The organisers behind WTCE have released the first look at this year’s Taste of Travel programme. Taking place in-person for the first time in three years, the line-up features sessions geared heavily towards sustainable catering and featuring a host of well-known industry experts.
Curated in association with Onboard Hospitality magazine and organised by Jo Austin, OBH, the three-day programme will feature a platform of educational content delivered through a stellar line-up of exclusive presentations, from top passenger experience professionals to sustainability experts within the sector. The programme will also see live demonstrations from some of the industry’s leading chefs, complemented by product sampling opportunities in the Taste of Travel Theatre.
An appetite for sustainable onboard catering
When it comes to the food industry, sustainability is a modern-day mega trend. It is quite simply the most relevant commercial concept shaping the travel sector today. Consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever before, particularly when it comes to their own carbon footprint, but they are now increasingly looking to the sustainability credentials of the brands they trust; and that includes airlines. These days it’s not simply about fuel, travellers are concerned about the environmental impact of every part of the passenger experience, right down to the food they eat. As a result, achieving green objectives remains a top priority for many airline operators and will be discussed in depth across the Taste of Travel Theatre.
Opening the first day of the programme, Marc Warde from Libero Special Meals will rationalise the dietary needs of special meal passengers whose requirements deserve to be placed at the top of the catering agenda. Joined by a panel of food and diet experts, they will lead a thought-provoking discussion on allergens, diets and the future of special meals onboard to enhance awareness on current meal codes.
Also reiterating the industry’s needs to meet passenger expectations will be Lauren Costello, IFSA in her session “Passengers lead the sustainability cause”. Airlines and their suppliers cannot afford to ignore the call of their customers for a sustainable inflight service, meaning the industry needs to ensure these expectations are exceeded. The panel of six experts will define the vital significance of sustainability for inflight services in response to this demand.
The need to address sustainable solutions
Elsewhere on the show floor, the drive for companies to act more sustainably will see multiple sessions examine the issues facing the industry and how the sector is taking immediate action to meet consumer demands. Creating an onboard environment whereby customers feel confident with the sustainable choices airlines are making is essential to exceed expectations.
Julie Baxter, Editor at Onboard Hospitality will spark conversation around the need to work together to solve the puzzle that is sustainability. Her session “The urgent need for global collaboration” will see panellists discuss why global collaboration and standardisation are essential to achieve a more sustainable inflight service.
Although acting more sustainably comes at a price, Ariane Van Mancius, founder and owner of NowNewNext, will present an insightful crystal ball session looking at the real price of sustainability, while Bjoern Orth of the LSG culinary team will showcase a range of select dishes that create zero food waste in the dedicated “Zero Waste Chef Session”, reflecting the overall theme of sustainability onboard.
Additionally, attendees will be able to witness live cooking sessions to sample the latest dishes that are in line with more sustainable and meat-free options. Popular professional chef Steve Walpole will serve up some of his favourite plant-based dishes that are suited to the onboard industry, while Newrest’s top chefs, led by Jean Michel, will cook up a selection of seasonal meals, reflecting the importance of local food sourcing.
The transformation of onboard services
The world of onboard catering and services has seen a big shift in technological advances, especially the accelerated trend towards pre-ordering food and drink items onboard. Airlines and rail companies have been quick to respond with new innovations to enhance both customer needs and service efficiency. In her session ‘Moving from push to pull’ Maryann Simson from Jetway Communications will discuss how pre-ordering and in-seat ordering can improve the customer experience whilst increasing ancillary revenue as well as cutting waste. The team of expert panellists at the session, including Job Heimerikx, CEO Air Fi, Nils Taubert, CEO, Retail in Motion, and Michael Raesch, CEO Omnevo, will delve into the supply chain, personalised meal loading and the latest technology for pre- and post- flight, both on the ground and on board.
Further to this, leading a discussion on the second day of the show entitled ‘Redefining Onboard Catering’ will be Sebastian Schafer of the LSG Global Culinary Excellence Team, and Philippa Cresswell, Executive Director Onboard Customer Experience at AVANTI West Coast/Virgin Trains in the session. They will question how airport, airlines and rail retailers can collaborate to accommodate this transformation and how technology is making a difference. The session will cover technologies and processes like avanti at-seat ordering and more.
Register for WTCE to visit the Taste of Travel Theatre
Other must-see highlights of the Taste of Travel programme will be the WTCE Onboard Icons competition which spotlights the industry’s 10 most influential people. The session will reveal the final 10 successful Icons as voted for by the industry, as well as recognise the outstanding contributions made by individuals in the sector over the last decade.
The Onboard Hospitality Awards Ceremony, will for the first time announce its winners on the show floor on Tuesday 14th June 2022, bringing the industry together to celebrate product service, excellence and innovation. Over in the Sustainability Workshop, a fun and interactive session will see the industry’s leading amenity and passenger equipment suppliers showcasing one new sustainable material they plan to use onboard.
Closing the final day of the show will be a session that will aim to help the industry navigate through one of the industry’s greatest hurdles yet: the recruitment challenge. As more young people look to work in a sustainable environment, the industry must strive to achieve this to attract a new generation of employees.
WTCE Event Director, Polly Magraw, concluded:
“We are very excited for the Taste of Travel programme to return to WTCE in person for the first time in three years. It is always a huge success and we can’t wait to welcome such a great line-up of chefs, consultants, airline and rail representatives to dissect the biggest trends currently dominating the industry. Ensuring customers receive the best passenger experience possible is the main priority, and the Taste of Travel Theatre aims to support this.”