Lufthansa has joined fellow group carriers Austrian, Eurowings and SWISS in offering unsold inflight food at a discount to reduce wastage.

The German airline introduced its buy-on-board menu for economy short and medium-haul passengers in 2021, and said that because its fresh food options including salads and sandwiches “are deliberately prepared without colorants or preservatives, they have a short shelf life and must be disposed of if they are not sold on the designated flights”.

As a result Lufthansa has launched a new “Onboard Delights Last Minute” initiative, where passengers on European flights to Frankfurt and Munich will be offered the chance to purchase unsold fresh food at a discounted set price of €3.50.

The move follows the introduction of a pre-order option for buy-on-board items earlier this year.

In addition Miles & More members can now earn and redeem miles when purchasing food and beverages from the Onboard Delights menu, with “at least” one mile being credited per Euro spent.

Lufthansa is targeting a 50 per cent reduction in food waste on short-haul flights by 2025, compared to 2019 levels, with other measures including optimising catering processes and reducing the amount of products held in stock as standard.

Lufthansa Group carrier SWISS was the first to trial selling “surprise” bags of unsold inflight food at reduced prices in 2021, with Eurowings introducing a ‘Happy Hour’ initiative later that year, and Austrian launching a cut price food-to-go service in 2022.

Eurowings ‘Happy Hour’ offers customers half price food in bid to cut waste

Lufthansa said that these initiatives led to around 80,000 food products being consumed in 2022 that would otherwise have been disposed of.