The Real Reason People Are Having Airplane Food Delivered To Their Homes

According to USA Today, airlines have had to cut daily domestic flights by 70 to 90 percent recently, given the drastically reduced demand from travelers due to the COVID-19 crisis. This reduction is causing some airlines to get creative with the onboard snacks that no longer have the number of consumers they had anticipated. 

JetBlue told radio station WBBM 780 they chose to reduce their in-flight food and drink options to lessen contact between flight attendants and passengers and have been selling the surplus to third party sellers, along with donating a portion to food banks, hospitals, and charity fundraisers. 

The Washington Post reports that online surplus-stock grocery seller Imperfect Foods, which was created to tackle the environmental issue of food waste, has started offering JetBlue's cheese and snack trays for $2.99 through their website. These snack trays include three ounces of various cheese, dried cherries, and crackers. Imperfect Foods currently operates in the Midwest, Northeast, and West Coast regions of the United States.

How Imperfect Foods is helping airlines reduce food waste

Philip Behn, the chief executive of Imperfect Foods, told The Washington Post that the JetBlue snack trays were one of the first opportunities the company had to help with COVID-19 related food waste, but they could only take a portion of what the airline needed to offload. He stated that Imperfect Foods has sold 40,000 of the cheese and snack trays, but that these types of foods are frequently not desirable or properly packaged for individual sale. 

The company says they're working with hundreds of clients who are "eager to find buyers for millions of pounds of food" that is usually purchased by hotels or similar businesses. They call the process "breaking bulk," and have helped fill in the gaps to repackage the products for retail consumption. Behn says the process is slow-moving and he stresses the importance of making sure everything is done safely. 

Other airlines have had to sell off their extra in-flight foods as well. They state that Delta has had to find new buyers for its Biscoff cookies, along with donating the biscuits and extra coffee to essential workers and sending perishable food to Feed America. United currently has an overload of Dutch stroopwafels, which customers can purchase at a discounted price on with the code FLYAWAY15. The airline says it is also donating perishable foods pulled from airport lounges and the company's kitchens to charity organizations.