Based on scientific food research into the body’s reduced ability to perceive flavours when flying, conducted at the University of London, the new sandwich will include umami-rich ingredients. Umami, the fifth taste after sweet, sour, salty and bitter – is at the core of the sandwich through its special blended umami seasoning.
Working in partnership with Not Always Caviar and leading food expert professor Barry C. Smith at the University of London, the airport has developed the ‘Sky High Sandwich’ to give all passengers access to the same food science that has been employed by some of the world’s premium airlines for business class passengers.
The sandwich will be sold exclusively at the Not Always Caviar cafe in Stansted airport, available in two flavours ‘Signature Seafood Club’ or ‘Salt Beef Deli Sandwich’. Both sandwiches will include a special umami blend spice ingredient, to give the sandwiches an umami boost.
Smith, director of the University of London’s Centre for the Study of the Senses said: “Science shows that the combination of dry air and low-pressure during flights reduces our sensitivity to food aromas. Additionally, the sound of white noise at 80 decibels or above has an impact on the brain’s ability to perceive sweet, salt and sour from the tongue – reducing its intensity by about 10-15%.
“In an aircraft cabin you are subjected to white noise of around 89 decibels. This will greatly reduce the flavours we can taste whilst flying. Foods rich in umami provide depth of flavour and boost other basic tastes like salt, sweet and sour. Umami is also immune to the effects of white noise on our perception of taste.
“Another way of boosting flavour mid-flight – where the altitude and white noise levels are high – is to combine different types of umami rich foods – creating synergistic umami. This occurs when foods with naturally occurring glutamates are combined with others that contain nucleotides. Foods that combine these ingredients will produce a product that’s packed with flavour – even at 35,000 feet.”
Aboudy Nasser, chief commercial officer at London Stansted Airport, added: “As one of the UK’s leading airports, we want to ensure passengers continue to enjoy our great food and beverage offering whilst on board. The Sky High Sandwich is part of our mission to innovate, by harnessing science to create something unique for our guests that tastes great on the ground and even better up in the air.”
Taylor Goodhew, chief operating officer at Not Always Caviar, said: “Our sandwiches are made with fresh ingredients daily on the premises, so we are delighted to combine these ingredients with the science behind umami to provide customers with a fantastic taste experience which is proven to be enhanced at 35,000 ft.”