One Trend That I Hope Never Comes To US Supermarkets
By Phil Lempert, CEO, Retail Dietitians Business Alliance
A seven-hour flight that basically was a tour of Australia from 30,000 feet that sold out in 10 minutes and cost between $566 for economy class and $2,734 for business class. Being someone, who pre-pandemic traveled about 200,000 miles a year, I can tell you that I don’t miss it one bit – nor would I ever want to take a trip to nowhere, let alone pay for it! So, when I heard about this latest trend coming to supermarkets in the EU and Asia, I shook my head in disbelief.
I don’t know if this is a trend led by supermarkets, shoppers or one that is being created by the lack of airline travel. And it is all about the food. Finnair has started selling its ready-made business class meals at local grocery stores around the Helsinki Airport. The meals retail for around 12 Euros or $14.30 in US dollars. And reportedly are selling well - the stores sold more than 1,600 meals within the first few days. Meals available include Asian and Nordic cuisines. And in case you’re interested, it includes beef with teriyaki-radish sauce served with grilled spring onion and rice, smoked Arctic char with chanterelle risotto, and wait for it…reindeer meatballs. I’ve flown Finnair – and eaten their food – which makes this even more surprising to me. Marika Nieminen, vice president of Finnair Kitchen told CNN that the initiative aims to satisfy the appetite of Finns who are missing air travel – and it also allows the airline to bring back ten of the Finnair Kitchen staff who have been laid off due to the pandemic. The meals are being sold at K-Citymarket supermarkets.
Finnair is not the only airline doing this. Singapore Airlines launched a unique pop-up aviation themed restaurant at Singapore Airport creating a dining experience on an Airbus 380 – reservations were 100% booked withig 30 minutes of the announcement and Thai Airways are also selling their foods in supermarkets. And it doesn’t stop at food. Both Qatar and Qantas airlines are selling their on-board carts stocked with alcohol – both airlines sold out quickly. Qantas is also selling first class pajamas and other perks normally given to their most valued first class fliers on board. Here in the US, GNS Nuts – the provider of mixed nuts to both American and United Airlines found themselves with millions of pounds of nuts with orders cancelled. You can now buy them online at greatnuts.com. No, I really don’t miss Uber, airport, planes or their foods.