Study: For Optimal Pleasure, Enjoy Your Bloody Mary Inflight

posted: 05/21/15
by: Danny Clemens
Bloody Mary

Scientists may finally understand why Blood Marys and champagne are the beverages of choice for jetsetters.

In a new study from Cornell University, researchers found that the loud din produced by jet engines enhances human taste buds' perceptions of savory flavors, such as tomato. Conversely, 85 decibels of roaring jet engine suppresses our perception of sweet foods.

"The multisensory nature of what we consider 'flavor' is undoubtedly underpinned by complex central and peripheral interactions. Our results characterize a novel sensory interaction, with intriguing implications for the effect of the environment in which we consume food," said study co-author Robin Dando.

The study specifically identifies the amino acid glutamate, which is present in high levels in tomatoes, as being particularly pleasurable inflight. Wine, walnuts, mushrooms, parmesan cheese and peas also contain high levels of glutamate.

Dando and his colleague Kimberly Yan hope that airlines will use their research to adjust their menus accordingly. The study, "A Crossmodal Role for Audition in Taste Perception," will be published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

A similar study commissioned last year by German carrier Lufthansa found that cabin pressure can also impact sensory perception. The airline called for the private study after it noticed that its passengers were consuming beer and tomato juice in equal amounts.

Click here for more information from Cornell

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