23 Aug 2017

Monarch Airlines Trial ‘Mood Food’ on Flights to Reduce Travel Stress

Black Ice Cream

Monarch airlines have collaborated with a leading food psychologist, Professor Charles Spence, to produce a menu of mood enhancing food to lift the spirits of travellers and attempt to relieve some of the stress of flying.

Spence, known for his work with Heston Blumenthal, has produced a weird and wonderful menu including black ice cream and other oddities. The menu will be offered free of charge on select European flights.

First on the menu, prior to take-off, is the liquorice and echinacea ice-cream. Echinacea is supposed to boost the immune system, thus helping travellers fend off illnesses from other passengers or from icy blasts of air conditioning. The ice-cream is black, supposedly to ‘distract passengers from their chaotic journey whilst also surprising them and playing into childlike nostalgia.’

Just after take-off, expect to be served the ‘soothing and relaxing’ mochi cakes, which are made from rice paste and have a chewy texture. According to Spence, ‘The soft, chewy texture of the rice encourages mastication, which has proven anti-stress properties, reducing tension much like chewing gum……The chewy rice snack has therefore been designed to help reduce passenger stress on aeroplanes.’

About 30 minutes into the flight, passengers will be served a herbal tea blend of chamomile, fennel seed and kelp, to aid with bloating and indigestion. The tea will be accompanied by a crunchy seaweed biscuit.

Shortly before touchdown, travellers will be served up a caramelised nut bar with a sprinkling of powdered mushroom and tomato, to awaken the senses.

Monarch have released the menu as a solution to the problem that about a third of British travellers cited the stress of travelling as their biggest holiday mood killer, after bad weather. Initially, the boxes will be trialled on flights from Luton to Naples, Gibraltar and Malaga, and could be extended to other flights if they prove popular with passengers.

Monarch chief operating officer, Nils Christy, said: ‘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.’

Professor Spence said of his latest assignment, ‘Travelling is a time when we’re under pressure and rushed, so eating well is often an afterthought. 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 travellers in the holiday mood as quickly as possible.’

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