Etihad Airways is launching a new initiative in a bid to deal with the pressing problem of food waste from inflight service. In partnership with The Concept, a UAE-based product development and design company, it is developing a smart tray called Neos Fly+, which will monitor and feedback passenger dining habits to allow better planning of meals and portions.

What a waste

Sustainability remains at the heart of many airlines’ future plans, whether that be around initiatives for sustainable aviation fuel, alternative propulsion or fleet renewal. But a key sustainability issue that is all-too-often forgotten about is the waste within the cabin.

Research by IATA showed that, on average, every airline passenger generates around 1.43 kilos (3.2 lbs) of waste at the end of every flight. 23% of this was untouched food and drink. Overall, inflight catering generates more than a million tonnes of food waste a year, most of which will end up in landfills or incinerators.

Etihad is one airline that is keenly driving down its environmental footprint. Its ex-ecoDemonstrator ‘Greenliner’ is a visible reminder of its commitment to investing in sustainability. Today, the airline has announced a new initiative to tackle the impact of waste onboard the plane with a ‘smart’ meal tray.

Neos Fly+

IN partnership with UAE startup The Concept, Etihad is working to develop a meal tray that keeps track of what is eaten, and what is wasted. The Neos Fly+ tray will record food consumption habits, helping Etihad analyze customer preferences to find ways to reduce the amount of food wasted onboard.

The tray, which itself is manufactured from recycled cabin waste, works by monitoring food consumption via an IoT chip. This chip feeds back data to a receiver fitted in the cabin trolley. It will provide data on which meal items are consumed, as well as what proportion of that item has been eaten.

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