Sparks crackers

Jos Poell Sparks crackers ignite taste buds with flavors like curry, guacamole and sour cream and pepper. Photo credit: Maxim Sergienko.

APEX Insight: Crackers in level-9 intensity flavors, adult soft drinks classy enough to be served alongside champagne and American sweets were all the rage at the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg this year.

APEX Media walked the halls at the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) in Hamburg trying all sorts of chips, crisps, crackers and beverages to glean trends in onboard foods.

Fizzy Water and Super Boosters for Adults

Cucumbers are hydrating, rich in vitamins and minerals and full of detoxing properties. Graham Carr-Smith added the gourd vegetable flavor to sparkling water, bottled it and called it Qcumber. “Most drinks you find on airlines, like Pepsi and Coke, aren’t aimed at the adult consumer,” he says. Carr-Smith describes his product as an adult soft drink. “It also goes well with gin and vodka.”

Qcumber, which Carr-Smith says has 30 to 40 percent less calories than a regular soft drink, is naturally flavored. Finnair started serving cans of the beverage onboard three months ago. “People are looking for healthier products,” he says.

Qcumber

Qcumber sparkling mixer. Photo credit: Maxim Sergienko.

Healthier beverage options for airlines were also seen at Dutch juice company Hoogesteger, which was promoting cold-pressed juices in shots to detox, energize, fight the flu and help with anti-aging. The company’s freshly squeezed sugar- and preservative-free apple and orange juices are already offered in KLM’s business-class cabins. “People are prepared to pay more for a better product both on the ground and in the air,” says Albert De Vries, Hoogesteger Sales manager.

Flavors That Pack a Punch

Starburst-shaped cracker thins in saturated hues of yellow, green and grey were not only visually interesting ; their flavors – curry, guacamole and sour cream and pepper – also packed a punch. The packaging in contrasting colors also enhanced their visual impact. While Sparks crackers come in seven flavors, only three were on display. Passengers’ tastebuds have less sensitivity at 35,000 feet, says a spokesperson representing the Jos Poell Sparks product, alluding to the popularity of tomato juice onboard and explaining why only flavors that would most enhance the passenger experience were shown.

American cookies

American-style cookies give passengers from the US a taste of home. Photo credit: Maxim Sergienko.

“American” in Paris

What are American cookies? Basically, the cookies you’re familiar with: about the size of the palm of your hand, available in chocolate chip, double chocolate and macadamia nut. Food and service ware company DFMi account manager Allison Hardesty says they’re really popular with US airlines flying outbound from Europe. “American passengers like to a have a little taste of home,” she says. “It makes passengers feel more comfortable and enhances their in-flight experience.” Which American snack will appear onboard next? According to Hardesty, airlines are going to indulge in mini doughnuts drizzled with a thick layer of icing, taking in-flight desserts to a hole new level.

Caroline is managing editor at APEX Media.