SWISS Selling Discounted Mystery Meals To Reduce Food Waste

SWISS Selling Discounted Mystery Meals To Reduce Food Waste

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Suffice it to say that airlines waste a lot of food. When airlines have buy on board menus, they can never accurately predict exactly how much people will order on a particular flight. For drinks and packaged snacks this isn’t an issue, since those can be resold in the future. However, it creates a real problem for fresh food items, which could be wasted.

SWISS is bringing back a creative concept that the airline first trialed in mid-2021, which seems like a smart way to address this.

SWISS selling leftover food at a discount

As of April 20, 2022, SWISS will be launching the “SWISS Saveurs To Go” concept. With this, the airline will sell unsold food items at reduced prices, with the goal of reducing the amount of fresh food that’s wasted.

SWISS has a buy on board menu on short and medium haul flights, and the airline caters food based on historical sales data, to predict passenger demand as accurately as possible. However, there are often leftovers, so the airline is now trying to reduce waste associated with that.

On the last flight of the day from Geneva and Zurich, SWISS is selling unsold food at reduced prices:

  • At the end of the flight, an announcement is made informing passengers that some extra food is available for sale
  • Customers can purchase a bag containing one or two fresh food items, at a significantly reduced cost
  • The bag’s contents aren’t revealed in advance, and remain a surprise to the purchaser

SWISS first trialed this concept in August and September of 2021, to see what interest was like from passengers. It seems that it was a success, as it has not only been brought back, but has been expanded.

I love the idea behind what SWISS is doing here. If food is going to be wasted anyway, it’s mutually beneficial if the airline can give the food to someone who wants it at a reduced cost, so that it hopefully gets consumed. This is also structured in a way that should minimize the extent to which SWISS cannibalizes its own inflight sales — it’s only sold at the end of the flight, and passengers don’t know what they’re buying.

My only concern here would be around dietary restrictions. For example, I don’t eat pork, and I could totally see myself ending up with a bag that has two prosciutto sandwiches in it. But hey, I guess that’s part of the risk, and in the grand scheme of things waste is still being reduced here.

Example of SWISS’ buy on board fresh catering

SWISS introducing food pre-ordering

Not only is SWISS selling leftover food at the end of the last flight of the night, but the airline is also introducing “SWISS Saveurs Pre-Order.” With this, customers can individually order any of the freshly prepared items on the inflight menu in advance of their flight:

  • This is available for economy class guests on short and medium haul services
  • All freshly prepared items can be pre-ordered, including salads, sweet bakery items, sandwiches, and more
  • Items can be ordered up to 36 hours before departure via this link
  • Customers will only have to pay for their pre-ordered items when served by the cabin crew, and there will even be a discount for pre-ordering

A pre-ordering feature seems like such a win-win, so it’s great to see this rolled out. It’s nice when customers can be assured that they’re getting the option they want, and it also helps the airline more accurately cater the flight based on preferences.

SWISS is now letting customers pre-order buy on board meals

Bottom line

SWISS is undertaking two initiatives to reduce food waste on short and medium haul flights, both of which make sense.

The first initiative is that the airline is letting passengers pre-order buy on board meals in advance, so that the airline can be sure people get what they want, and better predict what they should cater.

The other initiative is perhaps more interesting, as the airline will sell “mystery meals” on the last flight of the night with leftover food. Assuming there are leftovers, customers can buy one or two items at greatly reduced prices. The catch is that they won’t know what they’re buying, as that will remain a mystery until after the purchase is complete.

Now, if airlines could start doing this with their leftover first class champagne and caviar… 😉

What do you make of this SWISS’ efforts to reduce waste? Could you see yourself buying a mystery meal if the price is right?

Conversations (12)
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  1. guisun Gold

    Only way for MYSTERY food to work for me, is if its really, severely discounted. There are some food I simply really don't like, so it has to be an amount I'm willing to toss in the bin for giggles.

  2. George Romey Guest

    If your not a picky eater I good idea. I'm assuming these are premium meals not eaten or BOB pre-ordered but not eaten/passenger didn't show up, etc. I don't about Swiss but at least the US domestic airlines the flight attendants usually eat up any left over premium meals, as they should.

  3. Nikojas Guest

    When was the last time you bought food in a restaurant or supermarket blind not knowing what you were buying ? Good concept to reduce waste but if it's a food item you don't like it's going straight in the bin so not sure it's a great idea as is! People like to know what food they are going to be eating!

    1. Grey Gold

      Not everybody is quite so picky. That is the whole point of companies like Too good to go. I think there are enough people in the world who are quite happy with anything they would get from an airline buy on board menu...

    2. betterbub Gold

      I have no idea what food is being sold at the office cafeteria until I already have my tray

  4. Susan Guest

    Sounds like the TooGoodToGo business model. I appreciate it from a food waste perspective!

  5. Chaus Guest

    Mystery Meat. yuumm....

    1. Tee Jay Guest

      LOL- "mystery meat" that reminds me of meals at my college food service years ago.

  6. shoeguy Guest

    That's disgusting and the impact to the environment and food insecurity and waste from this misguided endeavor will be zero.

    1. GroeneMichel Member

      How is that disgusting? Like it's not that they are selling the half-eaten sandwich of a pax that wasn't peckish... It's fresh food put in a bag..

  7. Klaus Guest

    …you can always ask the Flight Attendants to give you a bag without pork?

    1. Peter Guest

      If you don't eat pork then don't buy the leftover food. Bringing your own food would be even better. Those who don't eat pork are minorities. LMAO.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

GroeneMichel Member

How is that disgusting? Like it's not that they are selling the half-eaten sandwich of a pax that wasn't peckish... It's fresh food put in a bag..

5
Grey Gold

Not everybody is quite so picky. That is the whole point of companies like Too good to go. I think there are enough people in the world who are quite happy with anything they would get from an airline buy on board menu...

2
betterbub Gold

I have no idea what food is being sold at the office cafeteria until I already have my tray

1
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