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The top onboard trends you need to know about in 2018 and beyond

WTCE’s Taste of Travel returns, packed with trends and tips to drive revenue.

Onboard trends move notoriously fast in the twenty first century, meaning staying ahead of the curve is essential. Air and rail operators keen to get a head start on the foodie fads, product trends, latest innovations and onboard revenue boosters set to make waves in 2018 need look no further than the Taste of Travel Theatre hosted at this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE). 

Taking place at the Hamburg Messe from 10-12 April 2018, WTCE’s free-to-attend Taste of Travel programme will provide delegates with cutting-edge presentations from leading industry consultants, live demonstrations from top chefs currently working in the air and rail sector and new product launches aimed at inspiring attendees to take business-building learnings back to their companies.

One gastro trend that will be explored in detail through a number of sessions at the event is the concept of healthy food onboard. Master Chef Sturla Birgisson, ex-competitor and current judge of Bocuse d’Or who recently launched a new and ambitious menu for Icelandair’s Saga Class will touch on it in his session, The Nordic Kitchen, where he will demonstrate how to design a culinary experience that reflects an entire nation. Using Icelandic ingredients and organic products, he will showcase how it is possible to bring pure, fresh, simple and ethical food onboard.

Chef Valentina Harris will also get passionate about some of the world’s healthiest foods in her presentation The Powers of the Mediterranean Diet. The benefits of this diet are well-established and Valentina will use a selection of visually-appealing foods and ingredients – including extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, lemons, olives and fresh herbs – to describe how it is possible to feed the body and soul with food that is easily digestible, easy to eat as well as offering a certain degree of comfort, even at 39,000 feet. Also looking at healthier food onboard, celebrity Chef and CEO of the Posh Pasty Company James Strawbridge will demonstrate how superfoods can be used in the development of new products in the hot savoury sector for the onboard industry. Alongside the trend for healthier food, there is still room for some indulgence. Award-winning Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, Author and Presenter, Will Torrent will take the audience through sweet luxury onboard, with a range of decadent desserts that add occasion to travel.

Catering for Passengers’ Changing Lifestyles – Special Diets, Allergies and Nuts will be the subject of Chef (and head of food at Ugo Foods) Steve Walpole’s creative demonstration around using ‘on trend’ ingredients and techniques. The session will be moderated by Marc Warde, chef, coeliac and owner of London’s first gluten-free restaurant who also consults on the subject for the airline and hospitality sectors.

Lance Hayward of consultancy The Hayward Partnership, will ask his expert panel – comprising a nutrition consultant, clinical psycho-neuro-immunologist and a leading onboard food brand amongst others – to what extent airlines, rail and cruise operators should be responsible for providing healthy meals and whether passengers really want healthy eating on board? One panellist will be Dr Rupy Aujla, the National Health Service GP who started 'The Doctor's Kitchen' with big aspirations to bring the concept of 'Culinary Medicine' to the profession globally.

Also tying in with the health theme – and looking to the role it will play in the future of onboard dining – Ariane van Mancius of Now/New/Next will present a session entitled How do Millennials eat? Examining their core behaviour and interests, she will look at how Generation Y interacts with food, particularly local produce, the health angle and sustainability as well as the importance of food’s visual appeal for social media purposes.

This year’s Taste of Travel Theatre will also provide a comprehensive insight into the very latest trends taking the different onboard sectors by storm. Kicking off with rail, Jan Vales and Martin Janura of JLV, one of Europe’s oldest catering companies together with Morislav Kubec, President of the Association of Chefs of the Czech Republic and creator of seasonal menus for Czech Railways, will present the award-winning gastronomy offered to train passengers across Central Europe, complete with menu sampling using the Retigo combi oven, specifically modified for railway catering. This will be complemented by a session from Chef Jenny Greenhalgh, RG’s Executive Chef, who will reveal the secrets of James Martin’s All-Day Menu for Virgin East Coast.

In addition to rail-specific trends, Raymond Kollau will also give a session focused on airline trends, looking closely at the Top 10 Onboard Innovations from Around the World. The session will examine economy catering, rethinking galley spaces, innovative inflight ancillaries, connected crew as well as the latest brand collaborations, and will be unmissable for those suppliers looking to stand out as well as for onboard buyers who strive to generate revenue and provide the best possible service.

A host of business building tactics will also be shared, in sessions such as How to Build a Brand and get your Product Onboard. The presentation, led by Alan Hayes of Alpha LSG, Robin Padgett CEO of DNATA Catering and Sheelagh Mahoney of Portfolio Partners will cover brands and trends as well as how to cultivate a strong buyer/supplier relationship and ultimately, what it takes to get a product onboard.

In addition to tastings during the presentations, each day on the Taste of Travel theatre will feature a lunchtime Food Sampling and Networking session from 12:30-13:00. The final day of the event will also welcome a new addition to the programme – Chat With an Expert –  an opportunity to meet with a highly experienced team Onboard Hospitality mentors to gain free industry advice on ways to grow your business.

Within this fast-paced industry, it is essential that travel professionals stay ahead of the trends and Taste of Travel is designed to help them do just that. From the latest global onboard innovations to the food trends and cookery demonstrations from a string of renowned chefs, visitors will learn how the onboard industry can answer an increasingly complex list of passenger lifestyle challenges.

Returning to the Hamburg Messe, WTCE is one of four leading events in one destination, alongside the Passenger Experience Conference, Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and new to 2018, Passenger Technology Solutions. WTCE remains the number one event for buyers from the world’s international, charter and regional airlines and rail operators, as well as cruise and coach companies.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.