12th December 2017 | Shangri-La, Abu Dhabi

The Mercurys is the most prestigious award in travel catering, worldwide. It is sought after by the best and most pro-active companies in the industry. The 36th edition of The Mercurys will be held alongside SIAL Middle East in December 2017.



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Deadline to enter (Presentation in Abu Dhabi): 8th December 2017
Product presentation in Abu Dhabi alongside SIAL Middle East at ADNEC Abu Dhabi: 11th December 2017
Gala dinner & award ceremony at Shangri-La Abu Dhabi: 12th December 2017


- Submitting an entry will require detailed information about your product(s)/service(s) including innovative features, product summary etc. Click here to see the Mercurys 2017 Entry Form for reference.
- In case you have don't have all the necessary information available, you can still book an entry presentation slot as they are limited.
- Once you have submitted an entry or booked an entry presentation slot, an invoice for US$ 680 will be sent across. Payment can be made using a credit card.

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The airline meal has evolved over the decades and to this day still has a major impact on overall passenger experience, often leaving a long lasting impression. This category will explore the meals served in Economy class and Premium classes of various airlines. Following a broad but relevant set of judging criteria, the panel will assess which meals offer a memorable on-board dining experience to the passenger, whilst remaining practical and cost effective for the airline. A tasting session will take place during the finalist’s presentation..

1a) Airline Meal - Economy class

Here we refer to a full meal that would be classed as either Breakfast Lunch//Dinner or Supper Item and not a snack service. This can be any offering in Economy or Premium Economy. It is not restricted to complimentary meals services but can apply to purchased or pre-ordered meals as these are specifically for Economy or Premium Economy cabins. Meals may be hot or cold or a combination of items if a complete tray service is being submitted.

1b) Airline Meal - Premium class

Here we refer to a full meal that would be classed as either Breakfast Lunch//Dinner or Supper Item and not a snack service. This can be any offering in Business or First. It is not restricted to complimentary meals services but can apply to purchased or pre-ordered meals as long as these are specifically for Business or First Class cabins. Meals may be hot or cold or a combination of items if a complete service is being submitted.

Weighting: Taste 30%, practicality 25%, presentation 20%, nutritional value 15% and environmental impact 10%


High-end food and beverage products and equipment are all very well, but without an exceptionally well thought out philosophy and a finely tuned delivery process, passenger satisfaction levels will rarely soar. This category will explore in depth everything from the conception to the end product delivered, the judges will specifically be looking out for the service that sets itself apart from others and excels in every aspect. We looking for innovation as well as practicality and impact. A demonstration as far as is possible will take place during the finalist’s presentation.

2a) Service Concept - Economy class

Innovation and radical ideas is not an easy task in this highly cost-sensitive and high volume area of Airline hospitality. We are looking specifically for ideas and concepts that make your service stand out from the crowd without impeding on crew efficiency. We are also looking for ideas that improve crew efficiency without impeding on passenger experience. This category covers all aspects of the interface between crew, passenger and the meal experience and extends beyond the meal to overall concept, theme and service – but food and/or beverage service must be an element of the concept.

2b) Service Concept - Premium class

The premium cabins are the flagship identifiers of Airline hospitality. Airlines frequently use their J and F class services to attract passengers in all classes. We are looking specifically for ideas and concepts that offer the best passenger experience and that is workable from both a crew and supplier point of view. This category covers all aspects of the interface between crew, passenger and the meal experience and extends beyond the meal to overall concept, theme and service – but food and/or beverage service must be an element of the concept.

Weighting: Innovation 30%, Practicality 25%, presentation 20%, taste 15% and environmental impact 10%


By 2018 the global inflight catering industry is expected to be worth a staggering US$19 billion and therefore proves to be an attractive target market for many mainstream food manufacturers. With high barriers of entry it’s more often than not an impossible market to penetrate. This category will provide a platform for world class food products to be recognized by the industry for the industry. The panel will pick out the winners from 3 sub-categories to identify the Best Snack, Best Food Product and Best Dessert of 2017. A tasting session will take place during the finalist’s presentation.

3a) Food Product - Snack

Snack Items in this category refer to any convenience food item that is not a full meal. Examples are sandwiches, pasties, crisps, biscuits, health bars, mini boxes like cheese and crackers mix, trail mixes, nuts etc. Items MUST be individually consumable. Pot Noodles, reconstituted breakfast items are in this category. Items may be sweet or savoury, hot or cold.

3b) Food Product - Savoury

This category is open to all food products that can be used to create dishes like new or innovative raw materials, cuts of meat, vegetables, or grocery items. Pates, pies, galantines, and also applicable, as are food items that feature either as component like a stuffed chicken breast or salad ideas that go with other items like a coleslaw.

