Like many other airlines, Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) has had to look for alternative sources of cash over the last 12 months. One of the quirkier outcomes of the past year has been the home delivery of airline food to generate cash. It is an area ANA has done quite well in.
ANA home delivers economy class food
A report by Akiko Katayana in Forbes over the weekend revealed that ANA had pulled in US$1.8 million in just three months from selling airline food – and mostly economy class airline food at that. Over 264,000 meals have been sold.
“Each time we place the meals on our online market site, they sell out within 45 minutes on average,” the airline told the magazine. “Some items were gone in five minutes.”
Monetizing airline food is a particularly Asian shtick. Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, and THAI have all turned to it since the travel downturn. ANA is now also firmly onboard. Interestingly, it’s a trend that hasn’t traveled much outside the region.
Making $1.8 million is nice, but in the airline industry, it doesn’t go far. Selling airline food keeps some of ANA’s catering staff in a job, so that’s one excellent reason to do it. Equally, it’s a handy way to market the airline and boost brand awareness.
ANA embrace the online shopping portal
As it turns out, ANA is a bit of an online closet Harrods. Like a lot of airlines, ANA has an online shopping portal called A-style. Without diving too deeply into it, the portal sells a broad range of products across the fashion, lifestyle, health and beauty, and travel areas. They also sell over 1,000 different types of foodstuffs and wine, including fresh mangoes, wine from Bordeaux, and business class crockery and wine. – pretty much all life’s essentials.
But the big sellers are ANA’s economy class meal packs. Well, to be fair, it’s not all economy class fare. If you hanker after some ANA Lounge chicken curry, they’ll sell you a three-kilogram bag of the stuff for around US$41. A bag that big will keep most people going for a week, but you might be over the ANA lounge feel/taste of it by then.
ANA food sells fast
In that case, there are options. For around double the price, ANA will sell you twelve economy class meals in authentic economy class packaging. You’ll get four servings of Seafood Doria, four servings of deep-fried chicken thighs with goat-style sauce. It sounds hairy, but ANA says, “the texture and sweet and sour taste are irresistible, and there is no doubt that you will be addicted to it.” There are also four servings of ANA’s biggest culinary hit, the beef hamburger steak with special demiglace sauce.
There’s also another alternative. The same price, and also 12 servings. This time you get four servings of gyudon (basically a tub of sweet and spicy beef), four servings of tempura, and four servings of deep-fried chicken seasoned with ginger and garlic. ANA reckons these meals have proved a big hit with passengers in long-haul economy.
There are a couple of sticking points here. You have to live in Japan to avail yourself of this service. Secondly, these meal packs keep on selling out. “The sales on March 17 were sold out,” says the A-style website. Helpfully, they do note there will be more meals on sale this Wednesday.