In a bid to reduce a daily mountain of food waste, SWISS International Airlines will start selling surprise bags of leftover food that is about to expire at deeply discounted prices to passengers on the last short-haul flights of the day from its base in Geneva.
SWISS sells a variety of fresh produce from renowned local company Confiserie Sprüngli on short and medium-haul flights from Geneva and Zurich but while buy on board has proved popular, the airline still ends up with food going to waste each day.
The airline already uses historical sales data in order to try and predict how much fresh product its need for the day but predictions aren’t always accurate. Many airlines either end up disappointing customers because they didn’t load enough fresh food or end up wasting perfectly good food that is going spare.
According to pan-European food waste company Too Good to Go, around one-third of produced food is simply thrown away. The organisation set up an app to connect businesses that had spare food with people who could make use of it. The idea quickly took off and has expanded to become the worlds largest business to consumer marketplace for surplus food.
SWISS has now teamed up with Too Good to Go to reduce food wastage on its flights by selling off fresh food leftovers. Flight attendants will make an announcement at the start of the flight to let customers know that leftover food bags are available to purchase with bags containing one, two or three items.
The contents, however, remain a mystery until the passenger has made the purchase and unsealed the bag.
The concept is currently being tested throughout September and only on flights from Geneva but it could be extended if it proves popular. Romain Vetter, the airline’s head of operations for western Switzerland says initial results have been promising but the airline is still awaiting the results of the final analysis.
“Managing waste on board is an important part of our commitment to greater sustainability,” explains SWISS chief commercial officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour.
“We hope to significantly reduce unused food on board our aircraft by introducing this service. Thinking about sustainability in all our products, services and processes is part of our SWISS DNA,” Pour continued.
It probably also helps that SWISS will at least make some money from selling leftovers rather than allowing it just to go to waste.
Earlier this year, British Airways took the decision to remove fresh food from short-haul flights for Economy passengers but customers can order sandwiches in advance for delivery on the flight. The decision was taken deliberately to avoid food waste and save costs from unsold food.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.