Does Noise Make Airplane Food Suck?


If you thought the awfulness of airplane food was attributable solely to the fact that the airline industry hates its customers, you may be wrong.

New research reported in the journal Food Quality and Preference (which, really, may as well be the name of every single food magazine on the market) has found that levels of background noise affect the perceived flavor of foods, as well as levels of crunchiness.

In the study, the BBC reports, 48 subjects ate sweet or salty foods while listening to silence or noise through headphones, and rated both the intensity of flavors and how much they liked them. Foods consumed in noisier conditions were rated less salty or sweet than they were when consumed in relative silence, and were also rated crunchier.

Interesting enough, but if the researchers really wanted ideal laboratory conditions, they should have gone to Prune during Sunday brunch or Pulino’s at 8 p.m. on a Friday. And the study’s findings still don’t offer any explanation for why a bag of peanuts costs $6 on JetBlue.

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