From time to time we like to ask businesses that have reason to use or sell eggs to give us their views on egg policy. We thought it would be interesting to ask British Airways what their customers can expect when flying with BA. We spoke to Gayle Twigg, British Airways Catering Manager and the article was published in Issue 4 of Chicken & Egg in Spring 2013.
1. Thank you for agreeing to take part in this interview. I enjoyed a very tasty Egg Mayonnaise Sub Roll on a recent BA flight that was made with free-range eggs. Why does BA use free range eggs? Does it make a difference to the BA customer or is it a policy decision?
At British Airways we understand the importance of sustainability. In order to grow as a business and provide our customers with what they want, we always look to source sustainable products and protect the environment. It’s an important part of our business plan.
2. Do you use free range eggs globally or just in the UK?
Wherever possible we use free-range eggs.
3. Are the eggs you use in the UK in-flight service all British? (If not, why not?)
Yes they are.
4. I notice from the British Airways CSR report that sustainability is important to BA, where it states ‘we are looking to source our ingredients locally, which will reduce our global carbon emissions’. I’m sure that reducing carbon footprint is a high priority for an airline, but as the national carrier, is supporting British suppliers also important?
Absolutely and where possible, we will always use British suppliers. We understand the difference companies like British Airways can make to local farmers.
5. How do you work with your catering companies? How much input does BA have into their food procurement?
At our base stations in London we work very closely with our suppliers. British Airways has a food policy, which is used as a guide for all suppliers.
6 .What are your key considerations when devising an in-flight menu?
When we source food for British Airways, provenance is important. We look for seasonal, authentic ingredients for our meals, which are appropriate to the route as well as the length and time of day of the flight. British Airways also concentrates on regional cuisine working with chefs flown in from the specific regions to ensure authenticity.
7. I notice you serve ethically sourced coffee from Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance sources and would be interested to hear more about this initiative. Is it a globally applied policy?
Yes, the coffee is available on flights globally. This initiative links back to our investment in sustainability.
8. Why does airline food generally have such a poor reputation? What are the issues?
It’s a challenging environment that we work in. Often, we have a lot of customers to serve in a very small space. However, British Airways invests in quality ingredients, developing innovative new processes and designing delicious menus. As a result we have received positive feedback from many of our customers as well as awards for service.
9. The British Hen Welfare Trust is lucky to have Jamie Oliver and Antony Worrall Thompson amongst its patrons. How has your collaboration with British chef Heston Blumenthal helped British Airways?
Heston Blumenthal worked with us on a couple of projects including working as a mentor during the Olympics to create a new onboard menu. As a food scientist, Heston helped challenge our thinking. Since we worked with him we’ve invested heavily in researching what works well in the air.
10. How many breakfasts does BA serve up each year? Approximately how many eggs does the airline use?
At British Airways we use 3.5 million eggs a year to provide hot breakfasts out of London alone.
11. And finally, I would love to know a little more about you and ask a couple of personal questions if I may. Do you like hens and would you ever consider keeping hens as pets?!
I would love to have a house in the country which would afford me the space to rear animals, sadly I live in an urban flat and I’m sure the British Hen Welfare Trust would have something to say if I tried to keep them on my balcony!
12. And what is your favourite in-flight egg based meal?
Twice baked cheese soufflé!