GVR Report cover In-flight Catering Services Market Size, Share & Trends Report

In-flight Catering Services Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Flight Type (Full Service Carrier, Low-Cost Carrier), By Airline Class (Economy, Business), By F&B Type, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2019 - 2025

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68038-068-2
  • Number of Pages: 130
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Range: 2015 - 2017
  • Industry: Technology

Industry Insights

The global in-flight catering services market size was valued at USD 16.74 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to witness a significant CAGR of 5.7% between 2019 and 2025. A rise in the number of long-haul and non-stop flights, primarily due to the upsurge in leisure as well as business tourism, has led to increased passenger demand for catering services on board. Airlines across the globe are differentiating themselves from the competition by setting a reasonable price range for meals on board to enhance the overall passenger travel experience, thereby providing a better in-flight experience.

A steady rise in disposable income and growing adoption of technological advancements such as in-flight food and beverage ordering system are expected to propel the overall growth. Customer retention is of prime importance in the commercial aviation industry. Operators worldwide are strengthening their customer retention strategies in an attempt to enhance their profit margins and ensure a steady revenue generation. Some of the key airlines are concentrating on providing tailored services to their customers, such as offering regional cuisines on international routes. Also, the trend of offering customized as well as organic meals to passengers has proven beneficial for the market players in improving customer satisfaction levels.

U.S. in-flight catering services Market

The key market participants are increasingly adopting new concepts and systems from the production management arena to improve and enhance the productivity of the systems and processes. The key tools used by the catering providers to enhance their services, include just-in-time manufacturing, lean manufacturing, inventory management systems, quality systems, and IT management systems. Airlines across the globe, such as Virgin America, Air New Zealand, FlyDubai, and Japan Airlines, are enhancing their service offerings by providing digitally-enabled F&B services. These services allow passengers to place their orders via the in-seat IFE system. Recently, Emirates issued Meal Ordering Devices to all its flight attendants working in business class.

In 2017, Cathay Pacific redesigned its in-flight catering services by introducing a dial-on-demand service alongside a pre-order option on routes from Hong Kong to London and Hong Kong to Chicago. Additionally, the key legacy and full-service carriers are forming collaborations with celebrity chefs for redesigning their menus and offering an improved air travel experience. In 2018, Singapore Airlines introduced its first-class meal menu crafted by Gordon Ramsay for their international flights. However, the market is expected to experience challenges related to transportation of food and low shelf life of the transported food as poor handling of food either results in contamination or wastage.

Flight Type Insights

Based on flight type, the in-flight catering services market has been segmented into Full-Service Carriers (FSCs), Low-Cost Carriers (LCCs), and others. The FSC segment accounted for the largest market share in 2018 and is anticipated to retain its dominance over the forecast period. Since FSCs are generally international or long-haul flights, the growing trend of international travel is expected to have a positive impact on segment growth. Airlines flying on international routes are typically long-distance flights whose basic ticket price, includes various services, such as in-flight entertainment, checked baggage, and meals and beverages.

The LCC segment is expected to witness considerable growth over the forecast period. The primary factor driving growth is the upsurge in the travel and tourism industry, the rise in economic activity, urbanization, and rising consumer preference for low fare and non-stop carriers. As a result, there has been an increasing demand for onboard catering services, to better serve the customer needs. Numerous LCCs operate on international routes, in turn creating a significant demand for local as well as international cuisines onboard.

Airline Class Insights

Based on airline class, the market is segmented into economy class, business class, first-class, and others. Economy class is presumed to emerge as the leading segment over the next six years. The crucial factor driving the segment growth is its affordable ticket price as compared to the other classes, ultimately attracting the broad traveler base. Also, the availability of low-priced meal choices is expected to stimulate segment growth soon.

Business-class is poised to expand at a significant CAGR of just over 7% from 2019 to 2025. Growth in the number of corporate travelers, coupled with the expansion of global business networks is among the prominent factors positively impacting the growth. Various emerging economies worldwide have witnessed considerable growth in GDP, resulting in leisure travelers to book business class for their air travel. In-flight meals on long-haul flights play an important role in attracting customers. As a result, various airlines are considering advertising their services by making food a pivotal point. These factors altogether are anticipated to strengthen the market over the forecast period.

