The making of a new onboard retail concept: Ever wondered how an inflight menu card is created?

Last week, we started an interview series with Nicole Beckers and Claudia Witt, Team Leads Retail Program Management at Retail inMotion, about the making of a new onboard retail concept.

In the first part of this series, we discussed the development and management of a customer-centric onboard retail concept, the aspects behind concept creation and product selection, and how RiM is supporting airlines in building a best-in-class passenger experience.

Today, we’re focusing on the culinary offer itself: the food trends, the importance of offering both choice and quality, and more!


When selecting the products for the onboard retail concept, did you take any food trends into consideration?

Absolutely! We always try to be up-to-date with food trends and innovations, as well as current environmental and economic developments. Before the pandemic, we used to visit fairs, participate in conferences and exhibitions; even though everything is virtual these days due to the corona-induced restrictions, we are still up-to-date with all the trends through online research, by keeping a close exchange of information with the supplier and by participating in online fairs, trainings, tutorials, and conversations with our industry peers.

However, we always try to find a balance between products derived from food trends and “no-brainer” products or bestsellers that have been on the market for a longer time. The bestsellers that we include in our onboard retail concepts are usually go-to products for travellers, so passengers recognize and prefer them to other items of the same kind.

How important are brand partners in this scenario?

Brand partners play a vital role; the new onboard retail concept represents a major change not only for the airlines but also for their passengers, so having strong brand partners that people already know and love helps travellers embrace the new offer.

Airline food doesn’t have the best reputation but the onboard retail catering concept is gaining traction – for good reason. More and more passengers, when given the choice, choose high quality, trusted brands, and fresh products. Having brand partners helps create trust and further develops the relationship between the airline and its passengers.   

Nowadays, passengers want to have choice and quality. How does the culinary offer satisfy their needs and expectations?

We try to offer as much variety as possible and give passengers that boutique/café atmosphere where they get a pre-selected range of products tailored to their needs and expectations. We have one or two coffee options for the busy businessperson, a few juice selections for the kids on their way to their summer destination and some healthy snacks for the young couple on their way to a city break.

What do the culinary offers for the three airlines have in common?

First, they all have strong brand partners that are well known both locally and internationally. Second, the food and beverage products are of great quality and satisfy all tastes by marrying traditional dishes with food innovation.

Furthermore, the sustainability aspect is very important for all these airlines, which can be seen in the packaging, chosen brands, and even in menu printing.