Can airline food boost your mood?

Usually airline foods are labelled as bad, probably with the exceptions of a few good ones. The Monarch Airlines, on the other hand, puts a spin of creating feel good airline foods. The “Monarch Mood Food” box was created by the team behind the healthy and happy food campaign. Food Psychologist Prof. Charles Spence worked with Josef Youssef, Head Chef at Kitchen Theory, and Heston Blumenthal with his team at The Fat Duck Research Kitchen.

“We’re always looking at ways to innovate and improve the service we provide, so it will be interesting to see how Monarch’s Mood Food Box  is received. Airline food has progressed significantly over the last few years so there’s no reason why, in the future, airline menus can combine flavour with more scientific combinations of ingredients making passengers happier, healthier and more relaxed,” said Richard Wood, UK Sales and Marketing Director at Alpha LSG, Monarch’s inflight catering provider.

The Mood Food Box wants the experience of travelling nicer and easier, from the moment customers step inside the airport gate, which is deemed to be the most stressful part of travel according to studies made by Monarch. Echinacea and liquorice ice cream reduces the symptoms of coughs and colds, Turns out the active ingredients in liquorice has anti-inflammatory and cell protective abilities. Then again, you can never go wrong with ice cream.

“The black colour is certainly counter-intuitive – most passengers think of white or pale colours with the ice cream. This may also help to distracts passengers from their chaotic journey whilst also surprising them and playing into childlike nostalgia,” said Prof Spence.

Soothing and relaxing green tea and lavender mochi rice cakes relax travellers at take-off. Lavender is said to enhance relaxation and sleep quality, while the high polyphenol content of green tea means it’s packed with antioxidants.

“While flavour and ingredients are key, texture also plays a part in modifying mood states. The soft, chewy texture of the rice encourages mastication which has proven anti-stress properties, reducing tension much chewing gum. The chewy rice snack has therefore been designed to help reduce passenger stress on aeroplanes,” said Dr Spence.

Monarch also offers different blends of herbal teas containing chamomile, fennel seed and kelp, proven to combat bloating and aid digestion. The additional of lemon balm provides aromatic properties. The tea is complemented with a crunchy, seaweed biscuit, delivering sweet yet salty umami tastes.

“Reduced air pressure, dry cabin air, and engine noise all inhibit taste perception, but umami is the only one of the basic tastes that manages to cut through these barriers, which is why so many passengers order a tomato juice or Bloody Mary onboard. Using umami tastes alongside our other flavour combinations will be comforting and satisfying for passengers,” said Charles.

Travellers will also get to indulge in a sweet caramelised nut bar coated in umami rich mushroom and tomato powder to re-energise and awaken the senses as passengers arrive at their destination. Who said travelling at the airport and being onboard airplanes have to be stressful? Food can definitely make anyone happy, anytime, anywhere. So where to on your next destination?

Photos courtesy of Monarch Airlines