influence their choices as seen on the chart.
For the full article:
What Are The Food Trends for 2012