THE MERCURYS 2018

10th December 2018 | 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 37th edition of The Mercurys will be held alongside SIAL Middle East in December 2018

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS OF THE MERCURYS 2017

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Airline Meal – Premium Class
Seasons of West Australian Seafood – Perth Inflight Catering 

Service Concept – Economy Class
Cloud Nine Meals – En Route International 

Food Product – Snack
Mumbai Vegetable Street Food Pastries – STR-EATS Food Ltd.

Food Product – Savory
Taco Slider – The Bake Factory 

Food Product – Sweet
UTZ Certified Chocolates and Desserts Collection – Lily O’Brien’s 

Beverage
Gingen Ginger Tea – Rabia Al Daim Food and Beverages Trading

Equipment – Production
Buy-On-Board Revenue Protection – ITW Envopak

Equipment – Passenger
Alessi for Delta – by Buzz – Buzz Products

Partners

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Supporting Media

THE MERCURYS 2017 - WINNERS

Airline Meal - Premium Class
Seasons of West Australian Seafood - Perth Inflight Catering

A series of four Amuse Bouche, using entirely Western Australian seafood and produce, presented at the height of their seasonal freshness. The dishes are created to give passengers a last reminder of the great food and wonderful times they had while visiting Western Australia.

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Service Concept - Economy Class 
Cloud Dine Meals - En Route International

Cloud Dine offers passengers ten tasty retail-inspired frozen dishes. Branded with ingredients list and food traffic light system. Options include Piri Piri Chicken, Mushroom Cappelletti, and Mini Waffles. Cloud Dine is able to be cooked from frozen, meaning airlines are able to reduce wastage of products that are not used.

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Food Product - Snack
Mumbai Vegetable Street Food Pastries - STR-EATS Food Ltd

Street food pastries are pastry parcels filled with street food flavours, available in 2 pack and 3 pack film or box
solutions with branding associated to the travel destinations. First pastry range to offer authentic street food recipes in pastry. Unique Shape - looks like a mini samosa, first mini size to be made with boiled crust pastry, even thou product is machine made the moulds were knocked around to give an authentic hand made feel to the product. 

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Food Product - Savoury
Taco Slider - The Bake Factory

The Bake Factory's Taco Slider box contains two Mexican style tacos with slow cooked fillings, packed with flavour. The first is Sloppy José - beef mince with a blend of Mexican spices & Willies Cacao chocolate to add a sweet and spiced tone. The second is Chicken, Tequila and Jalapeño Taco topped with pink pickled onions

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Food Product - Sweet
UTZ Certified Chocolates and Desserts Collection - Lily O'Brien's

Lily O’Brien’s new UTZ certified desserts meet the same high standards of our current award winning desserts, made with quality Belgian chocolate and locally sourced ingredients where possible. Our Paper pots are 100% recyclable, whilst our lids carry a ‘green dot’ symbolizing the supplier’s environmental responsibility and contribution to recycling. The first retail brand to introduce a dessert of this type to the industry working with a program who aim to empower farmers and make their business viable in the long run.

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Beverage 
Gingen Ginger Tea - Al Rabia Al Daim Food & Beverages Trading LLC

The Gingen Ginger Tea instant ginger product produces with advance production technology to meet international standards and qualification. The fresh ginger will be powdered through standardised production process to produce such a premium ginger and honey.

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Equipment - Production 
Buy-on-Board Revenue Protection - ITW Envopak

Developed in conjunction with a leading airline, the Tenor/Trio system is a simple integrated product which balances tamper-evidence with barrier protection, meaning airlines can remain customs-compliant while also protecting their buy-on-board revenues. The Tenor/Trio is part of a range of security seals that ITW Envopak manufacture for 70+ airlines worldwide.

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Equipment - Passenger
Alessi for Delta - by Buzz - Buzz Products

The Alessi for Delta serviceware launched onboard in April 2017 across Delta One and First Class cabins. The bespoke program delivers a modern, stylish, functional and elegant range. The full collection consists of 86 unique serviceware pieces, and is based on popular items inspired by six renowned designers for Alessi.  

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THE MERCURYS 2017 - JUDGING PANEL'S VIEWS

AIRLINE MEAL - PREMIUM CLASS

WINNER - Perth Inflight Catering – “Seasons of Western Australian Seafood”
Everything about this menu and it’s constituent parts was fully thought through paying full attention to sourcing locally, healthy provenance and interesting twists and re-inventions of traditional recipes.  The redesigned Fish & Chips with the stuffed potato and pee puree, the compressed watermelon salad with the scallop were very innovative. Flavours were full and presentation flawless. We were also impressed by the costing mechanism allowing for a constant price to be maintained over the 4 rotations.   
 
FINALIST – Thai Airways - Sum-Rub menu for First Class
Beautifully presented range of Thai dishes built around this very traditional concept. Every aspect of the tradition is addressed and the quality of the produce was outstanding. Well thought out with a challenging equipment exchange to consider. The Lamb curry was particularly delicious and the presentation of the cold food items was very attractive.
 

SERVICE CONCEPT - ECONOMY CLASS

WINNER – En Route International for Cloud Dine Meals
A very well thought through solution to the pre-order concept for crew and adaptable for passenger use.  The range of meals is comprehensive and the quality of the actual delivered product outstanding. The ordering and logistics system is carefully planned and has the potential for growth throughout the industry.   
 
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Marfo BV for Bon Appetito Concept
Clever use of specially designed trays for loading to maximum ergonomic ability for economy meals. Also providing all the food items for the trys including hot and cold meals. Clever concept.
 