F&B Type Insights

Based on the F&B type, the market is categorized into a meal, bakery and confectionery, beverage, and others. The meal segment accounted for the largest market share in 2018 and is expected to maintain a leading position throughout the forecast period. Some of the vital factors driving the growth include increased adoption of ready-to-eat meals for travelers as well as surging demand for catering services in long-duration non-stop flights. The key in-flight catering providers are making significant efforts to offer culturally diverse meals to passengers. The increasing demand for healthy and nutritious meals for the passengers as well as customer willingness to pay a relatively higher price for such meals is presumed to drive the growth over the next six years.

Global in-flight catering services Market

The beverage segment is anticipated to foresee considerable growth during the forecast period. The prime factors influencing the segment growth include rising passenger demand for tea, coffee, and healthy juices, typically in short-haul flights. Additionally, benefits such as a wide array of beverage options ranging from juices to various types of alcohol, for the passengers is further stimulating the segment growth. Additionally, flight attendants in some airlines have started offering personalized drinks in an attempt to enhance customer satisfaction.

Regional Insights

The Asia Pacific dominated the market for in-flight catering services in 2018 and is expected to maintain its dominance over the forecast period. It is anticipated to expand at a significant CAGR of over 7% between 2019 and 2025. The vital factor contributing to the growth include a rise in international travel and tourism owing to the upsurge in the middle-class population and an improved standard of living. Moreover, the increasing number of airline operators in the region is expected to create significant growth opportunities for in-flight catering providers in the region.

Europe is expected to grow at a substantial pace over the forecast period. The region has been witnessing a growing number of legacy carriers venturing into the budget bracket, which in turn is expected to drive the demand for onboard catering services in low fare flights. Furthermore, increasing spending capacity of passengers to avail of healthy and organic meals, and airline collaboration with hands-on experience food professionals are some of the factors that are expected to create considerable growth opportunities in the forthcoming years. Additionally, the introduction of new routes and airline fleet expansion by the key operators are anticipated to boost the growth.

In-flight Catering Services Market Share Insights

The market is dynamic with the key service providers increasingly forming long-term agreements and joint ventures with airline operators to introduce innovative solutions and to strengthen their market presence. For instance, in January 2018, Gategroup Holding entered into a 30-year joint venture with Asiana Airlines of South Korea to establish themselves as the operator’s sole in-flight caterer, serving passengers traveling to destinations across North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

Some of the key market players include Gate Gourmet (Gategroup Holding), LSG Sly Chefs, dnata, SATS Ltd, and Do & Co. Other companies gaining traction in the market include ANA Catering Service Co. Ltd. (ANAC), Emirates Flight Catering, Flying Food Group, Newrest Group Services SAS, and Servair, S.A. These companies are strategically involved in mergers and acquisitions, long-term agreements, partnerships, and new service launches to expand their market presence. In January 2018, Dubai National Air Transport Association (dnata) introduced its newest flight catering facility at Dublin Airport, which comprises an industrial-sized kitchen, food preparation and assembly area, and storage.

Report Scope



The base year for estimation


Actual estimates/Historical data

2015 - 2017

Forecast period

2019 - 2025

Market representation

Revenue in USD Million and CAGR from 2019 to 2025

Regional scope

North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S., Canada, Germany, U.K., China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, key company ranking, competitive landscape, and growth factors and trends

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels, and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2015 to 2025. For this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global in-flight catering services market report based on flight type, airline class, F&B type, and region:

  • Flight Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2015 - 2025)

    • Full-Service Carrier (FSC)

    • Low-Cost Carrier (LCC)

    • Others

  • Airline Class Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2015 - 2025)

    • Economy Class

    • Business Class

    • First Class

    • Others

  • F&B Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2015 - 2025)

    • Meal

    • Bakery & Confectionery

    • Beverage

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2015 - 2025)

    • North America

      • The U.S.

      • Canada

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • U.K.

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • Japan

    • Latin America

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

    • Middle East & Africa




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