Thai Airways launches frozen food for consumers
Ground catering products go global
Thai Airways International (THAI) plans to expand its ground-based catering business with the launch of frozen food products under the Royal Orchid Gourmet brand, adding new ready-made sauces, basil stir fries and pad Thai via the Eurng Luang brand to the market.
Catering, ground services and cargo handling are profitable businesses for the carrier, earning 3.67 billion baht in revenue in the first quarter this year, a 6.2% increase year-on-year.
Revenue for the core business over the same period dropped 7% to 49 billion baht.
President Sumeth Damrongchaitham said he wants to improve the global standard of THAI's catering service by promoting and expanding new products, especially in frozen food, which has been growing.
THAI is showcasing its ground-based catering service and new products at Thaifex-World of Food Asia, which is running until Saturday at Impact Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi.
This is the first time THAI has a pavilion to display catering products and services. The catering unit runs ground-based operations and in-flight catering, which is responsible for making meals to serve the airline and 50 customer airlines.
Mr Sumeth said THAI is also interested in expanding facilities to produce a greater variety of meals in the future.
The expansions will be made cautiously, possibly with partners, he said.
Above Mr Sumeth, third right, and Ms Varangkana, third left, in front of the Thai Catering booth.
For the time being, THAI wants to assure passengers they will have good, authentic Thai food rather than fusion food when on board, said Mr Sumeth.
"Our premium culinary products are not only simple foods, but represent our national heritage that we would like to pass on to our customers. We plan to put QR codes on packages to provide information about the unique culture of Thai food, which I liken to khon dancing in terms of culture," he said.
This year, revenues from ground-based catering service will rise by 20% to 400 million baht, said Mr Sumeth.
The airline has a 70% market share for global in-flight catering service in Thailand and expects more customers, particularly from airlines with direct flights to Thailand from Europe and East Asia.
Eurng Luang ready-made sauce
Varangkana Luerojvong, managing director of the catering department at THAI, said it will promote its frozen food products for ground catering services in Germany and France, key markets for frozen food consumption in Europe.
For ready-made sauces, the airline plans to penetrate premium markets in Britain and Japan, countries where Thai food is very popular, she said.