WTCE 2018 records biggest event to date with more exhibitors and visitors than ever before

25 Apr 2018

Organisers announce the number one, free-to-attend event will return from 2-4 April at Passenger Experience Week 2019

Professionals from across the air, rail and cruise industries descended on Hamburg, Germany last week (10-12 April) for the seventh edition of the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) 2018. The show, which was part of Passenger Experience Week 2018, followed the industry-leading Passenger Experience Conference and networking forum, and was co-located with the popular Aircraft Interiors Expo and Passenger Technology Solutions – new for 2018.

Celebrating its biggest event to date, WTCE 2018 expanded to four halls from the traditional two seen in previous years. Both exhibitor and visitor numbers were correspondingly higher, cementing its position as the number one, free-to-attend event for buyers from the world’s airline and rail operators.

In addition, with more exhibitors than ever before, the event extended its reputation as a unique platform for visitors to discover the latest travel catering, passenger comfort and travel retail products and innovations, source insights and advice from the industry’s foremost thought leaders, and experience unrivalled networking opportunities.

Speaking about this year’s event, Claire Serdet, Product Manager, Inflight Supply Chain, TUI, said: “This is my fifth time at the show - I come to see new products. It's a great opportunity to find out what our competitors are doing as well as seeing the latest products and services launching to the market. It's also a great place to meet new people as well as connect with old colleagues and suppliers. Coming to the show is one of the best weeks of my working year.”

Nancy Jewell, Head of Corporate Communications, gategroup, added: “WTCE gives us the opportunity to meet with our customers in a different way. More than 2,000 industry professionals, including all gategroup’s key customers are visiting gategroup’s booth to build business networks, find inspiration and stay up to date with our newest developments. From their visits we gain valuable insights, exclusive feedback and opportunities to deepen our commercial relationships with our airline partners.”

Highlighting new product innovation
On the show floor, a number of new product launches and collaborations were unveiled. Korita Aviation, promoted the new JetBlue inflight trolleys, demonstrating the airline’s commitment to provide superior service in every aspect of their customers’ air travel experience.

On the En Route International stand, the provider of onboard food service solutions announced it had partnered with Nando’s to launch its first-ever range of snack products for the travel catering market. The new commercial partnership will see the introduction of products such as a Houmous snack box with PERi-PERi Drizzle and pitta chips, half-popped corn and PERi-PERi sauce sachets.

Speaking about the launch, Managing Director of En Route International Robert Dalboth, said: “Nando’s is an incredibly popular brand with a very loyal customer base. It is a real privilege to be able to partner with the company in its first-ever venture into the travel catering market.”

Another exciting launch from LSG Group saw crowds gather for the exclusive unveiling of its new expert brand for packaged products and convenience food solutions: Evertaste. The new brand offers creative food solutions including ready-to-eat products covering bakery goods, hot meals, pre-packaged salads, boxed meals, desserts, snacks, sandwiches and wraps, made under the highest global quality standards.

“The market potential for packaged products is enormous,” said LSG Group’s CEO Erdmann Rauer. “The launch of Evertaste at WTCE 2018, clearly underlines our strong commitment to investing in this market segment.”

A wide range of other product launches were revealed over the course of the three days, with Albéa, a worldwide leader in beauty, personal care, oral care and pharma packaging, announcing its new amenity kits for Air France; Bottega Spa introduced two new products: a mignonette package containing a range of creamy liqueurs and its new Bottega Gin “Bacûr; while former Liverpool footballer, Steven Gerrard, joined exhibitors and visitors to announce the availability of his all-natural Angel Revive water brand for travel operators.

11 new products launched in the last 12 months were also highlighted in the show’s returning What’s New Onboard showcase. Exhibitors under the spotlight included healthy nut-based snack brand, BitesWeLove which unveiled six new flavours including Pecan Boo, Cheeky Apricot, Let’s Go Mango, Chili Con Karma and Soy Side Up; Snackbox to-go featured its unique new concept of pizza and fries together in a convenient, ovenable box; and OTR: On The Rocks Premium Cocktails presented its award winning, luxurious craft bottled cocktails, using quality select ingredients and inspiration from all over the globe.

New companies join WTCE for the first-time
Joining WTCE regulars such as LSG Group, gategroup, Best Partner Food and The Bake Factory, WTCE 2018 also saw more than 125 businesses join the line-up for the first-time. The revamped and expanded New Exhibitor Villages, which comprised four zones dedicated to first-time exhibitors across Halls A1-A4, included brands such as Twinings, Manomasa, Ovin Pion Vodka and Thistly Cross Cider.

