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How frequent fliers are fed is about to change, as many of the airline industry's top carriers are upgrading their menus in the near future. The moves are being attached to recovery efforts, as the industry bounces back from its recent heavy losses since 2020. Among the more noticeable changes have come from American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) which has actively been upgrading its food sources for things like greens, while others such as Consolidated Airlines Group S.A. (OTCPK: ICAGY) subsidiary British Airways, Air Canada (TSX: AC) (OTCQX:
ACDVF) and Onex Corporation (TSX: ONEX) (OTCPK: ONEXF) subsidiary WestJet, which all recently began offering a new high-protein snack mix from newly-public Pangea Natural Foods (CSE: PNGA) (OTCQB: PNGAF) based out of Vancouver, Canada.
According to former airline executive Henry Harteveldt, founder of travel consulting firm Atmosphere Research Group: "Food is one of the most tangible signals of what an airline thinks of its customers."
Which is why Onex Corporation (TSX: ONEX) (OTC: ONEXF) subsidiary WestJet became the latest to improve upon its snack offerings, and rid itself of the clichéd joke "What's the deal with airplane peanuts?".
WestJet will now be offering Pangea Munchie Mix from Pangea Natural Foods (CSE: PNGA) (OTC: PNGAF), which consists of non-GMO superfoods including dried cranberries, yogurt chips, roasted cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds.
"We are very excited about the momentum we have built with a number of airline partners carrying Pangea's Munchie Mix." says Pangea CEO Pratap Sandhu, "The launch of this partnership is yet another way the Pangea Munchie Mix will become the snack of choice for travelers. We look forward to making Pangea's healthy, GMO-free products readily available to customers not just in Canada and the United States, but globally."
The Pangea Munchie Mix will be available to WestJet's business class passengers on the global carrier's fleet of aircrafts. The airline operates Canada's second largest airline with a fleet of over 160 planes, serving 109 destinations in 24 countries.
Previously, Pangea had announced the on-boarding of Pangea Munchie Mix on two other major airlines, namely Air Canada (TSX: AC) (OTC: ACDVF) and Consolidated Airlines Group S.A. (OTC: ICAGY) subsidiary British Airways.
"The global airline catering business is estimated to be worth US$21 billion by 2024, and Pangea is looking forward to playing a role in the industry," added Sandhu, citing an analytic report from earlier this year. "Between British Airways, Air Canada and now WestJet, Pangea's Munchie Mix will be available on over 650 airplanes worldwide. For us, this is just the beginning."
Pangea was recently added to British Airways' fleet of over 230 airplanes, serving 13 domestic UK destinations, and 192 international destinations in 76 countries, as well as to Air Canada's scheduled passenger service that flies directly to 51 Canadian airports, 46 destinations in the United States and 67 airports in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and flying up to 438 daily flights between Canada and the United States alone.
Along with their Plant-Based Patties and Old Fashioned Ghee, Pangea manufactures their Munchie Mix in-house at their Vancouver Lower Mainland facility, which has been approved by both the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Far and away the largest airline fleet in the world is under American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL) which has already solidified its place as being friendly to vegetarians and vegans, with about 23% of their customers choosing to pre-order a vegan meals with the carrier.
But to maintain a healthy menu for such a large fleet comes with its own balance of challenges. When it comes to in-flight meals, greens and salads are among the most difficult dishes to serve on board. However, the airline is currently offering salads on more flights today than compared to before the pandemic began.
"We have to be very choosy about what type of greens we offer," said American Airlines spokeswoman Leah Rubertino. "Arugula, for example, is not our friend."
Beyond salads with fresh greens, American Airlines is also offering high-quality vegetarian a "fiesta grain bowl" with rice, quinoa, black beans, cauliflower, corn, and zucchini.
Each of these major airlines are making concerted efforts to improve their images with vegan and vegetarian customers, after recent incidents emerged through social media. These included an alleged serving of just a bottle of water for a "vegan meal" on Air Canada, while WestJet took criticisms for not having enough meat, British Airways for serving butter and cheese in a "vegan meal", and American Airlines allegedly serving bugs.
"A lot of the airlines have really upped their game and I think committed to some consumer protections in writing that they hadn't previously," said Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Polly Trottenberg in an interview with CNN. "We're going to continue to work with them."
Industry wide, consumer complaints are up nearly 270% from above pre-pandemic levels, according to Trottenberg's department's report for Q2 2022.