Turning food & beverage trends into onboard retail reality

Although food and beverages served on board are being scaled back at the moment due to travel restrictions and fear of COVID-19, we believe that the onboard retail business will expand in the future.

More and more airlines will introduce retail elements as they transition from traditional catering to onboard retail, and we’re here to help them navigate change.

Retail inMotion’s award-winning portfolio

We pride ourselves on our portfolio of innovative brands and products that deliver the WOW factor and differentiate our customers from the competition by offering passengers exclusive products that create a unique brand experience.

We’ve had our share of revolutionary ideas that went on to become great products. We invented SuprLid, a portable cafetiere that sits on top of a standard 12oz or 8oz paper cup and filters real ground coffee, and we created the unique packaging of our Boxerchips, which allows airlines to fit as many products as possible into trollies due to the dimensions of the box.

Last year, we received a prestigious Onboard Hospitality Award for the SWISS Saveurs program, which we developed and managed in partnership with Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS). The introduction of the cheese fondue in particular received a lot of attention, with articles in several Swiss newspapers and national TV coverage.

Furthermore, we introduced the Doner Kebab in the Eurowings Catalogue Autumn/Winter 2019, which marked the first time Doner Kebabs were included in buy-on-board menus. The introduction of this beloved street food dish also received a lot of attention from the German media.

From idea to product

As you can see, we are truly dedicated to the idea of turning food & beverage (F&B) trends into products that passengers can enjoy on board.

But how do we know which trends to follow? According to Viola Hara, Category Manager Food & Beverage Onboard Retail at Retail inMotion, research is key to staying up to date in this ever-changing industry. The team visits food fairs and store checks, reads food reports, subscribes to relevant newsletters, participates in webinars (now more than ever!) and interdisciplinary workshops, and networks with suppliers. Given that Retail inMotion is a global company, our international teams exchange best practices and learn from each other’s experiences.

“We’re always in contact with our airline customers, and they help us define suitable trends,” Viola added. “Plus, we’ve been in the industry for quite some time and we’ve learned to differentiate between trends and fads.”

Moreover, we always take into consideration the brand of the respective airline, as well as the passenger profile when defining the trends and choosing the most suitable brands.

Store check in Zürich


Store check fresh food Dallas airport


Store check Dublin Airport


Food fair in London

Innovation through collaboration

“When you collaborate closely with an airline customer, you become familiar with the passenger profile and the values of said airline, so we usually know which product is suitable for whom,” Viola commented.

Our customers are open to innovation, which makes our collaboration easier and better. Plus, buy-on-board allows us and our clients to be flexible. Of course, airlines want to be the first to offer their passengers that signature item that no other airlines has. There are risks to transforming trends into actual products but even if the item does not have the expected impact, we have the possibility to correct that and change it with something else in the next cycle. 

We know that every passenger is unique and we proved that even though it’s ambitious to bring Swiss Fondue or a Doner Kebab on board, these products create a lot of buzz and many passengers love the idea of taking food that you normally eat in a restaurant or on the street to the skies.

#TheNewNormal: Rethinking onboard retail

We’ve talked a lot about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the airline industry and our company and how it has forced many businesses to rethink their strategy.

We had to rethink our patterns such as product selection, printed menus and pre-order. We are in constant communication with our airline customers and we’re considering options that will make passengers more comfortable with the idea of flying while minimizing the contact between crew and them. One such example is going digital – replacing printed menus with digital ones – or adjusting menus, which refers to measures such as having a double-sided flyer instead of a full menu or adding a QR code on the front page.

Many industries have been touched by the pandemic but our field has been completely (and maybe forever) changed. Before COVID-19, flying was somewhat normal for many people and some passengers flew regularly and, therefore, got to know the buy-on-board menus very well. Even though our cycle changes every 3-6 months, we managed to find ways to surprise them with signature items, products that are regional and/or sustainable, etc. “Storytelling is crucial, especially for new products,” emphasized Viola. “This is why our menus are more than an enumeration of products; we explain the background of a product, how it came to be and the idea behind listing certain products.”

