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Why airline food tastes so bad

19 October 2010

In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Manchester have found that high levels of background noise, such as the low engine roar we hear while flying, can diminish the sensitivity of our palates.

It seems that when people listen to loud white noise, like that heard on planes, they have a dulled ability to taste sweetness and saltiness, and are more likely to report their food tasting bland.

On the flip side, the research, published in the journal Food Quality and Preference, also reveals that pleasant sounds can actually increase people’s enjoyment of meals.

For the study, researchers led by Dr. Andy Woods blindfolded 48 volunteers from the University of Manchester and then gave them a range of foods, including crackers, potato chips, cookies and rice cakes.


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