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Description: So how does airplane food taste? Yes, well now for a more important question: IS the fact that airplane food does not taste as good as we might hope due entirely to the food we are served (when we are lucky to get anything at all on a plane)? According to research discussed in this article it’s not all the fault of the food.

Source: BBC Future: Why does food taste different on planes?

Date: January 15, 2015

Airline Food

Photo Credit: Getty Images–

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So food is just food and taste is just taste? Well maybe not. It seems that our sensory perceptions of food vary depending upon where we are and the nature of our surrounding environment when we eat it. Being at altitude on a plane with the dry air, the sounds of the engines, and the lower air pressure may actually affect our taste receptors (for swee5t and salt but not for umami). So have a look at the article and see what affects air travel has on our food tastes.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of things related to air travel affect our taste receptors and what are the changes?
  2. What effects on taste have been demonstrated on the ground in Psychology labs?
  3. Are there things airlines could do to offset the potentially negative effects of air flight on our taste buds?

References (Read Further):

Woods, A.T. et al (2011) Effect of background noise on food perception. Food Quality and Preference, 22(1), 42-47.

Charles Spence, University of Oxford: