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Why Certain Foods Do Not Get Served on Planes

Why Certain Foods Do Not Get Served on Planes

BY DANIEL REN Published on May 26, 2024 0 COMMENTS
Airline Food and In-flight Catering Market Research
Photo: sisinternational


Although there are many jokes about airline food quality, Airlines invest a lot of time and resources into researching and designing the meals they serve their passengers. However, despite the investments, certain food items will rarely, if ever, make it on your next flight. Our perceived change in taste, costs, efficiencies, and regulations play a significant part in why certain foods are not served on planes.


Eliminated  In-flight meal


According to a Business Insider article, ten food items are rarely on an airline menu.


  1. Soufflé
  2. Omelettes
  3. Toast
  4. Durian
  5. Foods with Molecular Gastronomy 
  6. Pungent Cheeses
  7. Peanuts
  8. Sushi
  9. Hyper-Local Delicacies
  10. Buttery Foods




Photo: emirates webp


Flight meal Preparation Difficulties


Certain foods like soufflés and toast are challenging to prepare, so they are not served on planes. Soufflés, an already notoriously tricky dessert to make in everyday environments, will have a meagre chance of surviving the process of making it on a plane.


Since airline meals are typically prepared 12 to 24 hours ahead of time, chilled, and transported near an airport to load onto different planes, meals must survive the journey to your seat. As for items like toast and eggs, their shelf life is short, making it challenging to prepare and serve on a flight.




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As for local delicacies such as Iceland's fermented shark fin, they are relatively obscure and, therefore, too difficult to prepare on a massive scale. Since managing costs and efficiency is crucial to an airline's bottom line, they will rarely, if ever, serve obscure local delicacies. However, airlines still work hard to cater meals to their passengers on international flights. For instance, airlines typically offer Western and Korean meals to appease passengers on a flight from the United States to South Korea. 


Scents and Sogginess


Foods with strong smells, such as pungent cheeses and durian, are not served due to airlines' fears of offending passengers with these scents. Although our tastebuds would benefit from consuming foods with more pungent smells and tastes in the air, the scents polarize passengers.


Durian, a fruit popular in Southeast Asia, underscores the issue with polarizing scents. While many people love the smell and taste of durian, many others cannot handle it. It is so offensive that some countries have banned the fruit from public areas.




Photo: Daniel Mena


Foods and sauces with lots of butter and oil tend to get soggy at high altitudes, making it a less desirable option to serve passengers. A United Airlines spokeswoman, Karen May, confirmed that United does not serve fried foods on their flights. So, you will not soon see fries, fried chicken, and pizza on your flight.


Allergies and Risks


Ever wonder why your airline has stopped serving peanuts? It is simply to reduce risks for the airline and its passengers. As childhood peanut allergies have increased by 21% since 2010, airlines decided it would be better to keep peanuts out of their planes to accommodate passengers with deadly allergies.




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Cooked fish is already a logistical challenge for many airlines, which explains why eating fish on a plane is rare. However, raw fish such as sushi are a logistical nightmare for airlines. Raw fish must be delicately prepared to ensure a high-quality passenger experience, making it nearly impossible to serve thousands of passengers daily. Additionally, raw fish require special training and equipment to serve, a cost that airlines do not need to take on.

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