Ever wondered why food in airplanes always tastes so bland? Now, a new study at the University of Manchester tells you why.
The level of background noise affects both the intensity of flavour and the perceived crunchiness of foods, researchers have found. While louder noise reduced the reported sweetness or saltiness, it increased the measure of crunch.
Maybe that’s the reason airplane food tastes so bland - a phenomenon that drives airline catering companies to heavily season their foods.
"Nasa gives their space explorers very strong-tasting foods, because for some reason they can't taste food that strongly - again, perhaps it's the background noise,” BBC quoted Andy Woods as saying.
In a comparatively small study of 48 participants, who were fed sweet foods such as biscuits or salty ones such as crisps, while listening to silence or noise through headphones, the researchers found that in noisier settings, foods were rated less salty or sweet than they were in the absence of background noise, but were rated to be more crunchy.
"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," Woods said.
The research is reported in the journal Food Quality and Preference.