FOOD PRODUCT - SNACK

WINNER – STR-EATS Food Ltd for Mumbai Street Food Pastries
Packed three to a box this is street-food in a handy and delicious boiled pastry shell created specifically for the airline market. A range of recipes based on street food experiences from around the world the flavours and textures are authentic and tasty. Proportion of profits also go to charities supporting street children in various parts of the world.
 
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Joe & Sephs for double salted caramel popcorn box pack
Not only a well packaged and easy-to-distribute product, but delicious with a real artisan preparation story resulting in a very high quality product.
 

FOOD PRODUCT – SAVOURY

WINNER – The Bake Factory for the Taco Sliders
A really great tasting and well designed product ideal for the buy-on-board or economy light meal service. Specially made soft taco shells for easy production and consumption. Heat from frozen. Great for 2 people to share.  
 
FINALIST – Tawa Bakery for Gluten Free Bread Collection
Access and availability of good quality Gluten Free product in the Middle East is very difficult. This range of products has an enormous amount of research put into achieving an excellent and authentic range of bakery products. 
 
FINALIST - Al Rabia Al Diam Food & Beverages Trading LLC for Yum Yum Instant Noodles
Pot Noodles have a reputation for being cheap in quality and experience. These noodles are excellent and when re-constituted result in a tasty and very hearty light meal. Good as a buy-on-Board option, or for missed meal fillers or crew on-the-go meals.
 

FOOD PRODUCT - SWEET

WINNER – Lilly O’Briens for UTZ Certified Chocolates and Desserts Collection
The panel was extremely impressed with the focus to environmental issues addressing Rainforest Alliance requilrements. In both product and packaging Lilly O’Briens have taken fully on board Mercury Judges comments from previous submissions and built them into these products – all of which have the renowned taste and quality we now expect from this producer.
 
FINALIST – En Route International for Trois Delices
Well executed and packaged and delicious range of desserts with accent on naturally produced ingredients.
 
FINALIST – Tawa Bakery for Gluten Free Caramel Eclairs
A truly delicious and very high quality product totally gluten free. Ideal for the premium cabins or lounge service. Could easily serve as a standard product rather than Special Meal item as it is as good as regular Choux pastry.
 

BEVERAGE

WINNER – Al Rabia Al Diam Food & Beverages Trading LLC for Gingen Ginger Tea
There are many powdered ginger teas in the market. Most taste like reconstituted tea. This product however was a world apart and once made with hot water was almost indistinguishable from fresh ginger tea made from the root. All natural, additive free and no sugar. An excellent airline product.
 
HIGHLY COMMENDED – Radnor Hills for Fruella fruit juice cartons
A first class tasting product made exclusively for the airline on-board market with specially developed 200ml cartons. Lightly pasteurized to maintain best quality and completely additive and no added sugar. 
 
FINALIST – Vologodosky Ivan Tea
The product is set on reviving the age-old tradition of Russian willow herb tea brewing, and on restoring it to its former glory. A totally natural and great tasting and healthy product.
 

EQUIPMENT PRODUCTION

WINNER – ITW Envopak for BoB Revenue Protection Seal System
In a world of glamour and food and drink, little thought is given to things as matter-of-fact as the seals on the trolleys. This invention however changes everything. A well thought out and very carefully designed and crafted solution to the growing plastic mountain of waste seals. It saves the airlines money, it is more secure than existing solutions and easy to manage. 
 
FINALIST – Zodiac Aerospace for the cool trolley
An excellent product designed with weight and efficiency in mind. With little changing in the basic aircraft galley since the 1950’s it is good to see innovation that can save resource and money for airlines in this challenging sector. Holding low temperatures for return or overnight stop flights, this trolley meets a demand for lowering cost.
 
FINALIST – RMT Global Partners for the Inflight Tidy Kit
A clever and convenient all-in-one cabin maintenance kit for crew. Designed as a go-to solution for in-flight clean-ups and replenishable by caterers or cleaning services. 
 

EQUIPMENT PASSENGER

WINNER – Buzz Products for its Alessi development for Delta First
Everything about the design and execution of these items was exquisite with attention to practicality, weight and the passenger experience. The designs by Alessi are clean and sharp without being impractical. The build quality and attention to detail is flawless.
 
FINALIST – Kaelis for disposable cotton linen products
A solution to a big issue for many airlines. Cutting down on the laundry bills and the logistics that go with it. The question is, can disposable cotton ever be environmentally acceptable?  With this product potentially yes. The finish is first class. The cost low and the disposability is acceptable as a fully bio-degradable and non toxic product. Already flying with cost benefits. 
 
FINALIST – Heathergrey Collective for Etihad FC Pillow covers
A beautifully crafted and innovatively designed product for the pillow cover in Premium cabins. Made from a fabric totally man-made but designed to look and feel like raw Thai Silk. The colours and designs matching with the cabin interiors and Etihad premium concepts. A lot of thought and research into this great robust product.
 

CATEGORY 1: “AIRLINE MEAL”

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%

CATEGORY 2: “SERVICE CONCEPT”

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%

CATEGORY 3: “FOOD PRODUCT”

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%

CATEGORY 4: “BEVERAGE”

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%

CATEGORY 5: “EQUIPMENT”

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%

ENTRY PROCESS        

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.


PARTICIPATION BENEFITS

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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.

Read more...


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. 

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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.

Read more...

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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.

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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.

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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. 

Read more...

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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.

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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.

Read more...

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THE "OSCARS" OF THE AIRLINE ON-BOARD SERVICE INDUSTRY

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.

SUSTAINABILITY AT THE MERCURYS

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.

ABOUT SUSTAINABLE RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION (SRA) 

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.