In 2020, we won “Catering Innovation of the Year” at the Onboard Hospitality Awards for the second time in a row, and we had four wins in four different categories – “Catering Innovation of the Year”, “Best in Sustainability”, “Best Onboard Beverage” and “Best Snack First/Business Class” – out of 44 entries in total. We strongly believe that the award variety reflects our diverse skills and offers at Retail inMotion and we are committed to innovation during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Meet Trish Costelloe

Chief Customer Officer

I am an innovative customer centric leader, passionate about people, quality, and the customer. I love that I am empowered here at Retail InMotion to lead our teams to deliver value to the customer. We use our global market expertise and insights to make a difference by driving out impactful innovative solutions. My focus is to partner with our people and customers to drive out and deliver a best-in-class customer experience, the opportunity to lead and transform that experience is what excites me on a day to day basis.

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There is never a dull day working at Retail inMotion, our industry is in a rapid transformation which means the pace is fast and often complex but what I love most about facing these challenges is the people I get to work with every day. Our people are diverse and multicultural and this inevitably creates teams where new ideas and solutions are created – leading these teams is the most rewarding experience.

Laura Rösges


Of course, working in a growing company with international colleagues & customers is great - However, what truly delights me, are the teams and personalities working at RiM turning customer ideas into flying concepts! At RiM, there's always room to bring in new ideas on how to reimagine onboard experiences or try out new approaches to drive our business, which I simply love.

Meet Iarfhlaith


As the CTO at RiM, I am responsible for the global technology strategy. While overseeing Product, Engineering, Delivery, IT Ops and Security, I also enjoy the challenge of scaling RiM's technology capabilities for the next phase of growth for the company, and building a high performance organisation to deliver it.

Meet Colin

I am working at RiM since 2015. Watching how the customer base and solution grow into the industry leader during this time still gives me immense pride. It is still, all those years later, truly a special place to work. Without sounding cliché - every day brings something new, usually a new problem we need to resolve. Part of the RiM DNA is problem solving ability and doing this with our teams gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Meet Mir

Head of Retail NAM Region

Best thing about working for RiM is the team of creative, spontaneous and hardworking people that create a memorable Inflight experience for our clients and their guests onboard. We have a very unique culture that encourages each team member to bring their best out for our clients. We all enjoy our jobs and believe in our purpose which makes every work day fun and exciting. As they say there is “never a dull moment” at Retail inMotion.

Meet Michelle

Retail Director

I love working at RiM because the culture of our company means that everyone has a voice and we are all part of the difference we make together. We are free to make changes as part of a team and also as part of the Retail inMotion family. Travel retail involves so much more than I ever could have imagined and every day is different, exciting, challenging, and sometimes even a bit crazy.

Meet Sara

Head of OBR EMMA Region

I love working here especially because of the opportunities I was able to experience in different parts of the world and with different colleagues. These past years here have been a lot of work, growth and fun, and this is why we keep working together. Much more yet to come!

Meet Robert

Head of Retail APAC Region

RiM provides me with an environment and culture that empowers myself and my teams. Innovation and creativity are key to this culture and lead to a challenging but highly rewarding career. My role allows me not only to lead business development in my region but also to implement and then ensure performance standards for new business opportunities, so no day is every really the same, the diversity of challenges is a key driver of my personal and professional fulfilment with RiM.

Meet Stephanie

Global Head of HR

I love working here because I have been given the freedom to drive my purpose in life, which is to show people that they can belong and be supported, whilst having a satisfying and successful career. I am incredibly proud of my People Success Team, we have created an environment where each of us thrives and we work hard together to continue spreading that experience throughout the company.

Meet José

Head of Onboard Retail Europe and Managing Director Retail inMotion GmbH

RiM for me is not only the company I work for but part of my family. I had the chance to build up a team from 6 people to more than 100. More than 50% of the team I interviewed and hired myself. Apart from this, it is the inflight and travel retail industry which offers me the opportunity to work with a totally diverse universe of people and challenges me operationally and strategically every day. This is why I love working at Retail inMotion.

Meet Roy

In House Counsel

I love being a part of a global, committed, innovative, and diverse community bringing our customers and their passengers a better inflight experience.