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Nuts on planes
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Here's what's happening to the millions of pounds of nuts that aren't being served on planes now

Airline nuts: victims of the global pandemic.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

Among the many changes that will likely turn permanent once the pandemic is over are food protocols on board of flights. Will passengers be served any fare while flying? If so, how will the food be handled?

Nuts, popular in-flight snacks, have already been hit hard by the new normal. According to ForbesGNS Foods, a Texas-based company that has been selling the treat to airlines for over 30 years, has had to deal with an abrupt order cancellation from American Airlines earlier in March followed by another one by United Airlines shortly thereafter. The changes left the company with 1.35 million bags of unsold mixed nuts (that's 1.7 million pounds of the food) and thousands more still to be roasted and packaged. 

To try and mitigate the financial repercussions of the order cancellations, GNS Foods started selling the product at-cost on and, apparently, people are really craving some nuts? There are a whole range of bags available for purchase, including the Aloha Mix (cashews, almonds, piña colada pecans and diced pineapples) and the First Class Mixed Nuts iteration (almonds, cashews, pecans and pistachios).

Don Milroy, who co-owns the company, said to Forbes: "We're selling more nuts through the website and our retail store than I ever imagined we would or could." That being said, what they have sold online since March only amounts to 20%-25% of the total inventory that was intended for airlines, leaving Milroy and his wife Kim Peacock, who co-owns GNS Foods, with about $1 million worth of nuts still to be sold. 

The couple believes that passengers might have to come to terms with not seeing nuts on board of planes for a long time to come. "They're serving little fruit cups [in first class now]," Milroy said to Forbes. "That's sure not reducing attendants' interactions with passengers. They're doing just as much of that as before, just with a different product. We've heard since then that they were thinking about making changes to their service features even before COVID. [...] I don't think they'll be putting the nuts back on the planes in the future."

The pandemic's effects turn that much more bitter when looking at last year's GNS Foods numbers. In 2019, the company sold 12 million pounds of nuts, which pushed expectations for 2020 to grand new heights.

All that being said, one thing has remained constant throughout the past few months: changes are quick to come and quick to go, as nobody knows how or when, exactly, this world-altering event will come to a close. We'll just have to wait and see how history unfolds.

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