In-flight beverages go functional

By Nikos Loukas, InflightFeed

The Airline Passenger Experience Association recently wrote an interesting article regarding the ailments associated with flying at high altitudes and changing time zones, such as dehydration, dry eyes, leg pain, and swollen feet. It’s comforting to know that airlines are responding to the wellness/health trend with functional food items. Here are some innovative products which are making their way into the market, some of which are also being provided to cabin crew as part of their crew meals to help them through their work day.

Vitalit Labs
Amsterdam-based Vitalit Laboratories has developed the FlyFit range which is based on superfruit ingredients to fight flying fatique. The product range consists of nutritional bars, vitamin C shots and functional beverages and the company says its goal is to provide airline passengers and crew with a healthy alternative for their onboard snacks and drinks.

FlyFit’s nutritional bars (fibers, vitamins, minerals), anti-oxidant drinks (containing superfruits such as pomegranata and blueberry) and vitamin shot (can be taken without water and contains vitamin C and zinc) aim to boost resistance, prevent dehydration and reduce tiredness and fatigue.

The FlyFit Combo (anti-oxidant drink and nutritional bar) is currently served onboard Air Berlin, as part of their complimentary onboard service. The drinks and bars come ready-packed in a cardboard trolley drawer, so no extra handling from cabin crew is required. Virgin Australia, meanwhile, began offering the nutritional bar on board select flights in Australia as part of their complimentary in-flight snack boxes.

Vitalit Lab’s latest product, called FlyFit Flow, has been developed in cooperation with DSM, which is the world’s largest producer of nutritional and functional ingredients for the beverage industry. FlyFit Flow is a functional beverage high in anti-oxidants that contains Fruitflow as an active ingredient, which according to the companies, is the first ingredient scientifically proven to contribute to healthy blood flow for up to 18 hours. FlyFit Flow will be available by the end of this year.

Cabin crew
It’s not just the passengers who benefit from FlyFit. Cabin crew at UK leisure carrier Thomas Cook, Air Canada’s low-cost subsidiary Jazz, and soon Easyjet are being given some of the range as part of their crew meals to help fight the effects of working at 35,000ft.

Vitalit says it is currently in talks with a large number of airlines to supply passengers and crew with its range of nutritional and functional products.

Flyhidrate
In New Zealand, where people often have to fly very long distances when going abroad, two other companies have also developed functional beverages that are specifically targetted at airline passengers.

Flyhidrate is a beverage system focusing on the stresses and effects of long distance flying: dehydration, radiation exposure and poor circulation. As passengers lose an extra one liter of water for every 5 hours of flying, the drink contains a multi-electrolyte composition which enables more effective fluid retention than drinking water alone. As cosmic radiation is more prevalent at 35,000ft, Flyhidrate provides a range of natural antioxidants and ingredients that help counter free radicals. And, to help improve circulation, the beverages contain a mix of mild, natural anticoagulants which have been found to help with circulation when used in small doses.

The Flyhidrate beverage pack consists of three separate drinks, each targetting a particular phase of the flight: take off (called ‘Boarding Pass’), mid flight (‘Cruise Control’) and prior to arrival (‘Landing Gear’). The focus is on natural ingredients to achieve the functional results and users can expect to taste pomegranate and watermelon in the first drink, forest fruits of elderberry, boysenberry and acai in the second drink, and apple, kiwifruit, green tea and aloe vera in the final beverage.

Flyhidrate is priced at USD15.95 for the long-haul, 3-drink pack (300ml) and USD13.95 for the short-haul (200ml) version, and is currently available at select stores at Auckland International Airport. Flyhydrate says it aims to expand internationally soon.

1Above
1Above is a lightly flavored, low-calorie, drink that aims to reduce dehydration and symptoms associated with deep vein thrombosis. The beverage contains electrolytes, GRAPEFLO (a blend of blood circulation-supporting extracts like those found in red wine), daily nutrients, and B vitamins to help passengers overcome fatigue associated with travel.

1Above recommends that passengers drink 200 to 400ml of the beverage before their flight and 200 to 300ml for each hour of flight. Prior to departure passengers at Auckland International Airport can consult with 1Above staff at their airport store to ensure correct quantities are purchase for their flight. 1Above is also available at WHSmith stores at Sydney and Melbourne airports.

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