UAE-based inflight meal booking platform, Nourish, has raised $400,000 of outside capital to create a new IT and logistics network for commercial aviation. Strategic investors from the US, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt participated in the financing.
Nourish has been referred to as the ‘UberEats for Airlines’. The startup will use the funding to expand its supply chain network across multiple airports in emerging markets and enhance its platform by hiring new talent.
The startup’s founder, Tom Eliopoulos, said that with the funding, the company can now improve its services and passengers would be able to get whatever they want on the plane, served to them by the flight attendants.
Airlines are the last frontier for delivery and Nourish believes that passengers everywhere should be able to get exactly what they want on the planes ‘on-demand’. Airlines have typically focused on serving up better food choices to VIP and business class passengers but Nourish is taking special care to build its platform to meet the needs of economy passengers.
“The flight catering and onboard service industry has significant bottlenecks and the rising costs around operations, particularly special meals, are putting pressure on airlines to better serve their customers. The overall trend will likely continue toward creating value streams and even more bespoke customer offerings over the coming decade,” said Neil Ylanan, an equity shareholder, who spent 15 years at LSG Sky Chefs leading their food safety and quality teams in the Americas.
The global market for in-flight catering is projected to reach $21 billion in enterprise value by 2026 and almost 75% of that market is still serviced by less than 10 major suppliers, most of whom are in no rush to innovate or adjust their prices or improve food quality. Many experts agree that the lack of front-end process innovation in the in-flight catering industry has also been a major contributor to the nearly 7 million tons of food and plastic waste caused annually by flight cabin services.
“We are now engaging food delivery platforms and private equity partners who share our vision for establishing a new supply chain network across hundreds of airports in emerging markets,” said Eliopoulos of the company’s 2023 outlook.