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Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Study Reveals Which In-flight Meals Are Yummiest and Tasteless

In-flight meal

(Photo : Wikimedia Commons) An in-flight meal in the Garuda Indonesia Air Lines

A study identified the best-tasting in-flight meals, which are affected by the noise of commercial planes, in a report published by the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

The noise of a plane, about 85 decibels, reduces the taste of sweet food but boosts savory taste. This is how it can severely affect our taste buds, according to researchers of the food science department of Cornell University.

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To conduct the study, researchers created a plane simulation with 48 participants who tasted and rated a variety of food with the five basic tastes.

Before the plane became noisy, food with salty, sour, and bitter flavors tasted the same, the participants noted. But when its ambient noise dominated the cabins, the sweet taste became less sweet and received low scores while the salty and "umami" taste got the highest scores.

Umami is the Japanese term for the meaty and savory taste in food.

The multi-sensory nature of flavor in food is affected by both complex and minor factors, the study's co-author and Cornell University professor Robin Dando said.

"Our results characterize a novel sensory interaction with intriguing implications for the effect of the environment in which we consume food," professor Dando added.

This could be the reason that the German airline Lufthansa served about 1.8 million liters of tomato juice to passengers in 2010. As they found this intriguing, they commissioned a research company, who found out that tomato juice tasted better in flight, reports said.

In addition, the cocktail Bloody Mary is usually popular among passengers, who also drank it to calm their nerves after takeoff.

This study could help airline chefs improve their in-flight menus, the researchers said.

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