Monarch Airlines' 'Mood Food' is Designed to Calm Travelers' Frazzled Nerves
Whether you’re a nervous flyer or just can’t deal with all the mayhem of airport parking, security checks and everything else that’s required to move you from Point A to Point B, traveling can be a stressful experience for even the most frequent fliers. While airports have tried to help by offering therapy animals — including dogs, pigs and mini-horses — England’s Monarch Airlines has come up with a new idea to help anxious passengers: Mood Food.
The low-cost carrier has teamed up with food psychologist Charles Spence and chef Jozef Youssef of Kitchen Theory, which creates multi-sensory culinary experiences, to develop a lineup of mood-enhancing snacks aimed at reducing traveler stress. Prior to boarding, Monarch passengers are invited to tame the butterflies in their stomach with a dish of black Echinacea and licorice ice cream, which can reportedly help boost one’s immune system to better protect you from other passengers’ coughs and colds. Check out the video below for a closer look.
Once seated and ready for takeoff, green tea and lavender mochi rice cakes offer a healthy way to help travelers calm down — lavender has been shown to promote relaxation and sleep — and provide yet another immunity boost, thanks to the green tea. According to Spence, the texture of the food also helps to reduce stress, since passengers are chewing them in a similar way to how they chew gum.
Approximately 30 minutes after takeoff, passengers are then treated to Monarch’s very own custom-blended herbal tea, which features chamomile, fennel seed and kelp among its key ingredients — adding a bit of aromatic lemon only enhances the calming effect. The tea is served with a crunchy seaweed biscuit, which Spence says is important because it delivers the umami that enhances flavors in the air.
"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 onboard," Spence told The Telegraph. "Using umami tastes alongside our other flavor combinations will be comforting and satisfying for passengers.”
Shortly before arrival, passengers get a sweet treat in the form of a mushroom and tomato powder-coated caramelized nut bar, which tastes better than it sounds and helps to give you a boost of energy as you finally arrive at your destination.
The new menu was developed in response to a recent survey conducted by the airline, in which 30% of the UK-based respondents said the stress of travel was “the biggest holiday mood killer." Bad weather was the only thing determined to be worse, with 43% of the vote.
“Traveling is a time when we’re under pressure and rushed, so eating well is often an afterthought,” Spence told Sputnik News. “I’ve loved working with Monarch to use food — which can be a powerful psychological and physiological tool — to create the first ever real ‘happy’ meal to get travelers in the holiday mood as quickly as possible.” Come on, get happy!
H/T: The Telegraph
All photos courtesy of Monarch Airlines.