From sweet to healthy – snacks take the focus onboard

Organisers of the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) have revealed feedback from attendees that unveils savoury, sweet and healthy snacks as three of the top five food products searched for by VIP visitors

The data, which explores feedback from more than 800 VIP attendees, saw a 41 per cent interest in savoury snacks, 40 per cent in sweet snacks and 38 per cent in healthy snacks. The interest in snacks for onboard consumption comes as the growth of buy onboard presents new challenges and opportunities for travel operators to drive ancillary revenue and cater for a wide array of consumer preferences.

These insights into the products VIP visitors seek out at WTCE mirror wider consumer trends for snacking. Market statistics show that the UK currently holds the largest market for savoury snacks with the highest growth rate for all Western European countries. Here, savoury snacks had the highest market value at over £1.3bn with crisps following closely at £1.1bn. Nuts and popcorn also contribute to the industry, valued at £313m and £120m, respectively. Although popcorn makes up only a small portion of the market, it continues to increase in popularity as a healthy alternative to other savoury snacks, such as crisps.

WTCE 2018 will see a host of snack companies exhibiting at the show in Hamburg, Germany this April, reflecting the ongoing increase in demand for these products in onboard catering. One such company is Eurosnack srl, which will showcase its Forno Damiani brand of Italian savoury snacks, including Forno Damiani Sfogliete bread snacks, available in garlic and cheese, pizza, olive, rosemary and varieties. The snacks are oven-baked, GMO and palm oil-free with olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. All the products showcased on the stand at WTCE are suitable for vegans.

Also showcasing its range of award winning British bakery snacks is NIBNIBs, a new exhibitor for 2018, the company will offer visitors a chance to try its premium mini breadsticks and grissini, cookies and award-winning coconut mini biscuits. Salty Dog Brands Ltd will also offer a wide range of hand cooked crisps for visitors to sample, from its sea salt, strong cheddar and onion, sweet chilli, ham and wholegrain mustard, roasted jalapeno and flame grilled steak varieties.

For visitors looking to expand the sweet offering onboard, Ladurée returns to WTCE 2018 to showcase its world-famous macarons – first created in the mid-19th century. The French luxury bakery and sweets maker will also reveal its wider range of caramel candies, mini chocolate bars and sweet and dry petits fours.

The trend for healthy snacks can also be seen with exhibitors presenting the very best in alternative snacks for health-conscious consumers, including gluten free products from Dr. Schar AG; organic vegan hazelnut products from HaselHerz; fruit cups from JUST by Hessing B.V and MINIBITE Apricot and yoghurt cereal bars from HOPPE Travel Catering.

Speaking about the results, Archana Sharma, event director said, “Understanding what visitors are looking for is key to ensuring that we are meeting their needs in terms of exhibitors and services offered. The latest research reveals a growing appetite for snack products onboard. VIP visitors also revealed a high interest in bakery and patisserie products as well as frozen food and ice cream at 38 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.

“We encourage all businesses, however big or small, that operate in these areas to get in touch with us to see if the onboard catering industry could be for them. The 2018 edition of WTCE will be the biggest and best yet – we’re expanding across four halls for the first time, with a more diverse exhibitor base than we’ve ever seen. We can’t wait for visitors to join us and discover the trends for 2019 and beyond.”

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. It also offers a unique platform to see the newest products and innovations, benefit from expert insight and advice and network with peers. For more information or to register to attend, visit worldtravelcateringexpo.com.

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