Sustainability is a key trend in aviation, and the onboard hospitality industry is responding with new options for airlines to reduce carbon emissions, minimise food waste and replace single-use plastics with recyclable or biodegradable materials. This focus is reflected in the lineup for the online version of World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) – WTCE Virtual – running from 14-16 September – which will see onboard service suppliers showcase products and services designed to help airlines achieve their sustainability goals.
According to IATA, food waste is a prevalent environmental issue in the aviation industry, with more than 20% of cabin waste comprised of untouched food and drink, the majority of which is sent to landfill or incinerated.
Foodcase International, a Netherlands-based company exhibiting at WTCE Virtual, is helping carriers tackle this problem with its new range of ambient ready meals. No heating or defrosting is required when crew prepare these meals for serving, thus reducing energy consumption onboard – and maximising crew time. Even better, if a flight is cancelled, the ambient meals can be used on the next flight, reducing food wastage. The meals come in a variety of Western and Asian styles, developed in collaboration with local chefs across Europe and South East Asia.
Another exhibitor, Snackboxtogo, will be showing its range of premium onboard snacks in sustainable packaging, such as Rösti Snack, its carbon-neutral potato nibbles. The company also distributes cashews from Sunshine Nut Company, produced in Mozambique, where they are harvested, roasted and packed in airtight 30g bags by local people, meaning they are fresh and have a low carbon footprint.
Meanwhile PLAYin CHOC will be showing its range of chocolate products, which have scooped some 19 awards since the company launched in 2018. The brand’s packaging is 100% recyclable and plastic-free, while the ingredients are natural, organic and Soil Association certified. Furthermore, being vegan and free from 14 of the main allergens means they can be enjoyed by almost everyone.
Of course any disposable flatware must also be sustainable, and not single-use plastic. Wheat-Collection has developed cutlery made from compostable wheat and drinking straws made from upcycled agricultural wheat waste, a material which would otherwise be incinerated. The disposable items are an example of a circular economy as, after being used, they break down and can serve as a nutrient that helps new crops to grow.
A household name at the event is Heineken International, which will be showcasing its portfolio of beverages, including the new Pure Piraña hard seltzer, as well as beers and non-alcoholic beers. The environmental angle comes from the brewing giant’s ‘Brew a Better World’ 2030 sustainability agenda, whereby its production will become net zero through decarbonisation and maximising circularity.
Or how about a sustainable customer experience? SkyTender Solutions’ SkyBarista One and SkyBar Splash systems allow cabin crew to serve a range of coffees and cold carbonated drinks directly in front of passengers, from the cart. Waste is reduced thanks to the removal of packaging such as plastic bottles, cans and cartons.
Amenity kits are also a source of cabin waste, with many items being single-use and non-recyclable. However, they’re an important part of the passenger experience, particularly for premium airlines. Sustainable alternatives include Flyingbambu’s Wet&Clean toothbrush, made from 100% natural and biodegradable bamboo. The bristles, which are pre-coated with antibacterial toothpaste, are made from bio-plastic and the packaging is comprised of a recycled paper pouch and a recycled cardboard box.
Another eco-friendly exhibitor is The Bamboovement, which offers a range of natural and plastic-free personal care products. For some time, its eco-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste tablets have removed many kilos of plastic annually from flights. For 2021, the Bamboovement has developed the world’s first 100% plastic-free disposable razor and is launching it to airlines exclusively through WTCE. The razor is made out of a unique Biocomposite Pro formula comprised of waste products from the Scandinavian wood industry, while high-end steel blades provide an effective shave. The company also supports tree-planting projects around the world to offset emissions.
Joshua van den Hurk, founder of The Bamboovement, commented: “WTCE is the most notable event within the industry and so we’re excited to participate in 2021’s virtual edition. This year we have worked on multiple projects for different airlines, but we are looking forward to getting in touch with buyers seeking eco-friendly amenities, particularly as sustainability is becoming increasingly more important in decision-making.”
The event will even showcase sustainable shoes, with Sky Soles, an Australian aviation brand, showing crew footwear made from breathable and durable vegan leathers for increased durability – presented in recycled and recyclable packaging, naturally. As the travel industry begins its post-Covid recovery, Sky Soles has positioned its product offering with price-conscious businesses in mind by lowering its prices, which it says has resulted in a surge in demand for its shoes amongst cabin crew worldwide.
Polly Magraw, event director at Reed Exhibitions said of WTCE VIrtual stated: “With just a couple of weeks until the event, we’re excited to see how WTCE Virtual will reconnect the industry and enable visitors to discover the latest products and services in onboard hospitality. It’s also great to see that sustainability is becoming more of a focus. Airlines looking to go clean and green will no doubt be attracted to the innovations of our world-leading exhibitors.”
WTCE Virtual and AIX Virtual replace the in-person events, which will not take place in 2021 due to the ongoing challenges and global restrictions on international travel caused by the Covid-19 response. WTCE and AIX will return to Hamburg from 14-16 June 2022 at the Hamburg Messe. You can register for WTCE Virtual HERE.