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Published on : May 25, 2015

Why does the cabin food taste bad? According to a study it is the noisy environment present in a claustrophobic airplane which tends to actually change the taste of food.

In this study, around 48 people were given a variety of solutions which were infused with the five basic tastes that are salty, sweet, sour, umami, and bitter. The people involved in this study sipped in silence and then again were asked to taste the food while wearing headsets which were playing at the 85 decibels that is designed to copy the hum of the jet engines when a person hear when onboard a plane.

According to the researchers of this study, though there was not much of a change in the way the sour, salty, and bitter food tasted, the noisy environment artificially induced dulled the sweet taste and contrarily intensified the savory. This can explain why meal eaten on a plane tends to a have a little weird taste.

According to the Assistant Professor, Food Science, their study confirms that in an environment which has loud noise tends to compromise our sense of taste. However, this change was specific to sweet and only umami tastes, and the sweet taste was suppressed while the umami taste was enhanced. This multisensory attributes of the environment where people tend to consumer their food tends to alter their perception of what they are eating.

The German researchers involved that conducted this study tried taste test at both in a pressurized condition and at sea level. These tests unveiled that the cabin atmosphere which was a pressurized and at 8000 feet along with cool dry air of the cabin numbed the taste buds, similar to having a cold. According to the study, the perception of salty and sweet food dropped by approximately 30 per cent at a high altitude.