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Waiting at airports tends to be easier with visits to duty-free shops, and fast foods that are generally not healthy for travelers, but now this trend is reversing in the United States. In recent months, the focus changed towards healthier products under the farm-to-terminal approach. The U.S. airports provide travelers easier access to healthy food.
“Now you’ll see healthier options, local food, beer and more self-service options in places where it’s expensive to do business,” said Seth Kaplan, founder of online publication Airline Weekly.
According to 2018 data from the Airport Council International, Americans spent over $2 billion on terminal concessions, including food and beverage stalls.
Given the cultural changes in diet, U.S. airports had to follow the trend, and concessions across the country are increasing their offers: from basic salads and sandwiches to more exotic offers such as sushi flown directly from Japan to Newark International Airport in New Jersey, New Orleans bread beignets, and avocado toast for a pre-boarding gourmet brunch in Boston.
The new 1$ billion terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport offers more than 40 food concession options, including beignets at the renowned Cafe du Monde, Creole cuisine at Leah’s Kitchen, ice cream from Angelo Brocato’s, and cocktails at Bar Sazerac. The new terminal is also gearing up to be a dining destination for non-travelers, in an effort to boost food tourism, which will allow people to access the concourse just to eat and drink. Currently, a boarding pass is required to enter those areas.
Two years ago, the Newark International Airport in New Jersey spent $120 million to modernize its food program in Terminal C, allowing United Airlines flyers access to a variety of restaurants regardless of which terminal they fly out from. Some of the options include fresh fish from Tokyo, a series of Tel-Aviv inspired street food stalls (with falafel, hummus, and shawarma sandwiches), and pumpkin pies served by celebrity pastry chef Jacques Torres.