CANVAS STAFF REPORTS - New research published in the Food Quality and Preference Journal may have uncovered a clue as to why people find airline food unappealing.
A study found that high levels of background noise can make people's taste palates less sensitive. That would make food taste bland as diners ate to the roar of the jet engines, The Telegraph reported.
Meanwhile pleasant sounds can make food taste better.
Andy Woods and other scientists from the University of Manchester and the company Unilever were trying to find out why airline food, though heavily seasoned, left passengers unsatisfied. The same has been said by astronauts.
The study had 48 blindfolded participants taste salty and sweet foods while listening to either silence or noise through headphones. The food got ratings of less salty, sweet and tasteful in noisier settings.
Woods suggested that people may be too distracted by the noise to pay as much attention to the food.
Physorg.com said the researchers tested the noise effects because it is the one thing common to all airlines.
The Telegraph said the findings could help restaurant owners better select the right music and ambiance to better please their diners. For instance, a salad bar serving crunchy salad could play louder music while salty food may go better in a quieter setting.
Unilever said it would study the findings more.
"We could ultimately work out the perfect soundtrack to enhance any meal," said Woods.
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