Korean Air received the prestigious `Mercury Award' from the International Flight Catering Association (IFCA) on March 10 for the development and service implementation of Bibim Noodles (Spicy Korean Noodles), one of Korea's finest traditional dishes, as an in-flight meal. The carrier was awarded the Gold Prize in the Food and Beverage category.
This is the second time that Korean Air has won the Mercury Award. The first was in 1998 for the development and service implementation of bibimbap, an assorted vegetable and rice mixture, - as an in-flight meal to its economy class.
The IFCA was established in 1980 as a representative body for groups - airlines, caterers and suppliers - involved with the inflight catering industry. The IFCA with international membership drawn from virtually every country in the world, confirms its position as the largest and most influential body of its type.
Awarded at the annual IFCA Convention in Valentia, Spain, the Mercury Awards are acknowledged worldwide as "the original and ultimate recognition of products and services which bring innovation, quality and added value to the industry," according to its organizers. Companies from diverse fields aim to win the prestigious award based on the innovative ideas and service developments to improve the international catering industry for the ultimate convenience of the traveler.
The winning entry for the Food and Beverage category, Bibim Noodles, is the latest and most successful development from the Korean Air Catering Center. The spicy noodles and vegetable mix were adopted into the inflight menu as one the second meal options on long-haul flights after a long period of research and development to ensure that the meal remained fresh and tasty, even during long flights. The Bibim Noodles earned the most points for its quality, innovation and practicality.
The Annual Mercury Awards are divided into five categories. The winners of these categories, and the overall winner is chosen from a panel of 13 expert judges whose experience in all parts of the inflight industry create fierce competition conditions and judging conditions intense.
The unique service is offered on Korea~East Coast US flights (New York, Chicago, Washington, Atlanta) and will soon be expanded to Europe and Oceania long-range flights. The Bibim Noodle service is extremely popular not only with Korean passengers, but has quickly become a favoured selection among non-Korean passengers as well.
Bibim Noodles received praise for passenger inflight preference after implementation of the service as well as for its continued efforts to provide traditional Korean meals as a way to promote the Korean culture. The noodle and vegetable based meal received great recognition as a health conscious choice creating inflight diversity attuned to passengers' everchanging and sensitive needs.