Healthy Eating for Travelers

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Healthy Eating for Travelers - The Problem is Now

There has been a noticeable increase in stories about healthy eating options while travelling. For example, a brief overview of more recent articles demonstrates the increasing demand for healthier eating options while travelling: (1) Dietitians Pick Detroit as Healthiest Airport, (2) 14 Healthy Meals at 14 Airports, (3) Five stars for JetBlue’s Terminal 5 and (4) Healthy meals in the sky.

Travelling through airports, business travelers face the usual problem of finding a healthy eating option. Travelers, as one class of consumer, have continued to pay the price in terms of the availability of truly “good, healthy meals”. Throughout the Customer Travel Journey, travelers have experienced the highs and lows in the in airport F&B venues, fast food options at gates, vending areas, airline in flight service (if it exists), global brand restaurant anchors in and around airports, local hotel restaurants and along/ in rapid transit connectors. We’ve all been there.

But change is in the wind. Various global health agencies are making steady progress, making it easier for consumers to eat more healthy food. Assisting this trend are new labelling and nutrient information requirements that will be essential to stay "legal" in some countries- e.g. new requirements (such as Ontario’s Bill 90 under second reading currently) and new advanced allergy labeling laws go into effect August 2012. There are other countries, including the U.S.A., which are implementing similar strategies, many of which are occurring state by state

There will be synergies eventually, but the problem remains a global concern, especially in the travel industry. Airports and airlines are catching on, with many offering new options. Travellers welcome any "attempt" by brands to offer more healthy food choices. Travellers interpret this as being more customer-focused.

Unfortunately, there is still the matter of TRUST as to what is being offered. What’s needed is a global reference for what constitutes “healthy”. It has been seen in various consumer polls, that brands are not necessarily trusted to offer a ‘healthy’ menu. This is due to the misuse of labelling and marketing jargon, as seen in the use of terms such as "Fresh, Light, Healthy, Low or Less salt or sugar". All this descriptive jargon is un-vetted. In many cases, a recognized lab entity has actually done the evaluations on the nutrient values, including the ingredient source(s). This information has not managed to be clearly made available to the consumer in a recognizable format. For example, in Canada, the CFIA found that a majority of nutrient values and hence labelling claims were not based on actual data.

Consumers are rapidly approaching the tipping point when it comes to these highly visible miscues. They are demanding that the Customer Sacrifice Gap be closed. Joe Pine opined in his book, ‘The Experience Economy’ that customer sacrifice is “the difference between what a customer wants exactly, and what the customer settles for”. There is a HUGE opportunity for airports and airlines to close this gap. The opportunity can be extrapolated into increased revenue growth, as the opportunity is identified and addressed.

For the business traveler, healthy eating options is now a critical component of the Passenger Experience Index, which measures, in large part, the Customer Sacrifice Gap.

The Problem is Now - but so is the opportunity.

Written on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 07:17 by Administrator

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