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In-flight Meal Services Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Aircraft Class (Economy Class, First Class, Business Class), By Food Type (Packaged Fresh Meals, Ready-to-prepare Meals, Snacks, Beverages, Others) and Regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Region :Global | Report ID: FBI103225 | Status : Ongoing



The global in-flight meal services market is witnessing robust growth due to the rising number of passengers travelling via flights. In-flight catering provides food service to airline companies that involve in providing meals for passengers on-board as well as restaurants situated at airport terminals. Continuously rising consumer disposable incomes and a desire to explore new places have led to boom in travel and the need to consume away from home, which is driving the market growth.

Airlines across the globe are differentiating themselves by setting a reasonable price range for meals on-board to enhance the overall passenger’s travel experience, thereby providing a better overall in-flight experience. The increase in adoption of online platforms for meal booking by the major airline companies is expected to fuel the growth of the market. The rising trend of offering customized meals to passengers has proven beneficial for the market players in improving customer satisfaction levels.

The rise in automation of the in-flight catering system and improvement in catering management has enabled airlines to offer rich passenger experience. Airlines are also focusing on providing tailored services to the on-board customers such as pre-ordered meal services. For instance, In February 2020, American Airlines has extended its pre-ordered meal service to the premium cabin passengers on regional American Eagle flights. The service aims to provide region specific meals to passengers.

Key Market Driver -

Increasing Innovations in On-board Meal Menus

Key Market Restraint -

Stringent Quality Regulations for In-flight Meals

In-flight food is subjected to the approval of food quality and safety organizations. The stringency in food quality regulations for in-flight meals act as an impediment to variety of different options and innovations – the greater the number of ingredients, the stringent is the quality assurance operation. Such high level of stringency is hampering the full-fledged growth of the market.

Key Players Covered:

LSG Lufthansa Service Holding AG, Dubai National Air Transport Association (dnata), Gategroup, Ambassador’s Sky Chef, Perth In-flight Catering, Newrest Group International S.A.S, Do & Co., Flying Food Group LLC, Saudi Airlines Catering Company, and Royal In-Flight Catering are the leading companies operating in the global in-flight meal services market.

The global in-flight meal services market is segmented by aircraft class, food type and geography. Economy class is projected to witness strong growth in foreseeable years. The key factor driving the growth is the affordable ticket price as compared to the other classes, ultimately attracting the wide traveller base. The airlines are introducing low-cost meals in economy class to boost growth of the segment. For instance, in March 2019, Qatar Airways introduced an upgraded meal option, ‘Quisine’ for an enhanced economy class dining experience.

The packaged fresh meal segment is expected to witness substantial growth due to the increased demand for ready-to-eat whole meals by travellers in long-duration flights. The leading in-flight meal service providers are focusing on offering culturally diverse meals to attract more passengers. The increasing demand for healthy and nutritious meals from passengers as well as consumer willingness to pay a relatively higher price for such meals is expected to drive the growth of the market.

Regional Analysis:

North America is projected to witness robust growth owing to the rising number of tourists travelling via airlines in the region. The rising income levels and willingness to pay for in-flight meals is expected to drive the growth in North American countries.

Europe is expected to witness promising growth. The increasing demand for healthy and organic meals is driving the innovations in meal services. The increasing airline collaborations with professional catering services are expected to fuel the growth of the market in the region. The key companies are expanding their business by acquiring region specific players. For instance, In December 2019, gategroup acquired European operations of Lufthansa Service Holdings and initiated a long-term catering contract with Lufthansa, including main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.

Asia Pacific is expected to witness strong growth on account of the vast culinary preferences from passengers in various countries. The improving tourism in the region is driving the tourist visits from all over the world. The increasing number of customers for airlines in the Asia Pacific is expected to fuel the growth of in-flight catering providers in the region. The key players are focused on the expanding in Asia Pacific for further growth. For instance, In April 2018, Dubai-based air service provider dnata acquired Qantas Catering to expand its in-flight catering business in Australia.

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By Aircraft Class

  • Economy Class

  • First Class

  • Business Class

By Food Type

  • Packaged Fresh Meals

  • Ready-to-prepare Meals

  • Snacks

  • Beverages

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico)

  • Europe (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, U.K., Russia, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia Pacific (China, India, Japan, Australia, and Rest of Asia Pacific)

  • South America (Brazil, Argentina, and Rest of South America)

  • Middle East & Africa (South Africa, UAE, and Rest of ME&A)

Key Industry Developments

  • In February 2020, gategroup company, Gate Gourmet, has further expanded its reach across Asia with the launch of services in Indonesia. The company will start with the introduction of airline catering services on the holiday island of Bali, which will act as a catalyst for establishing further in-flight services across the country.

  • In January 2019, Dubai-based air services provider dnata has enhanced its global catering operations with the opening a new facility in Canberra, to expand its presence in Australia by providing in-flight catering to commercial airlines as well as charter airlines carrying VIPs, government officials and military.

  • Ongoing
  • 2023
  • 2019-2022

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