Singapore Airlines has begun offering a farm-to-plane food concept designed to enhance its sustainability practices with the food and beverages passengers consume on its flights.
The airline already serves fish from fisheries certified by Marine Stewardship Council, a nonprofit group that recognizes and rewards efforts to protect oceans and safeguard seafood supplies, for its sustainable practices. It also committed to buy produce from local farms in all the countries it serves.
In Singapore, the airline is partnering with the Kranji Countryside Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes local agriculture and the building of the country’s agriculture industry. The carrier’s International Culinary Panel (ICP) of famous chefs will create inflight menus using more sustainable ingredients and local produce from farms at its destinations, such as cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, green beans and lettuce.
The new menus will initially be introduced to Singapore Airlines’ first class Suites customers on selected routes by the end of the year, and will progressively be made available to customers traveling in business, premium economy and economy class starting in 2018.
Kenny Eng, president of the Kranji Countryside Association, is also director of the Nyee Phoe Group, a horticulture and agri-tainment business that runs recreational activities within the farm.
“Kranji is one of Singapore’s best-kept secrets. Only one percent of our country’s land is for agriculture, but we maintain a lot of the country’s soul, heritage and culture,” said Eng. “It’s tough, but we have to innovate to make it happen.”
It was natural for Kranji to partner with Singapore Airlines, said Eng. “We both have national pride and the farm-to-plane initiative is dear to us,” he said. “The airline has this global brand that goes back to the country’s roots, which fits in what we’re trying to do in maintaining agriculture in the country.”
Kranji’s goal is to think global, but act local and make agriculture sustainable, said Eng. “We’re working with Singapore Airlines to ensure that we can propel what we do around the world, and this partnership is a good start.”
Local farms that will partner with Singapore Airlines include Bollywood Veggies, the Kuhlbarra fish farm (which focuses on barramundi), Uncle William’s quail meat and eggs, the Hay Dairies Goat Farm and Kin Yan Agrotech, which grows organic wheat grasses, edible cactus, aloe vera, pea sprouts and a variety of mushrooms.
Betty Wong is Singapore Air’s divisional vice president for the customer experience. “Being such a small country, most people may not know we have local farms,” she said.
“Food source safety and security is a big interest for Singapore Airlines,” she said. “But our focus is also on what customers want on their flights and do what we can to meet their needs. We hope this new farm-to-plane food initiative, being done here and in other parts of the world, are what our customers want us to do.
“Aside from our partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council, we will also make an effort to support the use of seasonal local fruit and produce whenever it’s available,” said Wong. “We want to bring the freshest fruit and produce of the seasons at all times.”
Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe already use local foods in Singapore Airlines’ menus, said Wong. “We’ve also launched Deliciously Wholesome, our healthy eating program designed to offer passengers more meatless choices on their flights,” she said.
Another large part of the farm-to-plane initiative is reducing food waste, said Wong. “We compost and are exploring to learn how to work with organizations like the Singapore Food Bank to see how we can donate our food,” she said. We’re in touch with a research think tank on finding ways to convert food waste to biodegradable wares. We’re also asking the stations in the cities we serve to reach out to local resources in their areas.
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