Taste the Nordics onboard
Food is an essential part of air travel. And why wouldn’t it be. Finnair takes pride in introducing Nordic tastes and cuisine onboard its flights.
“We introduced our new inflight food concept, Nordic Kitchen, last spring and will roll it out to all our food selection by the end of 2020. Already before this, ‘Nordic’ has been the core of our food philosophy for many years,” says Mari Routama, Director, Food and Beverage Concepts and Categories. “It is all about creating simple, well-rounded flavours from naturally beautiful ingredients – food that is easy to enjoy. Our menu aims to capture and reflect the fresh and natural feeling of the north,” she continues.
Along with the Nordic spirit, the availability and quality of ingredients defines what is on the menu.
“We favour seasonal and local ingredients, not only in the Nordics but also in our destinations where most of the food on returning flights is made,” Routama explains. “We also know that not all our international customers are willing to try totally unfamiliar tastes. That’s why it is important to borrow flavours from our friends abroad and offer our customers something familiar from home as well.”
Unique dining environment
Not everyone knows that eating in the sky is a totally different experience not only because of the views but also how we taste things. At high altitude, the air pressure and low humidity make it more difficult to taste flavours.
“This is something we really need to consider carefully when creating our menus. For example, in order to prevent the food from being too dry at high altitude with low humidity, our meals are often accompanied with sauces,” reveals Juha Stenholm, head of Product Development at Finnair Kitchen. “Umami, one of the five basic tastes, is not affected by high altitude. Foods and drinks which are high in umami, like tomato juice, pork neck and stews, are quite popular because they are tastier in the sky,” he adds.
Also, an airplane’s engine noise is said to change taste perception. The low humming sound makes us taste umami and bitter tastes more prominently while salty and sweet tastes are reduced. This knowledge was utilised in Finnair’s “Hear the Taste” campaign where soundscapes were created that complement each flavour of the inflight dishes.
Complimentary menus served onboard Finnair flights renew four times a year, and pre-order and onboard sold selection are refreshed every six months. Menu development is teamwork between Finnair’s own airline chefs, food specialists, cabin crew members, partners, and suppliers – and of course customers, whose feedback is always the basis we build on.
Read more about Finnair’s food selection.