Qantas and Virgin Australia have cut back on the number of meals they carry on some overnight flights in a bid to reduce the amount of food that needs to be thrown away.
Qantas is redistributing the food, having signed up as an ongoing food donor of Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, OzHarvest, which delivers food to people in need.
The Qantas meal cutbacks, which were imposed initially last month, will see a 2% reduction in meals carried on some international overnight flights.
On a fully packed A380 “about 10 passengers could miss out on a meal”, the Australian reported.
A Qantas spokesman said catering was constantly monitored and the move would not adversely affect customers as the airline provides alternative meals on flights where demand is unusually high.
Virgin Australia has also trimmed back the number of meals it carries on overnight, international flights, the Australian reported.
The Qantas arrangement with OzHarvest, meanwhile, follows a successful one-year trial that resulted in 35 tonnes of food being redistributed to people in need.
Teams Qantas and Food “ResQ” volunteers at Qantas catering centres in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne have developed a process to collect various untouched food items from domestic flights, which are then picked up by OzHarvest vans and delivered to a range of charitable organisations.
Rescued food from domestic flights includes unopened food items and fruits – such as apples, bananas, muesli bars, breakfast cereal, baked goods and water cups, a Qantas statement said.
“As a premium airline Qantas caters for every passenger on-board however not everyone chooses to eat when they fly, so this food is now collected as part of the Qantas Food ResQ program.”
Executive manager Qantas Freight and Qantas Catering Group, Alison Webster, said the program had proved a huge success so far, with tonnes of food distributed to underprivileged schoolchildren, drought-affected families, refuge centres, youth centres and community causes.
“Every kilogram of food that can be rescued from a Qantas flight saves perfectly edible food from ending up in landfill which not only protects the environment but helps make a positive difference to the lives of those less fortunate,” Webster said.
“The Qantas Food ResQ program is run by a terrific group of volunteers who treasure hunt through the catering boxes on the lookout for packaged items such as sweet treats and whole fruit to salvage.”
Founder and chief executive of OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn is constantly looking for innovative ways to tackle food waste in Australia and says the surplus items saved from the Qantas domestic food boxes make a real difference to those in need.
Written by Peter Needham