In recent years the Autogrill Group has increasingly concentrated on activities aimed at promoting healthy and balanced life styles, also thanks to quality nutrition.
HMSHost constantly monitors new food trends with the help of several organizations, and develops new menus based on the findings. In response to the tendency to look for particularly healthy food, HMSHost extended its selection of fresh and vegetarian menus with low-fat and low-calorie options and combined menus, like, for instance, salads and, in general, side dishes with vegetables.
The focus is on expanding the offering in general, because “healthy” can mean different things to different people, and consumers can choose the best option for themselves if offered several alternatives.
Moreover, in compliance with the federal regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration, the nutritional value and calorie content of the food products are specified on the menus. The introduction of a professional profile on site, dedicated to providing information about the supply chain, confirms the Group's commitment to the standardization of the ingredients used in the stores, representing a further guarantee to consumers about the specific characteristics of the ingredients (in particular in the case of possible intolerances or allergies).
Attention to proper nutrition is high all over Europe and there are multiple solutions available. For example, a wide choice of fruit and vegetables is available within many concepts, and varieties of wholegrain bread are available in the concepts offering baked products and sandwiches. In the Netherlands, the salt content in products has been reduced. In Switzerland, the “Greens” concept, implemented in cooperation with the Swiss BioSuisse association, offers organic food to people who follow a low-fat and low-salt dietary regimen. Moreover, in France all advertisements directed to consumers contain a message suggesting a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet (for instance, recommending the intake of 5 portions of fruit/vegetables a day and the practice of regular physical exercise), connected to the “Programme National Nutrition Santé”. In Spain, the "3S" Sabroso, Saludable, Sostenibile (tasty, healthy, sustainable) communication campaign illustrates the three characteristics of the basic ingredients of Spanish cuisine (rice, salad, chicken, etc.), confirming the Company's commitment towards providing information to consumers.
The Group also pays close attention to children’s dietary needs. Autogrill designed special kids’ menus, available in all Ciao, Spizzico and Burger King restaurants, tailored to their specific nutritional needs (for instance, suggesting yogurt and fruit compote as an alternative to ice cream in the menus).
In some European countries, especially in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, specific menus have been developed to meet the specific needs of coeliac (gluten-intolerant) individuals.
A dedicated effort led to the creation of special cooking areas in the stores to prevent cross-contamination of gluten-free foods during processing. HMSHost also organizes training courses on how to cook and prepare gluten–free foods.
In addition, the Group does not neglect the needs of those who, mostly for ethical reasons, do not eat meat and food products of animal origin. Autogrill Italia regularly updates a list of recipes for vegetarians and vegans, approved and certified by the Italian Association of Vegetarians. These menus are available in all Ciao restaurants and can be identified by the association’s logo.
Moreover, constant attention is paid to religious beliefs, especially when they influence dietary choices. Autogrill has developed a menu offering that meets the needs of consumers of different religions, for example Moslems (halal food).
Consumption trends show that consumers want to learn about the cultural identity of the geographical area they are visiting through the enjoyment of the typical products of a country or a city. The Group has been working for years on becoming a showcase for the territory. Autogrill Italia acknowledged the starring role of certified products and typical local products by introducing sandwiches with the different certification brands, i.e. DOC (controlled designation of origin), PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), DOCG (controlled and guaranteed designation of origin), as well as regional specialties. The Market area in the stores, dedicated to the distribution of food products and other items, and specifically the “La Bottegaccia” corner, is a real showcase, intended to bring travelers in contact with local products.
In France as well, Autogrill encourages travelers to discover and rediscover local products of the territory and traditional cuisine, both through prepared dishes to enjoy in restaurants and takeaway products (in this respect, the most famous boutiques are “La boutique du nougat de Montélimar” and “La Maison de la Bourgogne” and also the concept "Chefs en provence" in Marseille airport).
In the United States, many airports introduced local concepts with a regional flavor. For example, in Phoenix, the “Blue Burrito” offers food and beverages that are very popular in the South-West; the Anchorage airport, in Alaska, receives fresh fish supplies directly from a local fishing co-operative.
Project “Territorio Piacenza”
From May 2012 to 2015, six Autogrill points of sale have been chosen as “outposts” in the area around Piacenza, along the two main highway routes crossing the area.
Under the “Territorio Piacenza ” brand, especially created by Autogrill Italia, the Snack Bar, the Ciao restaurant, the Spizzico pizza corner and the Market area (i.e. the area within the store that is dedicated to selling food and other products) offer about one hundred recipes and typical local products to the over 4.5 million Italian and international customers who visit these stores each year.
Autogrill has also developed a menu including traditional recipes, as well as an array of innovative recipes based on typical local ingredients. Since most of the ingredients are then also available in the Market area, customers may not only sample the excellent cuisine of the Piacenza region but also buy these delicatessen items and take them home or bring them along on their journey. To compose this menu, in cooperation with the Consorzio Piacenza Alimentare (a consortium including 75 companies offering guaranteed typical products and a short supply chain), Autogrill selected over 20 local suppliers of high-quality deli products with high production standards.
The cultural identity of the region is also expressed through its wines and food products
South Tyrol traditions
The new Brennero point of sale is laid out much like a museum. Inside the store, the national offering is integrated by a number of propositions linked to the territory and the characteristic local cuisine.
At the restaurant, where customers can enjoy a comfortable and relaxed meal with table service, the selection includes typical recipes from Trentino South Tyrol, such as Knödel, Spätzle, certified local cheeses and cold cuts, as well as different types of bread (rye bread, sunflower seed bread), all matched with apple cider. Even at the snack bar, travelers who wish to optimize their stopover time can enjoy local products, such as sandwiches made with PGI speck or Stelvio (PDO cheese), Strudel and Linzer Torte.
To give customers an opportunity to buy the products tasted in the store and enjoy them again at home, the Market offers Knödel, Spätzle, speck and other local cold cuts.
Chefs en Provence
Every year, the cities chosen by the European Union to represent culture must provide evidence of the riches and diversity of European cultures.
Autogrill's involvement as project partner in the "Marseilles Provence 2013 Capital of European culture" program resulted in the development of various initiatives, including the proposal of Mediterranean recipes prepared by Michelin starred chefs who alternated every three months at the Marseille airport restaurant.
A contest was also within the airport developed with several prizes linked to the program: a gourmet cuisine course and tickets to various events and shows.