3c) Food Product - Sweet

This category is open for all new produce and products that can be used in manufacture of sweet items i.e new innovations in components of ingredients. They can also be finished products e.g. yoghurts, ice creams, cakes or pastries.

Weighting: Taste 40%, quality 25%, practicality 15%, packaging 10% and environmental impact 10%


Most passengers will agree that beverages, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic play an important role in the on-board dining experience. Just like food, beverage products also have to meet strict criteria in order for them to be consumed in flight. There are some great beverage products found on the ground today, this could be your opportunity as a manufacturer to get your beverage in the air. A tasting session will take place during the finalist’s presentation.

Weighting: Taste 30%, presentation 30%, practicality 20%, packaging 10% and environmental impact 10%


Maintaining the quality and variety of meals whilst working under the constraints of strict regulation on space and weight makes on board catering a meticulous job. The equipment used to transport, preserve, heat and serve food and beverage is critical to the operation. This category is for the entry of all types of equipment that promote and enhance the overall service from delivery to the aircraft to the passenger’s tray table.

5a) Equipment – Production

This category is open to any and all products that support and facilitate the production and delivery of Airline Catering, but excludes actual interface with the passenger. Examples are handling equipment, meal carts, production equipment, airline ovens, service delivery equipment.

5b) Equipment – Passenger

This category is open to any and all products that interface with and enhance the passenger experience. Examples are tableware, cutlery, trays, tray-set items, at-seat service equipment.

Weighting: Functionality 50%, build quality 30% and environmental impact 20%


Each additional product entry will be charged at USD 300. Please note that you will receive only 2 tickets to the gala dinner ceremony regardless of how many entries are submitted. To purchase additional tickets to the gala dinner ceremony the cost will be USD 150 each. 

** If for any reason you are unable to attend the product presentation, a video presentation can also be submitted. This is only applicable for entries where tasting is not required. If the product is equipment, the entrant should arrange for a sample to be couriered to Abu Dhabi for judging. For more information please contact our team.

  • All entries must be made on the website – click here to submit your entry.
  • Incomplete forms will not be accepted.
  • Each entry must be submitted separately.
  • The Mercurys Judging Panel may request documentary proof from an existing customer to support any claims made by the entrant.
  • The Mercurys Judging Panel reserves the right to disqualify any validated entry if it does not comply with the rules. The decisions of the Mercury Award committee and of The Mercury judging panel are final.



Jeremy Clark
Chef, Airline Catering Consultant, V.P. Inflair, V.P. African Catering Enterprises, Writer/Columnist

Jeremy began his Chef training at a top London Hotel School rounding off with an apprenticeship in Zürich Switzerland. He worked in a number of 5 Star hotels in UK and Switzerland in various kitchen and front-of-house positions before discovering a love for the Airline Hospitality industry.


Happy - Keerthi Hapugasdeniya
Founder/CEO, APOT.Asia (Asia Pacific On Board Travel)

Mr Keerthi Hapugasdeniya better known as happyK, Sri Lankan born Keerthi graduated and started his career in Colombo then move to Switzerland and to Australia. World class award winning Chef happyK is the managing director of happyK solutions and is one of the leading In-flight and food service providers to many Airlines and hospitality institutions. 



Mirko Brenzinger
Senior Manager Catering Commercial Planning, Etihad Airways

Mirko Brenzinger serves as Senior Manager Catering Commercial Planning at Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi. He is responsible for management of commercial aspect of global catering business of Etihad Airways including change management, Financial Planning & Budget, Equipment development, inventory planning & forecasting, Catering service & product tenders, contract management, catering systems & business processes.



Simon Heppner
Founder & Director, The Sustainable Restaurant Association

Simon is an Associate Director at Good Business, Europe's leading responsibility consultancy and Founder and Director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Following an early career managing restaurants in London, Simon spent seven years working in remote and offshore infrastructure in locations such as East Timor, the Congo and Curacao before founding The SRA in 2010.



Werner Kimmeringer
Managing Director Global Catering Services & Logistics - Culinary Master Chef and Inflight Service Management Specialist with 39 years of experience

Werner Kimmeringer is a multifaceted Business Leader with extensive experience in all aspects of management, including the strategic planning and execution, culinary expertise, supply chain, project management, human resources, and product & service development.



Mark Tazzioli
Menu Design Manager - British Airways

Mark has joined The Mercurys judging panel for London product presentations. Mark started his career working as a chef for the London Intercontinental Hotel , then moved onto other prestigious Hotels and restaurants in London and Luxembourg. In 1988, Mark joined British Airways in London and ended up as Business Controller in charge of Food production at the BA catering facility. 


