justloveplanes
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Airline Meals And Food Science

Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:21 pm

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.....
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:54 pm

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.
 
flipdewaf
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:48 pm

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.

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justloveplanes
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:07 pm

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.
 
JAGflyer
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:42 am

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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HAWK21M
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:37 pm

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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canoecarrier
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:29 pm

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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JAGflyer
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:33 pm

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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justloveplanes
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:02 am

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.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:27 am

You get dehydrated on the plane anyway due to the low humidity.
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flybaurlax
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:42 am

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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Northwest727
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:49 am

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?
 
ha763
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:43 pm

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.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:26 am

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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ajd1992
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:06 pm

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.
 
Northwest727
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:16 pm

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.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Airline Meals And Food Science

Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:33 am

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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