In March we ran a focus group food tasting session at Alpha LSG Spitfire House that showcased innovative products to feature on board our future flights. Using around 20 of our customers from Monarch Voice (our customer feedback group) we presented a selection of tasty bites to see what was enjoyed the most. When choosing our products we take into consideration what our customers want but also consumer and market trends in order to bring you the best food and drink.
We welcomed 20 customers to try new toasties, curries, wraps, pies, English breakfast and much more. The results were extremely positive and they all welcomed the idea of change to our more traditional meals that we have sold in the past. Scoring each sample on flavour, texture and portion size we used this information to determine our new menu additions. We also asked customers to suggest a price that they would pay for each product as well extra comments on how we can further improve.
With sixteen new food products to try, the top five were the Bangkok Burrito, Cheese & Ham Toastie, Bacon Panini, Mexican Burrito and Chicken Pie & Chips. Our chef Carl demonstrated how these great tastes were possible due to seasoning and cooking techniques on board. The science behind our food was of interest to a lot of the focus group as they learned that:
- We use ovens on our flights (a major shock to many who assume it is all zapped in a microwave)
- That inevitably the taste of inflight meals all comes down to us as our sense of taste and smell changes in the air which determines how we perceive the food we eat. Did you know that due to cabin pressurization we lose our sense of smell which is a major factor that determines our flavour perception. The air also numbs our taste buds which is why some people often find airplane meals bland and uninspiring. This is why our team of chefs ensure that all products are tested to suit the environment in which they are consumed.
Carl Jones – Development Chef for Alpha LSG explained – “As you can imagine there are lots of challenges in developing and designing an on-board menu. One of the main ones being that our taste buds change at altitude, so food that’s eaten on the ground can taste very different at 37,000 feet. This has led to the misconception that most on-board food is pumped full of flavour enhancers, salt and fat, but this is just not the case. We use ingredients that naturally taste good up in the air. Fresh herbs and flavoured vegetables bring complexity to the food that stop your taste buds craving salt”
The food selected by our customers will be flying high on-board this summer. Our brand new Burrito Rapido Hot Wraps were among the favourites and you will be able to purchase and enjoy our Thai Green Chicken Wrap and our Spicy Pulled Beef Wrap on-board from 1st August 2016 (even better they are Gluten Free!)
Marc Warde – Culinary Director – Alpha LSG commented – “It’s got to be said that some gluten free products leave something to be desired and this was at the forefront of our mind when we commenced this project. Our hot wraps are authentically made and packed with interesting world flavours in a gluten free tortilla wrap, served in a handy pocket so you can devour and enjoy without getting messy!”
So, on your next flight, don’t forget to try out our brand new products which include improved recipes and tasty new wraps! http://monarch.alphalsgretail.com/product-category/cafe-bar/