Japanese company selling in-flight meals in stores amid declining sales due to COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the massive decline in flights amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, one Japanese company is re-purposing its in-flight meals as bento boxes to be sold online, in supermarkets and department stores.

The Japan Times reported on Sunday that Nagoya Air Catering Co., a company which provides in-flight meals to international flights at Chubu Centrair International Airports in central Japan, has seen a worrisome decline in demand for its meals.

The declining sales forced the company to sell limited quantities of their meals at a local department store last month near Nagoya Station, a major railway station roughly 127 miles east of Kyoto. 

According to the Times, the popular meals drew swaths of hungry customers lining up for the coveted bento boxes. 

RELATED: Japan’s government says it has identified new, more contagious coronavirus variant

The meals included Kobe beef bento, beef fillet sandwiches originally intended for business-class passengers as well as various other Asian and European dishes, the Japan Times reported. 

Following the response by consumers of the limited sale of these meals, a company spokesperson told the Japan Times that they are considering making the meals available at various convenience stores as well.

"We’ll develop products while hearing consumer opinions," a Nagoya Air Catering official told the Japan Times. 

Bento boxes are a popular meal in Japan. They take on many different forms and sizes and typically come in the form of a packaged meal containing key ingredients like rice, noodles, pickled and cooked vegetables as well as fish or meat.