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Engine Noise On Planes Can Diminish Your Sense Of Taste

They are something you either love or hate, however for those who dislike them, this could be your reason why….

Scientists have discovered why flight meals are so distasteful, and the chef’s not to blame!

Research has found that the noise passengers are subjected to inside the aircraft cabin can affect the taste buds, reducing people’s senses to salt and sweetness – and increasing crunchiness.

You know how it is, after an hour or so after taking off, a warm, home-made cooking smell gently wafts throughout the cabin making your tummy grumble and setting expectations high.


However, these new findings could explain why even the most sweet, savoury or spicy smelling in-flight meals can taste bland, boring and extremely disappointing!

Andy Woods, a researcher from Unilever’s laboratories and the University of Manchester, said: ‘There’s a general opinion that aeroplane foods aren’t fantastic.

‘I’m sure airlines do their best, and given that, we wondered if there are other reasons why the food would not be so good. One thought was perhaps the background noise has some impact.

‘Nasa gives their space explorers very strong-tasting foods, because for some reason they can’t taste the food that strongly, again, perhaps it’s the background noise.

‘There was no previous research on this, so we went about seeing if the hunch was correct.’

In order to test the theory, 48 diners volunteered to be blinded and were then fed salty foods such as crisps and sweet ones such as biscuits, while listening to silence or noise through headphones.

Each diner was then asked to rate the foods for flavour and said how much they liked them.

The results showed that the background noise led to foods being rated less sweet or salty. They were also perceived to be more crunchy, the journal Food Quality and Preference reports.

Dr Woods said: ‘The evidence points to this effect being down to where your attention lies – if the background noise is loud it might draw your attention to that, away from the food.’ Meaning that when flying, the ‘white noise’ of the engines could be putting us off our food.

Studies have also shown that when listening to pleasurable music while eating can make your meal more enjoyable…..it’s no wonder why restaurants play ‘mood music’ to its customers.

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