Virgin Atlantic soars to sustainable in-flight catering

Virgin Atlantic's global catering operations are to be evaluated and rated for their sustainability credentials by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).

According to the SRA, the airline industry is the latest to respond to consumer demand for conscience free dining and is calling on other airlines to follow Virgin Atlantic’s lead.

This first for the airline industry means passengers, whose dining choices are limited once on the plane, will be more aware of the source of the food they are eating and how it is produced.

Managing director of the SRA, Mark Linehan, said: “We applaud Virgin Atlantic for taking the lead among airlines and look forward to working with them and other airlines to identify and manage the unique sustainability challenges posed by in-flight catering”.

By the end of 2013 the scheme will have been rolled out across Virgin Atlantic’s international markets, so that all of its caterers worldwide will have been rated by the SRA and be working to produce the most sustainable in-flight meals.

Director of customer experience at Virgin Atlantic, Reuben Arnold, said: “Value for money and quality of product are of course hugely important factors, but our passengers now rightly demand that we look beyond that, and ensure we are making the most sustainable choices.

“The SRA ratings will allow us to understand how we and our global suppliers are performing on this front, and how to work closely together to drive improvements,” added Arnold.

The assessment process has already been undertaken by Sir Richard Branson’s airline as part of the bid evaluation for a new service in Lagos, Nigeria laying the groundwork for continual sustainability improvements to be built into future contracts and tendering processes.

Leigh Stringer

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