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Tomato Juice Hits the Spot

Health  Research  

Ever wondered why you ordered that Bloody Mary from in-flight service on your overseas flight last summer?

Ever wondered why you ordered that Bloody Mary from in-flight service on your overseas flight last summer when, ordinarily, you never think to use tomato juice when fixing yourself a drink at home? Well, it appears that there is more to it than simple holiday euphoria and leaving behind the daily grind for two weeks. German researchers from Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics have found that our taste for tomato juice is stimulated when flying at altitude and especially on long-haul flights.

In a test recreating cabin conditions at cruising altitude, German volunteers were asked to make drinks and meals selections which resulted in an overwhelming and constant thirst for tomato juice. While not generally people’s first choice of a drink, this was all the more surprising since, in Germany, apple and orange juice are firm favourites.

It seems altitude and reduced cabin pressure conditions enhance human taste receptors for salt, sugar and tomato flavours, making tomato juice more appealing than other refreshments served. The same test conducted at ground level showed a much reduced desire for the product. As concerns food, the spicier the better was the general conclusion.

Lufthansa, which commissioned the research, hopes to integrate the findings into their in-flight catering menus and supply chains to ensure that you are not disappointed when you feel the need for a thirst quenching tomato juice on your next long-haul flight to the sun.

Do you drink tomato juice when flying?