SINGAPORE: Flag carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) said it will use more sustainable ingredients in its in-flight meals as part of its efforts to promote environmental sustainability and support local farmers.
SIA announced its new From Farm to Plane initiative on Wednesday (Oct 11) on the sidelines of the World Gourmet Forum in Kranji.
Under the new initiative, SIA said it will use more sustainable and "meatless" ingredients in its in-flight meals. More local produce, such as cherry tomatoes, pumpkins, green beans and other leafy vegetables will be sourced from farms from both Singapore and destination countries.
The Airlines said it has been using sustainably sourced food products for its in-flight meals where it can. For example, it uses fish from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council for their sustainable practices. It also obtains produce from local farms in countries the airline serves.
SIA’s Divisional Vice President for Customer Experience Betty Wong said the scope of sustainable sourcing so far has been on a smaller scale, depending on the maturity of certain markets.
But the latest initiative could see an expansion in the amount of locally sourced produce for in-flight meals. Ms Wong said the airline will work with its International Culinary Panel, comprising award-winning chefs who create a selection of meals for its Suites Class passengers, as well as catering companies that prepare in-flight meals, such as SATS in Singapore.
“What we do is when we develop meals, we go to our caterers and say these are the ingredients (for the dish),” Ms Wong said.
“(We ask them) do you have local farmers, do you have local produce that can meet the needs of this dish creation? So we are also working with our international culinary panel chef, that when they design meals for us, and the recipes for us, they actually bear that in mind.”
On Wednesday, the ICP chefs were hosted by local farmers in Kranji, where they were shown locally grown vegetables such as Kai Lan and mushroom, and fish such as the golden pomfret and barramundi.
One of the chefs was renowned American chef Alfred Portale.
“Whenever I create the dishes, I try and understand the product change around the world,” Mr Portale said. “I always give the Singapore chefs (at SATS) substitutions. So if I’m doing seafood, and I’m using swordfish (in the original dish), I would recommend that they can do the dish with a snapper or a barramundi. Even the vegetable garnishes are interchangeable.”
The new menus will initially be introduced to Suites customers on selected routes from December, and will progressively be made available to passengers travelling in other classes, the airline said.
Ms Wong said passengers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious, and have requested for “meatless” and sustainably sourced produce in their meals.
Announcing its partnership with Singapore Airlines to offer local produce on SIA flights, the Kranji Countryside Association said that the initiative is a "big milestone".
“It is about time that our local farmers are celebrated internationally and what better way than to offer their produce on one of the world’s best airlines," said the association's president Kenny Eng.
"It makes a great statement that farmers are our pride and joy, just like our national carrier is.”
Going forward, Ms Wong said SIA is also exploring how to convert food waste to biodegradable products such as service-ware.
“That will change the entire cycle of the things we use on board the aircraft,” She said.