Why is tomato juice better when you drink it on the plane?

Why is tomato juice better when you drink it on the plane?

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I have a question around me Drink tomato juice It is widely divided. I know some who enjoy eating it, and others who swear by it GazpachoAnd still others would not accept a single drop for anything in the world.

Recently, while taking Long distance aircraftI surprised my seated colleague as he asked for tomato juice from the flight attendants who passed between the rows to distribute snacks.

“Tomato juice, really?” I asked him. “Oh yeah, I like that,” he replied. Before adding: “They're the best on planes!” ». He's not the first to have had this idea, so I wanted to check out this urban legend, and see if I've been missing something all this time.

Altered olfactory perception in airplane

To understand the success of tomato juice on airplanes, we have to look to the science. More precisely, in the way that Our perception of taste It is changed by the environment In which we find ourselves.

Whether the food and drinks we eat on board seem better or worse, it is due to three elements: “Noise, humidity and low atmospheric pressure”L. explains actu.fr Dr. Loic Briand, Director of… Center for Taste and Food Sciences Research Director at National Institute of Agriculture, Food and Environment Research (INRAE).

Unconvinced ? Let's take another study. In 2015, Researchers from Cornell University in America Have participants test several drinks in an airplane cabin simulator.

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The verdict is clear: “The tomato juice was regular The best taste test When the pressure and noise during flight at an altitude of 10 km were simulated,” as we can read ina job Taste, nose issue? (Quae Editions, 2020) by Loïc Briand.

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The role of umami flavour

Noise, humidity and pressure: all factors that “reduce olfactory performance and the ability to perceive sweet and salty flavours.” But it's also an issue Umami flavour.

This flavour, whose Japanese origin translates as “delicious and delicious taste”, was added in the 2000s to the traditional Primary flavours It is salty, sweet, bitter and sour.

The reference molecule for umami flavor is… GlutamateIt is an amino acid found abundantly in tomato juice. However, in addition to the low pressure, the aircraft’s “high noise level […] “It would increase the intensity of the umami flavour,” Dr. Briand specifies Taste, nose issue?

Due to its richness in glutamate, tomato juice generates a particularly pleasant umami flavour. If you also add salt to the celery, it will look better on the plane.

Dr. Loic BriandIn his work “Taste is a Matter of the Nose?”

“Comfort” drink.

Finally, “You should know that umami is one of the flavors that we encounter very early, when we are young. Like milk »Dr. Briand continues. Now, what reflex do we look for when we're a little nervous on the plane? comfort.

It's then easy to jump on Tomato juice is rich in glutamate and hence the craving!

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