The Science Behind Salty Airline Food

By Jason Fitzpatrick on July 11th, 2012

In this collection, Artist Signe Emma combines a scientific overview of the role salt plays in airline food with electron microscope scans of salt crystals arranged to look like the views from an airplane–a rather clever and visually stunning way to deliver the message.

Attached to the collection is this explaination of why airlines load their snacks and meals with salt:

White noise consists of a random collection of sounds at different frequencies and scientists have demonstrated that it is capable of diminishing the taste of salt. At low-pressure conditions, higher taste and odour thresholds of flavourings are generally observed.

At 30.000 feet the cabin humidity drops by 15%, and the lowered air pressure forces bodily fluids upwards. With less humidity, people have less moisture in their throat, which slows the transport of odours to the brains smell and taste receptors. That means that if a meal should taste the same up in the air, as on ground it needs 30% of extra salt.

To combat the double assault on our sense of taste, the airlines boost the salt content to compensate. For more neat microscope scans as high-altitude view photographs, hit up the link below.

Airline Food [via FastCompany]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/11/12
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