Lufthansa Launches New “Onboard Delights Last Minute” Service To Tackle Food Waste

German airline Lufthansa has announced the launch of its sustainability initiative, “Onboard Delights Last Minute,” which will allow passengers to purchase unsold meals at low prices before landing in an effort to mitigate cabin food waste.

Lufthansa Planes
Lufthansa is taking steps to optimise its catering services. © Reuters

Onboard Delights Last Minute – Sustainable Catering

As a part of Lufthansa’s new Onboard Delights Last Minute scheme, passengers travelling to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Munich International Airport (MUC) will be able to purchase unsold meals shortly before landing, which would have otherwise been sent to landfill or incinerated.

Any meals not sold during the flight will be sold at a uniform price of €3.50, and passengers will be able to either eat them on board or take the packaged food with them for their onward journeys. The meals on offer include salads, food bowls and sandwiches, freshly prepared daily by the catering company Gate Gourmet, and tasty cakes made by the delicatessen company Dallmayr.

For flights currently offering Onboard Delights products, the new service will be available for journey times lasting more than one hour to the aforementioned airports. Passengers with a Miles & More card will also be able to earn and redeem reward miles when ordering meals from the Onboard Delights Last Minute range.

The airline hopes that the new scheme to optimise its catering process will aid in tackling cabin food waste, something which remains a major issue not only for Lufthansa but airlines worldwide.

Lufthansa Onboard Delights Last Minute Service
The Onboard Delights Last Minute initiative will aid in cabin waste management. © Lufthansa

Cabin Waste Management – A Difficult Problem To Tackle/Solve

Efforts are continuing to be made to support suitability in the aviation industry, with Alaska Airlines announcing at the beginning of the year that it had eliminated single-use plastics from its flights. However, obstacles still stand in the way of airlines being able to effectively tackle food and beverage waste.

Audits carried out by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and several international airlines show that unused food and beverages represent over 20% of cabin waste, with a shocking £3.2 billion worth of resources sent to landfill or incinerated each year. In addition, whilst research undertaken by the IATA shows that food waste volumes decreased substantially during the pandemic, the amount of waste generated is predicted to rebound and hit approximately 6 million tonnes by 2024.

Despite the shocking figures, airlines face difficulty in being able to reuse, recycle and/or donate cabin waste due to the international catering waste (ICW) legislation adopted by many governments around the world (including the UK, the USA, Australia and the EU). The legislation enforces strict rules on ICW management in order to reduce the risk of spreading animal and plant diseases between different countries (such as foot and mouth disease).

The above obstacles highlight why Lufthansa’s latest initiative is a positive step forward in tackling food waste and aiding in the move towards a more sustainable circular economy.

What are your thoughts on Lufthansa’s Onboard Delights Last Minute initiative? Do you think more should be done to help airlines reuse, recycle and donate cabin waste? Let us know in the comments!

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Rachel Dunster
Rachel Dunster
Aviation Reporter