BlueSky Business Aviation News

Paula Kraft, founder and President of Atlanta, GA-based Tastefully Yours Catering, continues her guide to the new foods for 2017.

Food Trends for 2017: Part 2

elcome back to food trends 2017 - part two!

I am so excited to share more of what we can expect to see in the way of food trends coming our way, and even the reasons behind the changing way we look at food around the world. Let’s get started.

All of the changes occurring in the food industry lead us to question the reasoning behind the recent movement in our changing eating patterns around the world. The food industry has coined these changes as 'culinary concepts'. These concepts have changed the way we think about food. The way we think is what starts an idea which turns into a movement, then into a trend with a pattern. Technology has pushed ideas into trends faster than ever before.

Beginning with the millennials, then to generation X’ers, it is now powerfully driven by the generation Z’ers. Generation Z is about 50 million strong - currently aged between five and twenty years old. (That’s right, five year old’s are pushing the change in the food industry- WOW!). These kids have been shaped by the recent recession (especially coming from families who have lived through jobless times), with terrorism and war in battling countries. As a result the older Generation Z’ers are willing to work hard for a stable future while living in the moment. They tend to be financially cautious and demand good value from the foods they consume at home or away from home. They seem to hold a disdain for corporate greed, big business and generally don’t trust brands. They want - no demand - transparency.  Generation Z has a global conscience of how their behavior affects the wider world good from their parents, possibly even their grandparents and via social media. Their demand for customization, short preparation time (maybe meal kits/home food delivery), rebalancing their life between work and home, their concern for future generations, the environment, of having food with ethnic roots from most every part of the world at the push of a cellphone button and the desire to live a more healthy wholesome life with less waste; a social conscience to focus on giving back, to purchase goods and services that will create an improved world for the future.

There are new programs every day to achieve their goals; the 'Buy 1 Feed 1', 'Buy a tree - Donate a tree', Gift an animal and teach the recipient how to use the animal to provide more food in depressed areas around the world.


Another 'culinary concept' developing is sustainability demands for everything we eat. Soon, if not already, you will be purchasing fewer cage-free and more pasture-raised products. Halal and Kosher foods will double in availability over the next few years as their belief in the humane treatment of animals becomes part of our thinking. The next 'buzzword' for crops that will appear on packaging is referred to as regenerative grazing/agriculture. It is where different farming practices are used to restore soil degraded by planting and harvesting.  Inner cities and towns will have local mini gardens. Food sources will have their own gardens on rooftops or empty spaces. Restaurants will be 'pick and eat', based on daily availability. The result . . . our way of eating is rapidly moving to a more plant based diet. It will become more fashionable, healthy and ethical. Start now to encourage your food sources to create an assortment of meatless meals and snacks. Your next generation of passengers will be looking for this.


A third culinary concept that has become accepted on menus and on phone apps is called “real” Transparency. Technology, technology and even more technology coming to food. There is actually a new app that provides the nutritional analysis, calorie count, and authenticates the food you have on your plate when photographed.

Notice the lighting in your favorite restaurants. Why? The restaurants realize that lighting can make their food look incredible on a cell phone picture, and they also notice that you are taking more pictures of your food to pass along via social media. They want to stand out! (Not so sure about the aircraft’s interior lighting however).

You should also be seeing the origins and source of the food you order on the menu. I saw this trend begin several years ago with On Air Dining in London providing you the location and farm where they purchase the cheese, the beef and a story of why they choose that product for you. As one source commented about transparent menus:

“Look for the new foodscape to be simple, fresh, to stand out, engage and be multi sensational. Dietitians are attributing the latest shift in consumer food perception to the growing trend of 'mindful eating', a slower and more thoughtful approach to eating. Based on the survey, 49% of dietitians say that consumers will choose mindful eating over dieting. In addition, 59% say consumers will choose to 'eat clean', by looking to consume foods that are less processed and more whole foods such as veggies, fruits, ancient grains and green tea, as well as plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds. Now the goal is 'clean labels' - lists of ingredients consumers can understand and pronounce. The rules have been rewritten and a clean and clear label is the new global standard. The demand for total transparency now incorporates the entire supply chain, as clean labels become more holistic.”

