How did you decide on the menus?
First of all, "Local Don" was started by examining local specialties and local dishes. From amongst them, we listed dozens of things that could be considered for “Don” dishes.
From there, we created prototypes and discussed them many times over the course of more than a month.
What did you find difficult in development?
The biggest hurdle in development of in-flight meals is securing ingredients.
ANA in-flight meals must pass strict hygiene standards. It is also is essential that certain amounts can be purchased continuously.
Even with those things alone, menu development is difficult work. However, for this project was necessary to consider “local selection” and the overall balance of 10 menus. We shouldn't be biased towards meat dishes, and variations in seasoning are required.
Among the menus that have been selected as promising candidates, there were also menus that unfortunately were unable to clear the logistics of securing ingredients.
Is there anything you paid particular attention to or hope people will notice?
We took considerable care in the appearance and colors arrangement. It’s not that we simply wanted it to look delicious, but we were conscious of the recent spread on social media.
The soy sauce flavor is essential, but if care isn’t taken it will darken the colors. To maintain vivid vegetable colors, we devised methods such as cooking at low temperatures and using white soy sauce.
I think that attention will be focused mainly on the ingredients, but I am also particular about rice.
We tried various ways to accent the texture and flavor, such as making ginger rice, mixing in chopped laver, adding cabbage on the rice.
Although simple, as a creator I hope that people will pay attention when they eat.
Please tell us your thoughts as a creator in the "In-Flight Meal General Election."
I think it was a very valuable and special experience. It was necessary to develop 10 menus in a short period of time, and the creative team worked together to discuss regional specialties and shared opinions on arrangements.
We did with the hope that our customers will enjoy it, but in fact, our creative team was frantically involved in development while also enjoying a festival-like atmosphere that was different from business as usual.
What do you think about the future of in-flight meals?
In-flight meals will continue to evolve. There are also technological developments such as vacuum cooking. Nowadays, we also proudly offer collaboration projects with top hotels and chefs. Another factor in the evolution is the increase in opportunities to receive customer opinions directly thanks to customer survey analysis systems and the spread of social media.
We will continue to develop menus that will please everyone, so please look forward to them.
Please tell us your impressions of the voting results.
I would like to say a big thank you to the many people who voted in our ANA in-flight meal general election.
As we approach the major events in 2020, we will reinforce our efforts to deliver safe, delicious meals to our Japanese and non-Japanese customers.