Taking to the skies always means one thing for your appetite – unappealing airplane food. But the reason why food on an airplane tastes bad is all about sound, new research suggests.
It’s all down to your ears apparently, as the noise inside the plane’s cabin can compromise how certain foods taste, according to a study by researchers at Cornell University.
For the study, researchers tested 48 participants and had them taste test foods that were spiked with the five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory. They first tested the food in silence and then a second time wearing headphones that played noise mimicking the hum of a plane’s jet engines.
They found that the loud noise had a dulling effect on the sweet taste and intensified the savory taste, but there was no significant effect on the other basic tastes: salty, sour and bitter. This led the researchers to believe that sounds in the environment surrounding a person while they eat can end up altering sensitivity to the food they are eating.