It seems food loses up to 30% of its taste at 30,000 feet, so listening to research, which claims certain types of music can improve food taste, BA is sounding out sonic seasoning to help flavours grow.
Known as ‘Sonic Seasoning’, the study found that specific music can make food appear up to ten per cent more sweet or salty. Based on the findings, the airline’s 13-track playlist is available on long-haul flights from November, to complement the dining experience.
Diners start with a choice of Paolo Nutini to complement the Scottish providence of the salmon dishes, or Louis Armstrong ideally matched for savoury dishes. Lily Allen and Coldplay are among the choices for main meals, as the findings claim that ‘British food and music belong together’. For those choosing a hearty main, Debussy is available, since classical music is perfectly paired with roast style dinners. For dessert, high-pitch tones from James Blunt and Madonna bring out the sweet flavours. Sonic seasoning can also have an effect on drinking wine, with classical and rock music said to enhance perception of quality and depth of flavour. The Pretenders have been chosen to accompany red wines, as they can make it appear more ‘robust’ and ‘heavy’, while white wine is served with The BBC Symphony Orchestra, since classical music can enhance the perception of its quality. To round off the meal the low tones of Tenor Domingo are a great match for coffee.
Mark Tazzioli, British Airways’ chef, said: “Your ability to taste is reduced by 30 per cent in the air, so we do everything we can to counteract this. As the ‘fifth taste’ we use umami rich ingredients in our meals, and choose wines that work well with these dishes. The sonic seasoning research is fascinating, and our pairings should really help bring out the flavours.”
Professor Charles Spence from Oxford University, who conducted the study, said: “In the coming months and years we are going to see far more interest in the matching of music and soundscape to what we eat and drink. I think that it is a really exciting and innovative development to see British Airways taking the first steps in this direction.”
Based on Professor Spence’s study, the playlist compiled by the airline’s in-flight specialists Spafax can be found on the airlines ‘Rock and Pop’ audio channel on long-haul flights as of November. It features the following songs to accompany dishes: