More than a million liters of tomato juice are served daily on flights. In an interview with the Express newspaper, OriGym Center of Excellence nutrition expert and trainer Alice Williams spoke about the reason for this gastronomic phenomenon.
She explained that the taste buds noticeably change during the flight, and there are some foods that tourists should eat to combat this. “During flight, two main things happen to the air: the pressure rises and the humidity falls. This combination of low pressure and dryness eventually causes your taste buds to change. Dryness on an airplane also reduces your sense of smell. Since smell actually makes up a big part of how we taste food, it will also affect the taste of food in the air.”
The expert advised not to tolerate the insipid taste of in-flight food and opt for umami-flavoured foods, “because flying does not affect this taste.” Which food is a particularly good source of umami flavor? Tomatoes. “That's why many airlines offer tomato juice as a free drink on their flights,” she explained.
Umami adds a strong flavor to many Asian ingredients such as miso, soy sauce, oyster sauce, kimchi, and shiitake mushrooms, while umami-rich foods include soy sauce, tuna, and cheeses such as parmesan. The expert also explained that “umami-infused sandwich toppings would be best in the air, like tuna.” As for the vegetarian option, “a cheese and tomato sandwich would also be delicious,” added Williams.
In addition, nutrigenetics expert Ellie Busby echoed her colleague and said: “It is hypothesized that hypobaric (low atmospheric pressure) the atmosphere in the cabin is the main factor contributing to this.
This condition often leads to a deterioration in taste perception, mainly due to a decrease in the ability to smell during flight. She added that on airplanes, “people have a significantly reduced sensitivity to sour and salty tastes, but an increased sensitivity to sweet.”
According to the expert, some types of food can taste different, and foods that are incredibly in demand in the hypobaric environment of an aircraft, include salty, citrus, and sour foods. Therefore, passengers who tasted tomato juice during the flight realized that it tastes better than any other drink.
Earlier, the German airline Lufthansa commissioned a study to prove how popular the drink is on the plane. Their study showed that on average, tourists drank more than 1.5 million liters of tomato juice on flights. It's good that tomato juice is not only the most delicious drink on board, but also a product rich in vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system.
It is precisely because of the altered perception of taste that the Bloody Mary alcoholic drink, which contains vodka and tomato juice, can also be a good option for air travelers. Moreover, this drink, unlike the others, is considered a “healthier smoothie” because it contains electrolytes, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants from tomato juice.
For example, a flight attendant recently shared on the Reddit social network her recommendation: “You should try tomato juice during the flight, even if you don’t usually like it. Science says that it tastes better at higher altitudes. Seriously, google it.”
Many travelers have reported how they enjoy having their drink in the air. So, one of them wrote the following on the social network: “I always take tomato juice on planes, and since almost no one drinks it, they give me the whole box. Please don't destroy my secret!”
Earlier, Turprom wrote that “A plane passenger with a giant bust was transferred to the kitchen compartment with a scandal.”
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