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Food & dietary requirements as competitive factors in coach holiday travel

Photo: Organic cream of mushroom pasta sauce with fresh chilli, garlic, chives and black pepper © Dr. Patrick Patridge

Delicious food and beverages are not only etched in our taste buds but are embedded in our memories – intrinsic to “Living Culture” – the lead theme of the RDA Group Travel Expos 2019. Inspiring culinary and dining experiences are a significant legacy of any group travel programme. They are service touch points and intrinsic topics of discussion that should always be taken very seriously.

Diet is of increasing interest to German consumers in particular, as is the idea that you can do something beneficial for your health by choosing the right products, herbs and spices. The trend towards naturalness plays a dominant role in food choices, with the health benefits of unprocessed, organic and wholesome products being a priority.

Outstanding, representative, varied, fresh, seasonal and local cuisine at fair-trade prices and with friendly, creative and efficient delivery and service in atmospheric settings are increasingly significant aspects of successful tour programming, word-of-mouth publicity and repeat business.

They are chief considerations in terms of customer satisfaction, client feedback and competitive advantage. Factors that are ignored by tour operators and suppliers at their peril.

Cutting edges at mealtimes – or “counting the number of chips on the plate” – to obtain apparent price advantage in the short term is not, however, a recipe for medium- to long-term success. Let alone sustainability. Consumers nowadays have many more options – on- and offline.
For destinations serving the German outbound market there are a number of dietary aspects, which should be considered when planning tours, seeking business and handling requests: vegetarianism, veganism and diabetes being probably three of the most significant.

Germany has the highest percentage of vegetarians and vegans in Europe. In 2018, there were some 8 million vegetarians in Germany (10 % of the population) and 1.6 million vegans (2 % of the population). The rapid growth of vegan products in Germany also reflects a rise of ethical consumerism, especially among younger and #FridaysforFuture consumers.

A majority of Germans are not, however, giving up meat altogether, they are making room for more vegan and vegetarian products as part of an overall “flexitarian” and CO2-friendly diet, presenting openings for attractive and innovative plant-based food and beverage offerings.

A recent Forsa survey revealed that approximately 42 million people in Germany identify as flexitarians or "part-time vegetarians." It is estimated that by 2020 over 20 % of Germans will eat mostly vegetarian. That is next year!

Another dietary consideration for coach tourism is diabetes. More than 58 million EU citizens have diabetes; by 2045 this is forecast to rise to 66.7 million. There were 7.5 million cases of diabetes in Germany in 2017 (12 % of the adult population).

These are all highly relevant questions that should be clarified well in advance of any tour groups travelling. For culinary preferences and dietary requirements are no longer simply niche concerns but are key success factors that should never be underestimated nor ever overlooked.

Further information:


Christina Gehlen
Phone: +49 221 912772-19
Fax: +49 221 912772-27

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