Innovative beverages are the most in-demand category among air, rail and cruise buyers, with two in five seeking alcoholic and non-alcoholic products for consumption onboard.
A shift in consumption habits is driving the beverage category forward into 2020 and beyond, with health and wellbeing, premiumisation and sustainability all key considerations for the modern-day consumer. With variation in out-of-home and retail outlets, passengers are now expecting airline and rail companies to follow suit.
This explains why two in five visitors to World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo 2019 (WTCE) were seeking out new alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage products for their passengers. In addition, as the trend continues to grow, the industry’s leading onboard beverage suppliers will showcase their newest and most innovative products at the Hamburg Messe from 31 March – 2 April, to airline and rail operators looking to enhance their beverage offering and improve the overall passenger experience.
Low and no set to grow
A surge in the popularity of healthier and higher-quality products is fuelling demand for low and no alcohol alternatives across the beverage industry. Consumers are becoming more health-conscious, and as such, are willing to experiment with better-for-you alternatives.
This trend has already been recognised by a number of major airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, which introduced the world’s first no and low onboard alcohol cocktail menu for its economy, premium and upper-class passengers earlier this year.
Proving to be a hotbed of innovation year-after-year, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo will be hosting onboard providers of low and no alcohol alternatives such as Longbottom & Co., which will be bringing their vegan and gluten free Virgin Mary, a modern classic that packs a punch, available in 150ml and 250ml cans. Operators looking to offer such alternatives to a growing number of passengers who are more mindful about alcohol consumption will have the opportunity to do so at WTCE.
Alcohol sales stay strong
Despite the growth of low and no alternatives, alcohol remains an essential category onboard and significantly contributes to total revenue for many airlines. Research within the sector shows consumers are willing to pay a higher price tag for that premium product, and as a result, operators are managing their product portfolios accordingly.
This is evident from British Airways’ 2019 activity, which included three new drink options for its World Traveller Plus passengers: Gin Fizz (alcoholic; gin, orange juice and sparkling water), Bloody Mary (alcoholic; vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and spice) and Citrus Twist (non-alcoholic; orange juice, apple juice and twist of lemon).
A number of alcohol brands are already confirmed to exhibit at WTCE, with new exhibitor Cocktail House Swiss, an Italian distiller of handcrafted, ready-to-drink cocktails for cruise and airlines leading the way for innovative onboard beverage solutions. WTCE will showcase a host of products from leading suppliers of alcohol beverages, all of which can help to increase sales revenue onboard and improve passenger experience.
The changing soft drinks market
Health, wellbeing and premiumisation is a theme that continues to prevail within the soft drinks sector too, with plant-based waters, kombucha and functional beverages also gaining popularity. It’s not just exotic and unfamiliar products that have seen strong sales in recent years, and bottled water has proven to be a product that has benefitted from consumers’ seeking out healthier alternatives also.
UK-based soft drink manufacturer Radnor Hills will be at WTCE on stand 1A70 to help operators capitalise on the demand for healthier alternatives with its range of canned spring waters, which it launched this year. Lightweight for easy transport, leak-proof, long shelf life and 100% recyclable, its 330ml aluminium cans of still or sparkling water provide the perfect option for airline, rail and cruise operators looking to capitalise on this growth in demand.
As excess packaging and single-use plastic begin to influence consumers’ decision making, soft drinks suppliers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of switching to more sustainable formats. Buyers will be able to satisfy consumer demand for more sustainable products and improve the passenger experience by finding suppliers such as Global Inflight Products on stand 1E10 at show, whose ‘Green is Possible’ line includes biodegradable and recyclable products such as cups, straws, napkins and even trash bags .
Archana Sharma, Exhibition Director of WTCE, said: “WTCE presents a fantastic opportunity for air, rail and cruise buyers to meet new suppliers, discover the latest trends and industry innovations. Its co-location with Aircraft Interiors Expo and Passenger Experience Conference completes the line-up which enables all our visitors to enhance their passengers’ onboard experience.”
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.