Exciting stuff, right?! What does this mean? As part of this culinary concept we will continue to see greater selections on menus for less processed, clean foods. The use and expectation of heirloom fruits and vegetables will be the norm, kids menus will turn into a healthier choice (after all, they are forcing the change in our culinary expectations) and a trend toward in-house charcuterie, pickles, artesian cheeses, sausages and in-house condiments full of spice and flavor will be widely available from your catering sources. (By the way, watch out for more curry spices, paprika, black cardamom, cumin, and turmeric. All three of these spices are included in curry powder to create pungent flavors on the tip of your tongue. Regional dishes will elevate so you can finds tastes of the world, and your regular dishes will be revitalized.

This is time to wake up those taste buds! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone here. It's all about Back-to-Basics, simplicity natural ingredients, clean menus.

Watch the Flexitarian eating program take leaps in popularity

It falls in numerous trends because it has so much more flexibility (hence its name) or maybe it has created the trend over the past year or two? In 2017, your passengers and crews will embrace a new, personalized version of healthy eating that’s less rigid than typical Vegan, Paleo, gluten-free and other 'special diets' that have gone mainstream. I'm sure you know one of your passengers or crew that aren’t vegan but prefer some vegan dishes over the richer, fattier ones. Everyone has their own personal likes and dislikes. In our kitchen our chef is a flexitarian eating no meat, but eats chicken and seafood, some will eat beans and legumes, others won’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to offer everyone you serve on board a meal they personally want.


Yep, this is a trending topic for 2017 as well. The global food industry is attempting to raise awareness of food waste. This trend is driven because we're seeing a rapid population growth and an increasing scarcity of food supplies. This trend is referred to as minimizing waste with 'Root to Leaf' and 'Nose to Tail'. What does this mean?

Your creative food sources/chef’s around the globe will spring into action and create dishes using various cooking practices to cut down on food waste using every single part of the plant root to leaf and the animal nose to tail. For those of you dealing with food waste on the aircraft, technology and catering apps will allow you to comment on the amount of food waste and leftovers on board so you can cut the quantity for your next order . . . saves money and waste. It may even provide enough data that the food source itself can reduce portions provided on their menu items at your passengers and crews request.

Enhanced Foods are also on the radar for 2017

These are foods that provide an extra healthy boost or added incentive to consume. Enhanced food goes beyond protein brownies and trail mix breakfast bars.

It’s far more than just adding protein to just about every food category. Look for increased Matcha products, enhanced butters, beets, botanicals and Oh YES, edible cannabis. There are actually cookbooks out now filled with recipes for everything from appetizers, salads, beverages and cocktails, entrees, soups to desserts containing cannabis.

The laws of different countries and states regulate its use, distribution (moving cannabis on a private plane from one location to another) check the laws before you or your passengers indulge.

Here's a hot one for you to ponder: The next natural food dye is also an energy shot - Spirulina. Blue-green algae called spirulina are often sold as a health supplement at vitamin shops or as an energy shot in smoothies. But now they are being harvested for use as a natural blue- green dye. Talk about enhanced foods . . .

Cannibus strawberry pancakes, red velvet cupcakes, sodas


Here is a trend that I must admit, I really have a hard time imagining it occurring in our industry. Drones preforming a catering delivery. Crazy right? There are restaurants currently experimenting with drones delivering catering. The reviews are especially positive and the idea for the next generation of consumers will take off (get it - take off!). It is a fuel and labor cost saving, not to mention a time savings. Can you imagine this happening at an airport? It's hard to imagine that future regulations would ever permit the airspace in and around airports to be used by drones, but we'll have to wait and see.


One of my favorite subjects, desserts. Big changes will occur in this segment of our catering. Your passenger and crew demand is increasing for less sweet desserts, so imagine this - Savory Desserts. That’s right, as chefs around the globe experiment with adding spices to their dessert to bring down the sweetness, and pump up the flavor, we will enjoy savory desserts. I actually had to do a bit of research on this topic. I had my beginnings in pastry and this never entered my mind. Why would anyone add cayenne pepper or black pepper to something sweet? This year, we will all find ourselves thinking about lighter flavors, most likely a bit more tartness found in citrus, pistachio, coconut and pineapple. To say the least, a bit more memorable. Passengers and crews will also be looking for more low-sodium and sugar-free options in 2017, lighter sweetenings in food and beverages.


Black pepper cheesecake with rhubarb sorbet, rhubarb-celery confiture and celery leaf gelée.

Celery root "cannelloni" with white chocolate, pomelo sorbet and cocoa nibs.