George Banks

Author of Gourmet & Glamour in the Sky & Airline Catering Professional
George has joined The Mercurys judging panel for London product presentations. A life long airline catering professional having worked in the Indusrty from 1971 till 2015, for four major airlines. Gulf Aviation based Bahrain 1971-1972,as a Trainee Assistant Catering Manager, British Caledonian [BCAL] from 1973 to 1988, as Regional Catering Representative/later Manager for UK Europe, Africa, USA, Middle and Far East.


Pam Suder-Smith

Director of Sales - gategroup
Pam has worked in the aviation industry in Sr. Leadership positions at Caterers (Gate Gourmet, Ogden Aviation), Suppliers (Pourshins, Supplair) and Airlines (MGM Grand Air, Air America, Hawaii Express, and Braniff). Prior to working in aviation Pam worked in the restaurant industry opening restaurants in America and Japan. Growing up in Oregon where the farm to table movement has been thriving for decades, Pam developed her love of cooking while taking advantage of the bounties of each season. For hobbies she loves running, hiking, and cycling.




Airline Meal - Economy Class
Chicken Tikka Masala with Pea Pulao & Daal Tadka - DSI Foods

The taste and quality of the Chicken Tikka Masala by DSI Foods was an outstanding example of a classic dish that was awarded best Airline Meal Economy Class, enticing judges by the fullness and flavour.

“Mercury Awards is the Oscar of the Airline Industry. The team at DSI foods is thrilled with this achievement, and it is extremely motivating for us to share the stage with big names in the industry. Our winning dish Chicken Tikka Masala has been tastefully developed to appeal to a wide spectrum of passengers. It meets all the four quality attributes namely appearance, aroma, taste & texture. This recognition in the global arena has opened a new chapter for DSI foods,” stated Puneet Arora, Deputy Managing Director, DSI Foods 

Airline Meal - Premium Class
Textured Dessert - Etihad Airways

The Airline Meal Premium Class award was taken by Etihad for a special range of dessert offerings focusing on textures around a single flavour. The judges were impressed by the well-presented innovative dessert plates that featured flavours from raspberry, elderflower to beetroot with a sponge, a parfait and jelly.

Service Concept - Economy Class
Qantas International Dining Experience - Qantas Airways

The radical approach of Qantas new economy won best Service Concept Economy Class for their Qantas International Dining experience that resulted in larger meals for the passenger and easier management by the crew. 

Service Concept - Premium Class
Super Food Salad - Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways’ Super Food Salad won the Service Concept – Premium Class demonstrating careful design and thought into not just the flavour combination but the well-being of the passenger

“We recognise the Mercury Awards as being the most prestigious awards of in-flight catering, the Oscars of the industry, and are very proud to have received the award for Best Premium Service Concept 2016,” commented Lorna Green, Manager Communications – Customer Experience, Qatar Airways.

Food Product - Snack
Chinese BBQ Style Chicken Savoury Pastry - Monty's Bakehouse

The Monty’s Bakehouse impressed the judges with their Chinese BBQ Style Chicken Savory Pastry packed in a convenient hand-held oven-friendly box, setting the snack apart from other entrants in the Food Product – Snack category. This product was a step beyond the usual hot snack offerings, impressing the judges by the quality of packaging and the product.

“For the team in the UK and Abu Dhabi to be honoured by such a prestigious award is very exciting. This award reinforces the excellence of our Culinary Design Team and cements our position as an industry leader,” said Lucy Stowell, Senior Manager Marketing & Insight, Monty’s Bakehouse.

Food Product - Savoury
Sweet Potato Fries - Source Foods | Green Gourmet

Green Gourmet captivated the judges by serving sweet pot fries on the aircraft. With extensive research and clever use of packaging, Green Gourmet solved the problem of soggy fries and took home the Food Product -Savory item award.

“Winning a Mercury award for our Sweet Potato Fries provides an excellent stage to introduce a delicious and unique eating experience on board and showcase this innovative product to the airline catering industry.” Tom Kanchanawat, Business Development Manager, Green Gourmet

Food Product - Sweet
Dione Premium Ice Cream Bar - AB Klaipedos

AB Klaipedos was recognised in the Food Product - Sweet category for the Dione Premium Ice Cream Bar, which had all the qualities of a premium deluxe cup yet was sustainable in its ingredients and production.

“The Mercury Awards” is one of the most important criteria by which products are evaluated in all world countries and it creates high added value. Award granted to DIONE - a huge recognition, which not only confirms Dione ice cream quality and taste but also opens up unique possibilities for inflight-catering market,” added Rūta Kanapienė, Head of Global Development, DIONE.

