Inflight Catering Market Size is projected to reach USD 32.13 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 11.32%: Straits Research

According to Straits Research, “The global inflight catering market size was valued at USD 12.24 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 32.13 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 11.32% during the forecast period (2023–2031).”

New York, United States, March 18, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In-flight catering, airline food, or in-flight meals refers to providing food services during flights by airlines. Depending on the airline and travel class, the quality and quantity of these meals vary greatly. They can be as simple as a snack or drink in economy class for short-haul flights or as elaborate as a seven-course gourmet meal in first class for long-haul flights. The types of food available vary considerably from country to country and frequently incorporate regional cuisine, sometimes from both the country of origin and the country of destination. When domestic American ticket prices were regulated, airlines differentiated themselves primarily through food.

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Revival in the Passenger Traffic Drives the Global Market

Due to COVID-19, there was a significant global drop in air travel in 2020, which had a knock-on effect on the demand for airlines and aviation-related businesses such as in-flight meals. According to the ICAO, there was a little recovery in global passenger traffic in 2021, with approximately 2.3 billion passengers globally, or 49% below pre-pandemic (2019) levels. This is an increase from the 60% decline observed in 2020.

Additional precautions were taken inside the culinary facilities to maintain strict quality controls in reaction to the beginning of COVID-19, hence reducing the possibility of contamination of food items onboard. These advancements aided the in-flight caterers’ revenue recovery, supporting the sector’s expansion by supplying the airlines.

Increased Automation of In-Flight Catering Creates Tremendous Opportunities

Leading market participants are adopting cutting-edge production management classifications and systems to boost the efficacy and efficiency of processes and systems. IT management systems, inventory management systems, lean manufacturing, and just-in-time manufacturing are among the most essential tools catering companies use to enhance their offerings.

Air New Zealand, FlyDubai, and Japan Airlines offer food and beverage services with digital capabilities. The in-seat IFE system allows passengers to place orders with these businesses. Emirates has just issued flight attendants serving business class with meal-ordering devices. As a result, these factors are anticipated to create opportunities for market growth.

Regional Analysis

Asia-Pacific inflight catering market share is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 11.99% during the forecast period. The expansion of international travel and tourism, rapid urbanization, a rising standard of living to complement aspirational travel, and increased discretionary spending all contribute to regional growth. In addition, the number of airline operators in the region is anticipated to create significant growth opportunities for in-flight catering providers. Due to substantial increases in international air travel and tourism in developing nations such as China, India, and Vietnam, the region is anticipated to expand rapidly. An increase in the budget allocation for enhancing airport infrastructure and constructing new airports may also contribute to the expansion of the aviation industry over the next decade.

Europe is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.94% over the forecast period. The regional market holds the second-largest market share for in-flight catering services. The German market for in-flight catering services held the largest market share, whereas the British market is growing fastest in Europe. The region has seen an increase in legacy carriers entering the low-cost market, which is anticipated to increase demand for catering services on low-cost flights. In the coming years, the increasing willingness of travelers to spend money on purchasing healthy and organic meals and the collaboration between airlines and food professionals with real-world experience are expected to generate significant growth opportunities. It is also anticipated that the presence of major airlines like Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, TUI Airways, Lufthansa, EasyJet UK, Eurowings, and Easyjet, which are expanding global connectivity by introducing new destinations, will result in the introduction of new menus onboard the aircraft.

Key Highlights

  • Based on food type, the global inflight catering market is bifurcated into meals, bakery and confectionery, beverages, and other food types. The meals segment dominates the global market and is projected to exhibit a CAGR of 10.90% over the forecast period.
  • Based on flight type, the global inflight catering market is segmented into full-service carriers, low-cost carriers, and other flight types. The full-service carriers segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 9.99% during the forecast period.
  • Based on aircraft seating class, the global inflight catering market is divided into economy class, business class, and first class. The economy class segment is the most significant contributor to the market and is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 11.11% over the forecast period.
  • Based on catering type, the global inflight catering market is divided into retail onboard and classic catering. The classic catering segment is the largest revenue contributor and is predicted to exhibit a CAGR of 8.90% over the forecast period.
  • Based on flight duration, the global inflight catering market is divided into long haul and short haul. The long-haul segment accounts for a large market share and is expected to exhibit a CAGR of 10.26% over the forecast period.
  • Asia-Pacific is the most significant global inflight catering market shareholder and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 11.99% during the forecast period.

Competitive Players

The key global inflight catering market players Flying Food Group, Gategroup, DO & CO Aktiengesellschaf, LSG Sky Chefs, The Emirates Group, IGS Ground Services, Newrest Group Services SAS, SATS Ltd, KLM Catering Services, and Cathay Pacific Catering Services Ltd.

Market News

  • In April 2023, Air India rolled out a new menu for passengers flying on international routes. The airline also introduced plant-based meal options for its vegan first- and business-class passengers.
  • In September 2023, IndiGo, which Interglobe Aviation Limited owns, started serving a revised in-flight menu. The airline’s spokesperson confirmed this by stating that the new dishes will be introduced on all domestic and international flights.

Global Inflight Catering Market: Segmentation

By Food Type

  • Meals
  • Bakery and Confectionary
  • Beverages
  • Other Food Types

By Flight Type

  • Full-service Carriers
  • Low-cost Carriers
  • Other Flight Types

By Aircraft Seating Class

  • Economy Class
  • Business Class
  • First-class

By Catering Type

  • Retail on Board
  • Classic Catering

By Flight Duration

  • Long Haul
  • Short Haul

By Regions

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Latin America
  • The Middle East and Africa

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About Straits Research Pvt. Ltd.

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