If you find flying stressful and the idea of plane food a turn-off, one airline may have created a mid-air menu to change your mind.
Low-cost carrier Monarch has teamed up with Oxford University's Professor Charles Spence – who's helped Heston Blumenthal with some of his most inventive menus – to produce an airline food offering designed to improve your mood. Monarch's "mood food" menu, which is being trialled now, begins with a serving of echinacea and liquorice ice cream which aims to boost fliers' immune systems and take their minds off the flight ahead.
"The black colour [of the ice cream] is certainly counter-intuitive – most passengers think of white or pale colours with the ice cream," Professor Spence told The Telegraph. "This may also help to distract passengers from their chaotic journey whilst also surprising them and playing into childlike nostalgia."
After take-off, fliers can tuck into rice cakes flavoured with lavender, proven to aid relaxation, and green tea, which is filled with antioxidants to stave off jet lag. A bespoke blend of herbal tea designed to prevent bloating will also be served, accompanied by a seaweed biscuit with a distinctive umami taste.
Professor Spence told The Telegraph: "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 on-board. Using umami tastes alongside our other flavour combinations will be comforting and satisfying for passengers."
The menu is completed by a caramelised nut bar coated in umami-rich mushroom and tomato powder. This taste combination aims to awaken passengers' senses as they land at their destination.
Monarch's Nil Christy said of the new menu: "We know how precious time on holiday is, so are delighted to be able to listen to our customers’ needs and trial the Monarch ‘Mood Food’ box this summer enabling more people to relax, feel good and start enjoying their holiday from the moment they get to the gate."