British Airways is experimenting with a new science that focuses on a playlist to improve the taste of food.
There was a pretty interesting article on Skift about how British Airways is working with science to improve the taste of their food on flights.
Charles Spence, a researcher at Oxford University, has discovered that certain kinds of music can trick the taste buds, thereby improving the taste of the food. This works by the songs tricking the brain into finding the taste of the food more flavorful, which means British Airways will be able to use less ingredients, like salt and sugar, but still maintain the taste of their food.
According to Skift:
This is the new science of Sonic Seasoning, which British Airways has employed to improve in-flight Dinning at 35,000ft.
Professor Spence carried out his first experiments on the relationship between sound and taste at Heston Blumenthal’s award-winning Fat Duck restaurant. He used a single trombone note for bitter, mixed with the rumble of car traffic through a tunnel, as you do, and the reverb of a grand piano for sweetness. Playing an assortment of musical combinations, Spence’s experiment revealed, cooks can dial certain ingredients down a notch while still ramping up flavor.
In the aircraft cabin, where tastebuds are already known to be affected by cabin conditions, the science of Sonic Seasoning is especially dandy. British Airways hopes it provides the cure to our flight-dulled tastebuds.
“Your ability to taste is reduced by 30 per cent in the air, so we do everything we can to counteract this,” says Mark Tazzioli, British Airways’ chef, “The sonic seasoning research is fascinating, and our pairings should really help bring out the flavors.”
Interestingly, the science is also believed to work with wine, which could help those who have often criticized the taste of vintage wines at 35,000 feet.
In case you’re wondering what songs you should be listening to in order to experience this science, here’s a list of songs British Airways is using:
|Track||Artist and song||Dining option||Findings from the study|
|1||Paolo Nutini, “Scream (Funk My Life Up)”||Scottish salmon starter||Scottish musicians can enhance the providence of Scottish foods|
|2||Anthony and the Johnsons, “Crazy in Love”||Savoury starter||Low tones complement savoury starters|
|3||Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, “Azalea”||Savoury starter||Low tones complement savoury starters|
|4||Johnny Marr, “New Town Velocity”||Full English breakfast (early morning flights)||British music should be paired with British food|
|5||Lily Allen, “Somewhere Only We Know”||Main meal, British classic||Piano notes can enhance the sensation of sweet and bitter tastes. British music should also be paired with British food|
|6||Coldplay, “A Sky Full of Stars”||Main meal, British classic||British music should be paired with British food|
|7||Debussy, “Claire De Lune”||Main meal/ roast dinners||Classical music is suitable for meals such as Sunday lunch. Piano notes can also enhance he sensation of sweet and bitter tastes|
|8||James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”||Dessert||High-tones boost sweet flavours|
|9||Madonna, “Ray of Light”||Dessert||High-tones boost sweet flavours|
|10||Otis Redding, “The Dock of the Bay”||After-dinner chocolate||Low tones can bring out the bitterness in chocolate|
|11||The Pretenders, “Back on the Chain Gang”||Red wine||Rock music can enhance depth of flavour, making red wine appear more ‘heavy’|
|12||Hope/BBC Symphony Orchestra/Shostakovich, “Romance from the Gadfly, Op.97″||White wine||Classical music can enhance the overall experience and perceptions of quality when paired with wine|
|13||Plácido Domingo, “Nessun Dorma from Turandot”||Coffee||Tenors low tones are suited to the bitterness of coffee|