Speaking about the company’s debut at WTCE 2018, Moritz Schafstein, Managing Director of Ovin Pion Vodka, said: “We're a small distillery and it’s a new venture for us to try to move onboard. We've met potential customers and spoken with airline buyers. It's a great opportunity to meet with the industry and our peers.”

Siobhan Longmann-Finn, Regional Account Manager-South for Twinings, added: “We had a successful show and met a good mix of people. Having the chance to speak with buyers from airlines is a key attraction to this event and it was definitely worth exhibiting.”

Dedicated Focus on Travel Retail facilitates product sourcing
The Focus on World Travel Retail returned to promote products and services available for inflight purchases including Legendary Dracula, a Romanian brand offering the best wines and natural spirits traditionally brewed in Transylvania. It empowers local brands by associating them with one of the most powerful and notorious European myths – Dracula.

Offering a collection of chocolate gifts suitable for inflight retail, Butlers Chocolates revealed its beautifully presented chocolate bars in six flavours including White Coconut and Almond, Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel Crunch, Dark Chocolate Almond & Orange and White Chocolate with Raspberry. A range of inflight retail merchandise including Rosefield fashion watches and accessories, Harman all-in-one travel speaker and noise cancelling headphones were also on display on the Schäfer Travel Retail stand.

Returning to Focus on World Travel Retail was the Gebr. Heinemann networking bar, offering exhibitors and visitors a chance to catch up and sample the future of travel retail onboard including the company’s ever-expanding range of global branded goods.

New to WTCE, Chris Henson, Head of Procurement at Virgin Atlantic, said: “This year’s WTCE was my first and I used it to successfully meet with external partners as well as suppliers who are more difficult to meet throughout the year. The show is great for bringing everyone together in one place, as well as showcasing new products.”

Educational content and insights from the industry’s leaders Returning to WTCE 2018, the popular Taste of Travel theatre, in partnership with Onboard Hospitality, saw more cutting-edge presentations and live chef demonstrations, inspiring and delighting attendees. Topics covered by the programme, included catering for changing lifestyles; the habits and hang ups of today’s millennials; packaging innovations ideal for onboard use; and how to build a brand and get it onboard.

Talented chefs Sturla Birgisson, Jenny Greenhalgh, Steve Walpole and James Strawbridge presented innovative culinary ideas and offered attendees the chance to sample a wide range of new menu concepts. Master chef Sturla Birgisson was joined by Iris Anna Groeneweg, Onboard Service Development, Icelandair in a session that revealed how airlines can represent their country and culture in the inflight experience. Attendees were offered the chance to sample Icelandic smoked arctic char with caviar and dill puree followed by Icelandic lamb, baby scallops and sea truffles, also known as þangskegg in Icelandic, which is sustainably handpicked off the Icelandic coast.

Chef and new product development manager for RG, Jenny Greenhalgh revealed the stories and secrets behind the celebrity chef James Martin’s All-Day Menu; Chef Steve Walpole demonstrated how to use ‘on trend’ ingredients and techniques to cater for special diets; while James Strawbridge revealed how to incorporate superfoods into popular dishes to create healthy and colourful meals onboard.

The topic of healthy meals onboard was also put under the spotlight when a panel of industry experts, led by Lance Hayward of The Hayward Partnership, asked the audience what extent airline, rail and cruise operators are responsible for providing healthy meals onboard.

Taking part in the panel, Dr. Rupy Aujla, the GP chef behind the ‘Culinary Medicine’ concept, said: “Lots of consumers are having problems with how to eat healthily onboard and so there is a lot of scope for change in the industry. We’re here at WTCE 2018 to offer advice on the medicinal effects of eating well and how travel operators can make this accessible for consumers.”

WTCE attendee, Heidi-Maria Paivikko of Finnair, added: “The sessions were really interesting and gave me lots to think about. Providing healthy meals onboard is a very challenging area for operators, with the need to balance cost with the health benefits for passengers. It was a useful session with really good speakers.”

Speaking about the success of this year’s Passenger Experience Week, Archana Sharma, Event Director, WTCE, said: “2018 has been a great year for the industry and WTCE. There was a great atmosphere and buzz at the show across the four halls, and feedback on the wide array of innovative products, new features and educational content has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re delighted to see record numbers of exhibitors and visitors, helping to make this our biggest and most successful event to date. We’d like to thank all of our visitors, speakers and exhibitors who joined us in Hamburg and we’re delighted to announce we’ll return in 2019 from 2-4 April.”

As part of Passenger Experience Week 2019, WTCE will again be co-located with Aircraft Interiors Expo and Passenger Technology Solutions and will take place from 2-4 April 2019 at the Hamburg Messe, Germany. The Passenger Experience Conference will also return on Monday 1 April 2019.

For more information on the event visit: http://www.worldtravelcateringexpo.com/

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