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The Washington Post reports that "as travelers’ palates become more sophisticated, the airline industry is trying to keep apace, fulfilling fliers’ desires for more plant-based meals, listing purveyors on menus and incorporating the wonders of fermentation. One of the challenges for global catering companies is to incorporate the ingredients and techniques of the moment — and execute that vision in the clouds. The process weaves together art and science, equalizing flights of fancy with the sobering realities of pressurized cabins."

The Post makes the point that this isn't easy.  Pressurized cabins and dry air create problems in terms of taste and texture - some foods taste better in the air (tomato juice!) and some taste worse (fried foods).  And, of course, there are limitations on what can be served since all the food is being reheated, having been made 24 hours in advance.

But here's the bottom line:

“Passengers bring their expectations on the ground to the sky,” Sophitmanee Sukalakamala, an associate professor who specializes in food and beverage management at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, tells the Post.

KC's View:

This actually is an area that we talk about a bit in this morning's Innovation Conversation - that it is important for food retailers to work to improve the quality levels of their fresh and prepared offerings.  This doesn't mean specialty or gourmet foods - great food doesn't have to be expensive.  

Many people's expectations about food are higher than they used to be, and grocers have to work to meet those attitudes if they want to maintain relevance.  At the same time, it never hurts for a retailer to do its best to raise the expectations of its shoppers, to cement its reputation as a place where the food tastes better.