Why Food Tastes Different On Planes

Why Food Tastes Different On Planes


Ever look at the beverage cart on a plane and see it piled high with tomato juice? It’s not a common juice,
like orange or apple. So why are so many people
drinking it in flight? Put simply? Your taste changes
while you’re in the air. And there’s a biological reason for that. If you grab a bite before your flight, you probably have an idea of what it will taste like. But once you’re in the air, your sense of taste isn’t the same as it is on the ground. A lot of factors on the
plane are all coming together to suppress your sense of smell, which makes up a large
portion of our sense of taste. Think back to the last
time you had a cold. Remember how you couldn’t taste anything because your nose was clogged up? When you have a weakened sense of smell, your perception of taste is reduced. So your in-flight nose is similar to your nose when you have a cold, but hopefully with less phlegm. Let’s start with the cabin, which is extremely dry. Drier-than-some-deserts dry. The dry cabin dries out
your nasal passages, which means your taste buds
become less perceptive. But that’s not the only part of the cabin suppressing your sense of taste. The low cabin pressure actually decreases the levels of oxygen in your blood, which means your olfactory receptors, the part of your nervous
system that responds to smells, become less sensitive, which actually weakens
your sense of smell. But it’s not just the
environment inside the cabin that’s affecting your senses. The noise coming from the
engine isn’t helping either. A 2010 study tested
people’s sense of taste both inside and outside
a simulated plane cabin. The researchers found sensitivity
to sweet and salty food was reduced by 30% while in the cabin. And that weakened sense of taste can cause a lot of problems
for airline caterers, who have to modify every recipe to account for it. To top it off, not every
flavor is affected equally. Some ingredients, like
curry and lemongrass, actually become more intense in the sky, while cinnamon, ginger, and garlic tend to maintain their taste. Some airlines will use
naturally intense flavors, like certain fruit and
vegetable oils and concentrates, which helps to lessen
the amount of extra salt a recipe might need. So, what does tomato juice
have to do with all of this? Well, tomato juice tends
to have a savory flavor referred to as umami. It’s one of the five categories of taste, along with sweet, sour, salt, and bitter. A 2015 study found that, with umami, the taste phenomenon is actually reversed. Umami is actually enhanced in the air. So the next time you’re on a flight, give the tomato juice a try. And don’t get too upset if your meal doesn’t taste as good as you hoped. The chefs are just trying to accommodate for something you didn’t
know was happening right underneath your nose.

100 thoughts on “Why Food Tastes Different On Planes”

  1. food on China Southern and Air China is good . i sometimes bring chips and biscuits on and i bring gum to chew when landing

  2. They serve you crap and treat you like cattle.. Why do you think immigrants rarely fly.. They would rather take a raft from France than fly.. 😂😂

  3. Why did you put the junk science taste areas of the tongue? Kinda makes the entire video suspect if you don't actually base it on science. Downvote.

  4. What utter RUBBISH!!!!!!!!! The food on planes is mostly rubbish to start with, mass produced pretty much like a ready meal. It looks dull and drab and not appealing to eat. The fact that when you lose one sense your other senses increase. You actually eat with your eyes, and then your mouth. If the food looks good then it should taste good, if it looks bad then it should be bad. I could go on, such as when you are ill, then you do not feel well enough to eat, it has nothing to do with taste, you might throw up the meal later on, which is why you have soup when you are ill.

  5. You have to ask for tomato juice. All flights have it. Just because they don’t offer it doesn’t mean it’s not there

  6. That’s all fine and dandy, but you guys used an outdated and unscientific depiction of the “areas of taste” on the tongue

  7. Singapore Airlines has the best inflight food even in Economy!

    FYI, the picture featured on the video is from them

  8. I have gone to many different American Airlines
    JetBlue, American, delta etc

    I have only seen tomato juice on American I think

  9. Is it just me who has seen tomato juice on a plane , I’ve been on Aer Lingus , Ryanair , Air canada , Emirates , Turkish airlines and Etihad airlines , and I tend to find tomato juice pretty common

  10. Can I say that my first time travelling overseas in my country was ruined because my plane smelled like pee and I'm seriously disgusted for the 6 hours flying to China and back to my country? I felt really uncomfortable… Food tastes normal but the damn smell….

  11. 2:38
    Seriously, this is so wrong. And since this is wrong, the whole video is false, explaining nothing.
    For those who don't know, search up tongue taste map myth.

  12. Ok, honestly, I'm not a picky eater, but the thing I HATE about airplane food is the taste of plastic in the food after its heated. Like I love fruit and bread and literally anything else that is cold when I'm on the plane

  13. It's funny how the taste buds aren't at all devided Into different flavor receptors and we all experience that, but they still thought it in schools for so long….

  14. All these people talking about not seeing tomato juice on flights, but I’ve NEVER see anyone eat anything besides mini pretzels and nuts on a plane.

  15. It’s because tomato juice has a LOT of added salt. We are less sensitive to and may actually crave more salt when we fly, so it tastes better!

  16. First ive never seen tomato juice despite the fact I've flown to south America, France, london,germany and Canada. Also to be honest I really like airplane food, like only the ravioli and beef tho.

  17. Airline food taste terrible not because the food is bad, but our tongue's fault, try those "bad airline food" after you landed, it taste pretty good on land.

  18. Never ever seen tomato juice on a flight – either on the cart or on someone's tray. And as far as taste, some of the best food I've had was flying with Etihad first class. This video is garbage…

  19. I have a technique when i have to drink antibiotics when i was like 6 yrs old (the very bitter ones) so i close my nose like pinch it so i cant breath but i breath through my mouth, then i drink the antibiotic and it taste nothing like nothing

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