UAE foodtech Nourish raises $400,000 investment
- UAE-based inflight meal booking platform Nourish, has raised a $400,000 investment round, led by investors from the US, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
- Founded in 2020 by Tom Eliopoulos, Nourish is a booking platform for customised in-flight meals, allowing airlines to provide passengers with whatever meal they desire.
- Nourish will use the funding to expand its supply chain network across multiple airports in emerging markets and enhance its platform by hiring new talent.
Nourish, a UAE-based company launching a secondary booking platform for in-flight meals has announced it has taken on $400,000 of outside capital to create a new IT and logistics network for commercial aviation. Strategic investors from the US, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt participated in the financing and coined the company as “UberEats for Airlines”.
Nourish has also recently signed its first deal with the Ras-Al-Khaimah airport in the UAE.
Speaking at the Saudi Future Airport Development and Investment Summit last month in Riyadh, founder Tom Eliopoulos, a Lebanese-Greek entrepreneur, explained that “now passengers will be able to get what they want on the plane…whether that’s sushi, McDonald’s, or even a protein shake…and it will be served to you by the flight attendants at your seat”.
Using an application tying airlines to airport vendors and a branded cloud kitchen in the Terminals, Nourish has developed a new business model for commercial aviation to help change what it sees as unacceptable food quality and choices on planes.
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 company told us.
This new industry concession vertical will also help turn a traditional corporate cost centre into a profit centre while providing additional revenue opportunities for host airports and airlines.
“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.
He added, “the recent collapses of ageing technology in areas of commercial aviation highlight the need for companies like Nourish to help business segments evolve by creating new systems that allow greater flexibilities.”
Low-cost carriers are especially unhappy about their current setup given that in many markets they only have one source for producing their buy-on-board supplies, and passengers are suffering for it. Nourish aims to offer these airlines an alternative and help democratize the industry.
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.