Sky-high ambition on a plate
Updated: 2013-10-01 10:09
By Wang Wen (China Daily)
'Chicken rice or beef noodle?"
It may be the most familiar question for passengers on flights in China, and most frequent flyers are sick of the dull in-flight food.
The poor taste of airline food is coming under renewed criticism.
"I did not even want to smell the in-flight meals, during the period I traveled a lot," said Li Qi, a 28-year-old businessman who usually travels in North China.
Workers prepare and package cooked food for in-flight service at Beijing Xinhua Airport Catering Co Ltd, which has about 15 percent of the in-flight food market in the capital. Photos by Zou Hong / China Daily
Flight attendants serve meals on a Shandong Airlines flight from Qingdao in Shandong to Guilin, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Food companies are trying to improve the quality of in-flight food to cater to the taste of passengers. Yu Fangping / For China Daily
Business insiders attribute the bad taste to the cold-chain processes, as the meal must be made in conditions below 20 degrees Celsius.
"It is very hard to make the in-flight meal delicious, because of the production process," said Liu Zhiqiang, general manager of HNA Group's food business division, which is the largest shareholder of E-food Group Co Ltd, the only listed in-flight meal maker in China.
Hot food is cooled to below 20 degrees as soon as it is cooked and reheated by an oven in the air for service.