The Scientific Reason Bloody Marys Taste Better on Airplanes
If you’re not sure what to pair with that B-movie the next time you’re cruising at 30,000 feet, science suggests you try a Bloody Mary—and not just because it will make the plot of Taken 3 seem more plausible.
According to a group of Cornell-based researchers, tomato juice tastes better up in the air. The reason: the noise level on an airplane influences our perceptions of taste. In a study published recently in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 48 participants sampled a range of tomato juices—some were sweeter, while some were more salty or bitter. During the session, the noise level was steadily increased and participants were asked to rate the intensity of each flavor. The noisier the environment, the more difficulty people had detecting sweet flavors. Savory flavors, however—including tomatoes’ earthy “umami” taste—were easier to pick up.
This isn’t exactly news to airlines. Last year, a Lufthansa executive reported that they sell as much tomato juice as they do beer on flights. The company ordered a study of their own, which determined that the air pressure and humidity levels on planes make bolder drinks and foods more appealing.
There you go: official permission to spice up your next flight. Thanks, science!