Ever wondered why things can taste a bit weird when eating inflight meals? Turns out it’s not just the fault of over-brewed airline tea or mass-made meals, reheated. Once at altitude, the combination of the dry cabin air and pressure change reduces our taste bud sensitivity and impacts on our ability to savour aromas. Which is all the more reason for airlines to be top of their game with what they’re dishing up.
The good news this week for Air New Zealand Premium customers is that as international travel kicks into gear, the flag carrier airline is switching up its inflight menu.
Last week, Air New Zealand customers flying to and from Rarotonga were given a first taste of the Business Premier menu, which will be officially launched and rolled out on all long-haul routes from October. The airline is unveiling its new Business Premier menu, which showcases the best of Aotearoa on a plate, including local ingredients like Southland Lamb Prosciutto, Hawke’s Bay extra virgin olive oil and mānuka smoked free-range chicken from the Waikato.
Travellers will also be welcomed aboard with a ‘Kora from the Kitchen’ sampler of bite-size morsels created with local ingredients, served after take-off.
“Airlines are in a competitive market today, and part of how they distinguish themselves from one another is through the food they serve, says Stuff food editor, Emily Brookes. “National carriers, like Air New Zealand, are an important extension of their country’s tourism economy and are, for many visitors, the first experience of that country they will have.”
Air New Zealand General Manager Customer, Leeanne Langridge says “We all know how important food is when travelling and what a difference it makes to our customers to be served a tasty meal full of fresh, local produce while on their journey. Our inflight meals showcase the best of New Zealand produce to the world, and also gives our Kiwi customers a taste of home from the moment they are welcomed onboard.”
Air New Zealand customer research showed that Premium customers wanted more choice in the air, and so a build-your-own component has been added to Premium’s main meal service. Customers can add the likes of seared Salmon from Marlborough, free-range chicken from Waikato or bacon for greater protein, or streamed green vegetables or fresh, crisp salads picked straight from orchards and fields in Gisborne, Waikato or the Manawatū.”
In a nod to the changing dietary tastes of the day, a number of meals such as the artisan pasta bowl and superfood salad are meat-free.
Air New Zealand says it works with local suppliers when it comes to creating its menu, and to keep up with changing food trends, it switches up the menu three times a year on long-haul flights, with more frequent changes for its Australia and Pacific Island routes.
Air New Zealand will also be refreshing its Premium Economy and Economy menu offering, and introducing lighter and more sustainable cutlery than the previous single-use plastic. The new serviceware in the Premium cabins can reduce weight on an aircraft by around 20 per cent, and switching to a more sustainable serviceware option in the Economy cabin could also remove some 28 million single-use plastic dishes and knives, forks and spoons from inflight every year.
“This is another step towards our sustainability goals. We have been on a journey towards reducing the impact of our serviceware on the environment and the beautiful country we call home, by moving away from single-use plastics to more sustainable options”, says Langridge.
Find out more at: airnewzealand.co.nz