The Real Reason Why Airline Food Tastes So Gross According To Science

Apparently it’s no so much about the taste as it is the sound.

Airline food Why does it suck? Image Airline food

Airline food has a reputation for basically being the worst thing since bread came crust-less but it turns out that may have less to do with taste and more to do with sound.

A study conducted by Cornell University previously claimed that it’s actually the noisy environment of the airplane cabin that plays a significant role in the way food tastes.

As part of their research, 48 test subjects were given five solutions, each spiked with a basic taste including sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami which is a savory flavor found in foods like bacon, cheese or even soy sauce.

The test saw each subject sip one of the solutions in silence. They then repeated the tasting while wearing a headset that played approximately 85 decibels of noise akin to the noise generated by jet engines on a standard flight.

Their findings revealed that, while there was little change in the way the salty, bitter and sour solutions tasted, the noise actually dulled the sweeter tastes while making the savoury ones that bit stronger.

“The multisensory properties of the environment where we consume our food can alter our perception of the foods we eat.”

“Our study confirmed that in an environment of loud noise, our sense of taste is compromised. Interestingly, this was specific to sweet and umami tastes, with sweet taste inhibited and umami taste significantly enhanced,” Robin Dando, Cornell’s Assistant Professor of Food Science explained.

“The multisensory properties of the environment where we consume our food can alter our perception of the foods we eat.”

So next time you get onboard, why not put some earplugs in before you tuck in to your in-flight meal – you might be surprised by the results.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.