A lot of people have been wondering and trying to answer the question: Why does all food in airplanes taste bad? Whatever you choose – a pasta, tuna, chicken or beef – every kind of meal tastes somehow bad and you always question the quality of it. While some of the airlines, like Lufthansa or HK Express, are trying to make things right with this, the thing is that the food will still remain the same quality. At least for now, until they manage to sort things out somehow. So, what is the problem with the taste?
It is not the food that is the problem
Many people thought that the problem was with the quality of meat and ingredients. Logically, this should not happen, as you buy your ticket for a reasonable price. Therefore, the quality of food and ingredients is not questionable at any level.
The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany performed research with one goal on their mind – to find out why the food tastes so bad in every airline company. And the reason for this was obvious – but no one thought of that as everyone would expect a well-paid cook that prepares meals “in the air”.
It is the pressure that makes you lose taste
The researchers took the exact two same meals: one made in the restaurant and served, and the other prepared and loaded in the aircraft that was given to guests later. The research in Germany involved testing the taste of food under pressurized conditions at the 8,000 feet, which is the usual height that airplanes fly at.
The pressure at that height makes your taste sense go numb – something similar as if you caught a cold. Our sense for saltiness and sweetness drops down for about 30 percent when we are 8,000 feet above the ground. The research encompasses simulating nearly normal conditions in the airplane at that high, but we still could not have the full performance of our taste sense.
The food deteriorates in any case
As you know, all the meals that are available during the flights are prepared earlier in the kitchen at the airport. Once prepared, it is then loaded and stored in the aircraft, waiting to be served to the guests upon getting on-board. Of course, this means that you could eat the food that is prepared even 8 hours prior to the flight.
Food gets cold, and once it is heated up at the temperature of 160 degrees and 140 degrees, it loses its quality. Once at the room’s temperature, it starts deteriorating. It means it becomes tough and dry and there is nothing you can do to make it taste better.
So, in a nutshell, you never get a fresh meal that is cooked right before the flight, but rather several hours before you entered the aircraft. So, even if the conditions were simulated and adjusted to the normal ones, you would still eat a bit of stale meal.