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Airline Meals And Food Science  
User currently offlinejustloveplanes From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1040 posts, RR: 1
Posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3284 times:

Travelling a lot, I am wondering what if any kinds of preservatives and other processing techniques are applied to airline foods?

The don't usally list that on the menus (i.e. caution, contains MSG...). Wasn't aware till recently that one common technique is waxing used for groceries.....

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3209 times:

Quoting justloveplanes (Thread starter):

Travelling a lot, I am wondering what if any kinds of preservatives and other processing techniques are applied to airline foods?

I'm not aware of any special processing done on the made-to-order trays. The pre-bagged stuff (like cookies) probably has the usual suspects...trans fats, stabilizers, preservatives, etc.

Quoting justloveplanes (Thread starter):

The don't usally list that on the menus (i.e. caution, contains MSG...). Wasn't aware till recently that one common technique is waxing used for groceries.....

That's a general produce technique that you'll find in most grocery stores, nothing to do with airlines in particular.

Tom.


User currently offlineflipdewaf From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2006, 1562 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3151 times:
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I work as an innovation engineer within the food industry and while I haven't worked directly with the airlines I work within new product development with people who have. I'm sure there are many things in the foods hat you wouldn't know about because they are not classed as ingredients but as 'processing agents' so I don't think that even many of the catering agencies would necessarily be able to tell you.

It's worth remembering that once thawed, the meals will have to survive no longer than the flight itself.

Fred


User currently offlinejustloveplanes From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1040 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3133 times:

Quoting flipdewaf (Reply 2):
It's worth remembering that once thawed, the meals will have to survive no longer than the flight itself

My curiosity got piqued recently on a flight with CO where they served Kung Pao Shrimp in B class that was quite nice and crunchy. This is hard to do even in a land restaurant, so wondering how they pulled this off with reheated food.


User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3501 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3053 times:

I heard that airline food has to be spiced/seasoned more than food that would be served on the ground as one's sense of taste is worse at altitude. I can attest to things tasting different than they do on the ground (ie. a snack brought from home).


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User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31667 posts, RR: 56
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2918 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 4):
I can attest to things tasting different than they do on the ground (ie. a snack brought from home).

What contributes to variation of Taste at Altitude.......



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User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2900 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 4):
I heard that airline food has to be spiced/seasoned more than food that would be served on the ground as one's sense of taste is worse at altitude.

I'd heard this as well. There's research showing that people lose some of their sense of taste when they hear the white noise inside an aircraft's cabin. For that reason, airline meals tend to be saltier or sweeter than meals served on the ground. LH even took their meals to a low pressure chamber to test the effects of cabin pressure on food taste. Basically, low humidity in the cabin effects the ability of the nose to smell the food, which is around 80% of what makes up what we taste.

Although it does not directly answer the OPs question some time ago in a different thread someone linked to a youtube video showing how airline meals were prepared. I believe it was this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alh_2xg5GWo&feature=related



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User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3501 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2748 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 6):

The show "How it's Made" is a Canadian made TV show that shows the production of different things in Canada (mainly Quebec) and the US. This version is dubbed for the UK but I can still tell it is filmed at Cara Foods in Montreal. You can see the AC salt/pepper shakers towards the end. I'm guessing this was filmed in 2003-2005 (Most of the older episodes are filmed in Quebec).

[Edited 2011-10-20 16:39:29]


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User currently offlinejustloveplanes From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1040 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2719 times:

I feel extra dehydrated or just have a long time digesting what I eat on an airplane sometimes. Maybe it's the extra salt combined with some lingering altitude effect / jet lag. I was thinking it might be preservatives used on the food.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17002 posts, RR: 67
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2703 times:

You get dehydrated on the plane anyway due to the low humidity.


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User currently offlineflybaurlax From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 638 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 2688 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 5):
What contributes to variation of Taste at Altitude.......

The International Space Station has a cabin altitude of roughly 6000 feet, hence Tabasco sauce is one of the most used items for each meal. I do believe that the food is prepped with this altitude factor in mind, however the astronauts still use Tabasco almost with anything they eat up there.



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User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 491 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2649 times:

Quoting flybaurlax (Reply 10):

The International Space Station has a cabin altitude of roughly 6000 feet, hence Tabasco sauce is one of the most used items for each meal. I do believe that the food is prepped with this altitude factor in mind, however the astronauts still use Tabasco almost with anything they eat up there.

On a side note (and questions), I've been told that the military MRE's have little to no fiber in them, as well as other chemical changes, to limit waste and to "block a soldier up" (you don't want to have to do #2 when you are being shot at). Is this the case with the ISS/astronaut food to reduce waste?


User currently offlineha763 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 3636 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 2584 times:
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The vast majority of the food for airline meals are made within 24 hours or less of consumption and then chilled or frozen. There is no need for any preservatives, other than what was already in the ingredients.

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31667 posts, RR: 56
Reply 13, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2498 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
You get dehydrated on the plane anyway due to the low humidity.

Thats why Drinking water is a good option in flight....

On the topic of taste at altitude.....Noticed food does taste a little less tasty,but then I presumed it was the reheated variety thats why.



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User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2476 times:

Quoting Northwest727 (Reply 11):
On a side note (and questions), I've been told that the military MRE's have little to no fiber in them, as well as other chemical changes, to limit waste and to "block a soldier up" (you don't want to have to do #2 when you are being shot at). Is this the case with the ISS/astronaut food to reduce waste?


What happens when you need a dump though and you're constipated? Take laxatives?

I can see the reasoning but dropping bricks can't be very nice on a semi-permanent basis.


User currently offlineNorthwest727 From United States of America, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 491 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 2331 times:

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 14):
What happens when you need a dump though and you're constipated? Take laxatives?

The MRE's come with chewing gum that supposedly alleviates the constipating effects of the food.


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31667 posts, RR: 56
Reply 16, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2234 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 13):
Thats why Drinking water is a good option in flight....

Just to clarify.....I meant Bottled/packaged water & not from the Potable system of the Aircraft.....Those in the field will know what I mean  



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