According to event organiser Reed Exhibitions, sustainability will be one of the key themes at this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE). Following discussions with many of the exhibitors at the event – taking place in Hamburg Messe from 8-10 April 2014 – it has become clear that visitors will be able to learn about a wide range of the latest initiatives and sustainable practices.
A major announcement for the travel catering and onboard services industry in 2013 was Virgin Atlantic’s partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), created in response to increasing consumer demand for sustainable dining that will see the airline’s entire global catering operation rated for its compliance.
During 2013, the SRA worked with Virgin Atlantic on an assessment of all of its global catering partners against a consistent set of wide-ranging sustainability criteria, and the two organisations are now collaborating on a set of minimum sustainability standards across the SRA’s three main pillars of sourcing, environment and society.
Mark Linehan, managing director of the SRA, commented, “We are very excited to be working with Virgin Atlantic and together we have now laid the foundations for sustainable in-flight catering across its global operation and, in doing so, we believe we have established the model which will help to set the standard for airlines around the world.”
The aim of the partnership is to provide passengers, whose dining choices are limited once onboard the aircraft, with confidence in the provenance of the food they are eating and how it was produced, just as they would in any restaurant that has completed the SRA’s Sustainability Rating.
Reuben Arnold, director of customer experience at Virgin Atlantic, added, “We continue to be an industry leading airline on sustainability, driving solutions for the rest of aviation to share. Our adventurous spirit means we’re not afraid to push boundaries in following our sustainability agenda, which is why we approached the SRA to work together on this project. Value for money and quality of product are of course hugely important factors, but our passengers now rightly demand that we look beyond that, and ensure we are making the most sustainable choices. The SRA ratings will allow us to understand how we and our global suppliers are performing on this front, and how to work closely together to drive improvements.”
At WTCE 2014, an international audience of over 1,000 visitors including more than 350 buyers and specifiers from 130 airlines and rail operators, will be able to meet with a wide range of exhibiting companies within the transport catering and onboard services sector. Key categories include beverages, food, food service equipment, hygiene, logistics, passenger comfort, packaging and transport.
Archana Sharma, WTCE event manager, said: “As the world’s largest travel catering event, there is no doubt that WTCE 2014 will again have its pulse on the latest industry issues such as sustainability, which as a result of Virgin Atlantic’s initiative, is a clear step change for both business and consumers alike. We’re delighted that visitors will be able to see for themselves a range of sustainable innovation on display, which will include new exhibitors who recognise the international reach and appeal of WTCE to showcase their own sustainable credentials.”
For further information please visit www.worldtravelcateringexpo.com or download www.worldtravelcateringexpo.com/app