Nuts are the quintessential airline snack, but with COVID-19 policies causing airlines to cut certain food services, millions of roasted, mixed nuts are finding themselves grounded.
Earlier this year, American Airlines stopped serving mixed nuts to passengers. That might sound like a relatively minor adjustment, but it’s actually dealing a major blow to the company that supplies the nuts.
GNS Foods has provided American Airlines with a blend of roasted and salted cashews, pistachios, pecans, and almonds for the past 30 years. The airline accounted for 70 percent of the company’s total nut sales. Now that nuts are temporarily off the menu, GNS Foods is finding itself with about 87,000 pounds of excess nuts.
Kim Peacock, owner of GNS Foods, told the Dallas Morning News, “We have pallets and pallets of nuts here. We didn’t know how long this was going to last. The airlines were in a state of disarray themselves and they didn’t know if they were going to be bringing them back or not.”
To handle the surplus, the company is getting creative, opening a retail store in Austin, TX and also selling mixed nuts online.
“After three decades [of] a great supplier partnership, it is painful to be left with inventory and supplier contracts,” said Peacock. “We’ve offered to bag the nuts into single-serve sizes, but that wasn’t well-received. Yet, on my last flight in first class, I was served a cheese, cracker, fruit and chocolate tray complete with plasticware. And of course I thought, ‘why can’t these be our nuts?’”