Stansted airport launches sandwich 'tasting better at 35,000ft'

14/03/2019 - 06:00
London Stansted airport has teamed up with ‘luxury’ food outlet Not Always Caviar to create a sandwich designed with flavours that are enhanced at altitude.

Based on ‘scientific food research into the body’s reduced ability to perceive flavours when flying’, the sandwich will include Umami-rich ingredients.

Umami, the fifth taste after sweet, sour, salty and bitter – is at the ‘core’ of the sandwich’s inception, also featuring as a special blended Umami seasoning.

Professor Barry C. Smith, director of the University of London’s Centre for the study of the senses said: “Science shows that the combination of dry air and low-pressure during flights reduces our sensitivity to food aromas.

“Additionally, the sound of white noise at 80 decibels or above has an impact on the brain’s ability to perceive sweet, salt and sour from the tongue – reducing its intensity by about 10-15%. In an aircraft cabin you are subjected to white noise of around 89 decibels. This will greatly reduce the flavours we can taste whilst flying.

“Foods rich in umami provide depth of flavour and boost other basic tastes like salt, sweet and sour. Umami is also immune to the effects of white noise on our perception of taste. Another way of boosting flavour mid-flight – where the altitude and white noise levels are high – is to combine different types of umami rich foods – creating synergistic umami.

“This occurs when foods with naturally occurring glutamates are combined with others that contain nucleotides. Foods that combine these ingredients will produce a product that’s packed with flavour – even at 35,000 feet”.

The Sky High Sandwich will be sold at the Not Always Caviar cafe in London Stansted airport, available as a Signature Seafood Club (with optional caviar sauce) or a Salt Beef deli sandwich. Both sandwiches will include a umami blend spice ingredient.

The ingredients chosen for the Sky High Sandwich have been ‘carefully crafted’ to ensure that passengers sampling them on-board a flight are met with flavours that trigger receptors in the mouth.

Aboudy Nasser, chief commercial officer at London Stansted Airport said: “As one of the UK’s leading airports, we want to ensure passengers continue to enjoy our great food and beverage offering whilst on board.

“The Sky High Sandwich is part of our mission to innovate, by harnessing science to create something unique for our guests that tastes great on the ground and even better up in the air!”

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