INDUSTRY Q&A Companies appearing in this section will include Butlers Chocolates, Dr Schar AG and the Narumi Corporation. Hundreds of new innovations will be showcased on the show floor including a re–usable padlock from Tydenbrooks Security Products that works in combination with the company’s disposable security seal – the Hawk Seal. Award-winning soft drinks specialist Radnor Hills will also feature, showcasing its new on-board hydration solution in 125ml, 200ml and 250ml cartons, while Snack Box To Go will display its news snacks including its chilled ready-to-eat seasoned chicken. PAX: How much growth have you seen in the rail sector interest since you started the event? Sharma: This is very much a growing sector as recent improvements in rail travel have sparked a huge boost in passenger journeys. Around 8% of all journeys are undertaken on train in Europe, according to Eurostat as of 2016. This growth is reflected at WTCE and we’re delighted to welcome
back the International Rail Catering Group (IRCG), which will return to exhibit at the show for its second year. The show’s dedicated Rail Trail will also return with more exhibitors participating than ever before. Designed to help visitors navigate the show floor for the most relevant exhibitors showcasing products or services relevant to the rail sector, the trail will feature more than 170 companies. These include: Kaelis, one of the world’s leading providers of on-board products, services and solutions for the air and rail industries; Egret Aviation, a manufacturer of galley equipment for air and rail services; and Colpac Ltd, a British designer and manufacturer of food packaging currently celebrating its 80th anniversary. PAX: Can you identify any hot cuisines or trends in inflight food service emerging from the companies at this year’s WTCE? Sharma: We have noticed a steep climb in the number of free-from products available onboard and this will be evident at WTCE 2017. In particular, the gluten-free
market is growing with a compound annual growth rate of approximately 6% between 2015 and 2019, according to Technavio. Continued momentum in this category is largely driven by the perception among consumers that gluten-free foods are healthier and new product development in this area is widespread. Technology is also developing, with examples including iFLEAT’s app-based service that enables passengers to pre-order restaurant food to be served onboard. Chief Executive Officer of iFleat Jaap Roukens will talk about this innovative business at a session in the Taste of Travel theatre on the first day of the show, alongside Founder of airlinetrends.com Raymond Kollau. Raymond will provide insights into changing consumer behaviours and passenger expectations from air and rail operators with a focus on the smartphone on-demand economy. We expect more technological advances made in the onboard catering arena and look forward to hearing about the next big innovations live at the show.
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