Finnair has started selling business class-inspired ready meals in supermarkets as it strives to create revenue and keep staff employed during a time of travel downturn.
While the days of refrigerated bread rolls, tin-foil wrapped meals and pretzels at 35,000 feet are on pause, Finnair’s new programme aims to feed travellers’ nostalgia while also securing the jobs of its catering staff, who have been called back from furlough to launch the experience.
The ‘Taste of Finnair’ programme is currently piloting at K-Citymarket Tammisto, a supermarket in the city of Vantaa near Helsinki airport. Pre-packaged ready meals have been designed by the airline’s chefs and prepared at the Finnair Kitchen, also located in Vantaa. The carrier hopes to increase production and expand the programme to other supermarkets if demand allows.
Inspired by the carrier’s routes between Europe and Asia, the menu consists of a fusion of Finnish and Asian cuisine. The menu will change every two weeks and will feature two main course options throughout the week, and an additional starter from Friday to Sunday.
Dishes currently on sale include a starter of roasted carrot and blue cheese mousse with hazelnuts for €5.90, followed by smoked char and chanterelle risotto or teriyaki beef with spring onion and rice – both priced at €12.90. The quantities of salt and spice have been reduced to suit people’s palate on land.
Marika Nieminen, Vice President of Finnair Kitchen, commented on the programme:
“We want to offer the opportunity for a Finnair experience and everyday luxury at home, now that travel has been restricted in many ways.
“At the same time, this is a new business opening for us and employs our chefs in Vantaa. As so many of Finnair Kitchen’s employees are temporarily laid off, the project enables us to create new work and employment for our people.”
Kimmo Sivonen, merchant at K-Citymarket, added:
“It is very important for us to provide our customers with quality food, easily and effortlessly: ready-made portions bring variety to home-made cooking.
“It is especially great to do this with the Finnish flag carrier Finnair. Taste of Finnair meals are high quality dining experience which are handmade in the Finnair Kitchen only five kilometres away from our store.”
Finnair is not the first airline to expand its services beyond air travel amid the coronavirus pandemic. Singapore Airlines has launched a highly popular pop-up dining experience on its A380 aircraft at Changi Airport, while Qantas sold a collection of fully stocked bar carts from retired 747s earlier this year.