Ultimate Food-Tech Coffee Disruption - Caffe di Artisan

The Beverage award was won by Caffe Di Artisan for the simplicity and quality of their coffee capsules.

'It's a huge honour for Caffe di Artisan to win The Mercurys 2016 for the Best Beverage. It's truly like winning the Oscar. The whole team is delighted beyond words!” said Shankar Sharma, Co- founder, Caffè di Artisan.

Equipment - Production 
Ministro Vacuum Flask - Malton

Malton was recognised for the Equipment Production category with their Ministro Vacuum Flask. The judges were very impressed by the detail and lengthy research put into the design of this product that was able to retain heat for longer with a steel double walled vacuum.

“It might sound a tad arrogant, to say but, as the only supply company in the world to have won this award five times now, we are absolutely delighted. It is, without doubt, the most prestigious award in the world, for the travel catering industry. When we decided to enter the Mercurys again earlier this year, we felt quietly confident that we had an excellent product to present. In fact, after spending nearly two years in developing and then supplying the Ministro Thermo-Flask, we were greatly encouraged by the feedback, we got from our customers, including cabin crews, which has been so positive,” commented Gordon Oakley, CEO, Malton Asia.

Equipment - Passenger
Airline Modular Concept - Faerch Plast

The Equipment Passenger was awarded to Faerch for their Airline Modular Concept. Made from 30% recycled materials and itself 100% recyclable the judges were wowed by the variety of ways the interlocking attributes could be applied to various service concepts.

“Faerch Plast are very proud, that our ‘Airline Modular Packaging Concept’ received the Mercury Award 2016 category Passenger-Equipment, perfectly demonstrating our capabilities to translate our expertise and know-how into a solution tailored to the airline industry,” concluded Anthony C. Mayr, Area Sales Manager / Manager Airline Industry, FaerchPlast. 


The Mercurys Award - recognising and rewarding innovation within the industry started in 1982, two years after the founding of its host event and association, IFCA in the ballroom of the Waldorf Hotel in London – the In Flight Catering Association.

This was changed in 2005 to ITCA – the International Travel Catering Association. The annual event, held in a different European city each year before settling alternately in Cologne and Nice, was the major event of the year for the industry. The Awards Gala Dinner became the high point of the event and the award itself quickly became the “must  have” achievement for airlines and suppliers. The main trade show began to experience a drop in attendance and in June of 2011, ITCA announced it had sold its yearly Expo to an international exhibition company.

The Mercury Award was obtained by SIAL Middle East at this point who understood the relevance and value of an award focused to this niche industry and vowed to continue the tradition of recognising innovation and skill via the SIAL Middle east food show in Abu Dhabi. The first edition of The Mercurys under the stewardship of SIAL Middle East was held at the Shangri-La in Abu Dhabi in 2013 and has become increasingly popular. With new categories designed to open up new markets for airlines and suppliers, and a new line up of judges headed by completely independent experts, the new Mercurys by SIAL is established as a true and transparent award.   

In 1982, there was one Mercury awarded as overall winner. The winner that year was British Airways although there are no records for what the award was made. The first caterer to win was Airest Vienna in 1984 and in 1999, Monogram Sanitation was the first supplier to win overall. In subsequent years a series of categories was developed to allow for the various areas of the industry to compete among themselves and win by category and in 2007, the overall winner was stopped in favour of just a number of categories. The Mercurys by SIAL has continued this award by category although there are plans in the future to revive a special award category to an outstanding winner among the winners.

Now in 2017, the Mercurys under SIAL stewardship is set to remain the most coveted and recognised award in the Airline Hospitality business.


The last decade has witnessed a step change in public awareness and media interest in sustainability and ethical business issues. Inflight food service is a key area where these issues are most visible for the customer and the way in which airlines respond will be key to maintaining customer trust and building brand value.    

The Mercury’s sustainability weighting reflects this industry development by assessing the extent to which the operation of the applicant's business, as well as the product or service entered, minimizes its environmental impact and maximizes its social value. Our panel of judges will be supported in their assessment by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, the world's leading authority on food service sustainability.

In an industry where businesses spend millions striving to differentiate their service, leadership in sustainability and ethical business, demonstrated through the food service offering, may well be the most cost-effective way to secure competitive advantage.


The SRA is a not–for–profit social enterprise that runs the Food Made Good program, helping food service businesses become more sustainable and diners make more sustainable choices. Launched in 2011 with 32 founder members in the UK, they now work with over 6,000 businesses globally and are developing partner organisations in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Chile and Sweden. 

Their sustainability framework, built around the three pillars of Product, Environment and Society is internationally recognized and their rating has been dubbed the Michelin Stars of Sustainability.