Back in the good old days of flying (that is, any time before March 2020), airline nuts were simply a light snack that first- and business-class passengers enjoyed with a glass of Champagne or a cocktail before the full meal service. Today, they're one of the hottest-ticket items in aviation besides, well, plane tickets.
When the pandemic halted air travel back in March, it wasn't just the airlines who suffered—their suppliers, including catering companies, were also affected. One such company was GNS Foods, a woman-owned family business based in Arlington, Texas, which supplied fresh nut mixes to several airline clients. GNS Foods was left with a surplus of nuts when the airlines' schedules were reduced.
"We were asked to maintain United's costs on their mixes for one year. To do that, we had to sign raw ingredient contracts for one year. Now we're left with these contracts," Kim Peacock, owner of GNS Foods, said in a statement. "If nut prices rise, then you can sell the contract at a profit. Unfortunately, that's not what happened. Nut prices fell, and the raw ingredient suppliers are looking to us to make up the difference!"
So GNS Foods decided to sell bags of mixed airline nuts to the public in one- and two-pound bags at a price just slightly higher than their cost. The company isn't making a ton of money, but it's not losing it, either.
As it turns out, customers have gone nuts for the nuts. Aviation blogger Ben Schlappig of One Mile At A Time crunched the sales numbers reported by GNS Foods, and he conservatively estimated that more than 100,000 pounds (that's 50 tons!) of nuts had been sold since the beginning of the pandemic. Because the mixed nuts have proven so popular, GNS Foods is now selling bags of just a single kind of nut—which is great if you have particular nut tastes.
Have we whetted your appetite for some airline nuts? Head to GNS Food's online shop here to buy your own.