Tart apple pizza with salted caramel ice cream.

Double Chocolate Cake with black pepper boiled icing .

To sum it all up, exactly what are the 2017 food trends in order for you to plan menus for your passengers and crew that are on the cutting edge?

  • Seeds, like chia and hemp
  • Avocado
  • Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts
  • Seeds. They bring a natural source of flavor, texture and health, including a high protein content and your passengers and crews are looking to benefit
  • Fermented foods like yogurt, pickles, kimchi for gut health
  • Ancient grains . . . and there are more to come
  • Kale, but with an increase use of collard greens
  • Green tea, matcha tea
  • Coconut products. Coconut Everything. Virtually every component of this versatile fruit-nut-seed (did you know that coconuts qualify for all three!?) is being used in new ways
  • Exotic fruits- what is exotic in one area, may be common place in another. Dragon fruit (pitaya) is prominent fruit. It’s the new acai with its powerful antioxidant content. The bright beautiful pink skin in NOT edible
  • Salmon continues . . .
  • Spices will heat things up. The spices of India and Southeast Asian curries, including Mexican chilies, tamarind, lemon grass, turmeric (Turmeric in warm milk will calm a cough), ginger, coriander (also called cilantro), black cardamom (alleviates respiratory issues and chest congestion), kaffir lime and cumin. Cumin possesses an abundance of iron and helps boost the digestive and immune system), cinnamon, cloves, caraway mustard seed, citrus juices and zests (fresh of course), as well as shrimp paste. (alleviates respiratory issues and chest congestion) talk about enhanced foods . . . might want to keep a small amount of these on board.
  • Souping is the next juicing. Instead of smoothies and juicing, nowadays it’s all about soups. Watch for an upcoming article about souping, a year round healthy food choice
  • Protein rich snacks- watch out sardines here we come.

And the next superfood?

Moringa. Move over kale, there’s a new super green. The leaves of the Moringa Oleifera tree, grown in Haiti, parts of Latin America and Africa, are drawing interest from trend watchers for their nutritional content. Bake it, eat it raw, make a dried powder from the leaves, add it to dips, spreads, omelets . . . too numerous to mention here.


Passengers and crews aren’t just asking themselves what they’d like to eat, but also how meals can stretch their dollar, euro or pound. How to reduce food waste, save time and be healthier all at once.

Now you have the answer . . . 2017 food trends.


Let me introduce myself . . . 

My name is Paula Kraft and I am founder and President of Tastefully Yours Catering, an aviation specific caterer, located in Atlanta, Georgia for over 35 years.

Aviation Catering is a science not taught in Culinary School; it’s a function of experience, experimentation, basic trial and error, with constant feedback from flight crews and clients. It is a two-way communication. It is vital that this information and knowledge be shared throughout the industry. To this end, I have worked as the Chairman of the NBAA Caterer’s Working Group, a subcommittee of the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee, the NBAA Caterer Representative to the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee, for 9 years. 

Currently I am an active member of the NBAA Flight Attendant Committee Advisory Board and the NBAA International Flight Attendant Committee, Women in Corporate Aviation, Women in Aviation International, National Association of Catering Executives, International Flight Catering Association, the International Food Service Association and the International Caterer’s Association.

I have coordinated training programs and clinics for NBAA, EBAA and BA-Meetup conference attendees for over 10 years, created mentoring programs for caterers and flight attendants to broaden their aviation culinary skills, and to assist them in adapting to the unique challenges and constraints found in catering for general aviation. I recognize the need for training and have worked closely with flight departments, flight crews, schedulers and customer service reps at the FBOs to ensure that catering specific training provides information and skills necessary to reduce risk while assisting them in their job duties that include safe food handling, catering security, accurate transmission of food orders, and safe food production, packaging and delivery.

I fell into aviation catering quite by accident. I was the in-house caterer and bakery supplier for Macy’s department stores in Atlanta when catering was ordered for a Macy’s customer which was soon to change my life. After the client enjoyed the catering provided, I was summoned to the client’s corporate office to provide several of the items delivered through Macy’s to the executive dining room. Within a week, I was providing food for the flight department and my first order was for the President of a foreign country (as I was too be told soon after). So, here I am, some 35 years later, still loving every minute of every day in aviation catering.

Got a question?

Paula welcomes your comments, questions or feedback


©BlueSky Business Aviation News | 12th January 2017 | Issue #399
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