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Redefining In-Flight Catering

A Look Back at 2015 In-Flight Catering Trends

Red Snapper - Inflight Catering

2015 is coming to an end shortly and this year in business aviation catering has seen many changes to what our passengers are requesting. We all know that our passengers are going to order anything that their hearts desire and we as a flight crew our job is to get those items by either ordering catering, shopping, or from a restaurant. This year has been no exception to seeing more new trends of what our passengers’ expectations are for us.

Catering trends this year have been a variety of items, from more lean proteins to organic and healthier options.

  1. Gluten-Free – Even though only about 1% of the population has celiac disease, gluten-free meals have had a 30% increase over previous years in what passengers are ordering. The combination of improved quality and variety of gluten-free products with better-trained chefs on gluten-free ingredients has taken these meals to new heights and flavors.
  2. Ancient Grains – From khorasan, faro, quinoa, to chia these ancient grains are popping up on more menus, on more local supermarket shelves, and are being incorporated into more products throughout the world. The ancient grains offer great health benefits lacking in durum wheat, as well as keeping the trend of gluten-free alternatives for our passengers.
  3. Charcuterie – This is not, new but this year we have seen this grow throughout the United States, and it is not just the staples anymore. Now caterers and restaurants are putting duck prosciutto, beef heart pastrami, house-made salami and other exotic cured meats on their menus.
  4. From the Orient – More and more dishes being ordered have an Asian twist on them. More Asian flavor noodle bowls and rice bowls are becoming more popular in the air. These heart-warming dishes give our passengers more flavors at altitude while relaxing them on their flight.
  5. Non-Alcoholic Beverages – Yes, no alcohol! These drinks are the trend of our passengers who enjoy amazing flavors as they eat healthier. These artful drinks are made of exotic fruit and blends that can satisfy your passengers’ thirst.
  6. Vegetarian Main Course – Alright meat lovers, don’t knock it until you try it! Caterers and restaurants know there has been a surge of people turning to health-conscious dining options, and they are getting bored with the regular seared and sauteed items that are on most menus. Chefs have been busy experimenting with vegetables as the main dish, like corn spaghetti in black truffle sauce or lasagna with tapioca cheese and roasted eggplant. Before ordering a steak next time, try the vegetarian entree; you will likely be surprised and completely full!
  7. Chicken – Yes, we have all it, from chicken masala to chicken Parmesan. Our chefs are offering our clients better choices than mainstream dishes. Our passengers are now more health-conscious and crave new, bright flavors like sous-vide chicken.
  8. Tasting Desserts – Say goodbye to the big slice of chocolate cake. This year we have seen more refined, smaller desserts that we call “tasters.” This experience gives passengers a unique blend of healthier, more robust flavors of desserts.
  9. Beets – From their leaves to their roots, these plants are taking aviation by storm. Beets are great for our passengers with the abundant vitamins and minerals they contain. Beets make amazing salads, sauces and side components to main dishes.
  10. Fish – Grilled, broiled and pan-seared have all been popular this year in aviation catering. Fish gives our passengers a great healthy choice with flavors from Asian to Mediterranean dishes. Most fish is forgiving when it comes to reheating, and passengers now are looking for alternatives to red meat.

Next time your passengers are looking for some catering ideas for their flight, ask your local caterer about new trends in your location of departure. This will allow you to offer your passengers something unique and tasty.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this article or about in-flight catering, contact me at johndetloff@airculinaire.com.

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