ANA in-flight meals served at medical institutions


ANA Group has started to provide main dishes of ANA international economy class in-flight meals to patients hospitalized at the Osaka International Cancer Institute from September 19, 2023.When a patient undergoes an examination or other procedure at a medical institution, their meal may be delayed until after the examination is completed. The meal is called an "extended meal" because it is served late after the examination.We will introduce the behind-the-scenes process of providing ANA in-flight meals as an extended meal.

Project Background

Review meeting at Osaka International Cancer Institute 1
Review meeting at Osaka International Cancer Institute 2

This project began with discussions on food between ANA and the Osaka International Cancer Institute.It is generally believed that food intake is easily affected during cancer treatment, but at the Osaka International Cancer Institute, they emphasize the importance of eating even during treatment. In reality, it is necessary to devise food suitable for each patient in various situations during hospitalization. Unlike regular meals that are served at a fixed time, extended meals are served according to the end time of each patient's examination, and are designed to be easy to eat even if the patient is feeling ill after the examination or has a short time before the next meal. However, rules based on food hygiene do not allow for ready-made meals, so it was difficult to prepare warm meals suitable for post-examination at the time individually requested, which posed a challenge. This is when they began to consider the possibility of improving this issue by taking advantage of the features of ANA's in-flight meals.

Attractiveness of ANA in-flight meals

Some of the In-flight meals being considered as extended meals

In-flight meals can be served simply by heating them up in the sky. Extended meals are prepared after the examination is completed, but the time is not predetermined. With in-flight meals that can be served simply by heating, patients can enjoy a warm meal when they take a break after examination. Moreover, ANA in-flight meals were suitable for serving at medical institutions, with colors designed for visibility in dimly lit aircraft, moderate volume with necessary nutrients in a compact package, and a familiar taste with low salt content from soup stock and spices.Based on these characteristics, doctors and dietitians at the Osaka International Cancer Institute discussed the matter and decided to adopt it as one of the extended meal menu items.

Interview with the person in charge

Mr. Ueda from ANA Catering Service Co.,Ltd.

What were your thoughts on the project?

Mr. Ueda: ANA in-flight meals have been on sale to the public since December 2020, and as of August 2023, 1.98 million meals have been sold. Up until now, we have sold the meals with the expectation that they will be served at home, in order to provide customers with the excitement of "feeling like traveling at home" and the convenience of a must-have item for the home due to its easy preparation.This was the first time for ANA to offer this service at a medical institution. In the course of our discussions, we were able to learn about the current situation at the Osaka International Cancer Institute, the condition of the patients, and other issues in the field that we had not come into contact with before. In addition, after learning about the policy, which emphasizes the importance of eating even when you are ill, and actually visiting the hospital, I came to feel that I myself would be happy if ANA's in-flight meals could cheer patients up and make them feel like they were on a trip, even if only a little. Through the provision of in-flight meals at this medical institution, I have been working to solve the issues and to bring excitement to as many people as possible.

What were some of the difficulties you encountered?

Mr. Ueda: It was the first time for us to provide meals to a medical institution, so it was a great learning experience. First of all, we had to meet their standards, which required us to check the ingredients of the in-flight meals we were providing and analyze the nutrients. In addition, the medical institution also had to consider ways to ensure that the extended meal operations of heating and serving the meals at different times from normal meals would not be a burden on the staff during the actual provision of the meals.Even after entering the specific coordination phase, the program had to be suspended once due to the nationwide medical shortage caused by the spread of the new coronavirus. However, in May of this year, the status of the disease was changed to "Class 5 Infectious Disease," and the adjustment was resumed once the spread of infection had calmed down. We are very happy to finally be able to start providing this service to patients. We hope that the patients will feel motivated to eat in-flight meals even if they don't have much of an appetite and excited to be able to enjoy the in-flight flavors outside of the plane. We would like to continue our efforts to bring in-flight meals to as many people as possible.

Message to the community and patients

Dietitian Ms. Matsuoka (left) and Dr. Iijima (right) at the Osaka International Cancer Institute

Dr. Iijima: We know that in modern medical care, good nutritional management contributes greatly to improved treatment outcomes, and that maintaining nutritional status, with a focus on "food," is important. On the other hand, the old hospital diet was intended to just provide food to the patients during hospitalization. Medical institutions are not restaurants, but nowadays what we are looking for is food with nutrition that can support patients with individual medical conditions. During the course of the disease, patients may not have an appetite, and it is necessary to pay more attention to taste, appearance, and even preference than usual. Of course, nutritional therapy as a medical treatment to support eating is a prerequisite, but we will continue to incorporate good food products and aim to contribute to treatment.

ANA will continue to promote partnerships to support health through food and deliver excitement to all.