Monarch has put a feel-good spin on traditional plane food, as it unveils a new experimental snack-box offering mood-enhancing food to relax, re-energise and reduce the stresses of travellers.
The ‘Monarch Mood Food’ box was developed alongside leading food psychologist Prof. Charles Spence, who has worked with Heston Blumenthal and his team at The Fat Duck Research Kitchen in Bray and Josef Youssef, Head Chef at Kitchen Theory.
It features ingredients specially selected to get travellers in the holiday mood, enhance happiness, relaxation and wellbeing. It follows new research which reveals over a third of Brits (33%) don’t relax until at least day three of their holiday, and 72% find travelling to their holiday destination stressful.
The survey of 2,000 British holiday makers, commissioned as part of Monarch’s Year of Nice campaign, also found over a third (39%) of Brits cite the stresses of travelling as their biggest holiday mood killer, second only to bad weather (43%). Family arguments are a downer for one in five (21%) of us.
The Mood Food Box aims to make the experience of travelling nicer from the moment customers get to the airport gate, as over half of Brits (52%) find the airport to be the most stressful part of their holiday, whilst good food (60%) is most likely to lift spirits when on annual leave.
The menu developed by top chef Jozef Youssef and his team at Kitchen Theory based on the research conducted by Prof. Spence, has been designed to deliver a series of bespoke snacks created to suit different moments of a flight and ‘need states’ for maximum effect.
Prior to take off, immunity boosting echinacea and liquorice ice cream reduces the symptoms of coughs and colds, after 39% of Brits find they get ill when travelling or going on holiday. Active ingredients in liquorice have well-established anit-inflammatory and cell protective abilities and as such, offer many therapeutic, immunity boosting benefits.
Ice cream was also voted the top holiday treat by 40% of Brits, with the vivid black liquorice colour surprising and delighting passengers.
Prof. Spence said: “The black colour is certainly counter-intuitive – most passengers think of white or pale colours with the ice cream. This may also help to distracts passengers from their chaotic journey whilst also surprising them and playing into childlike nostalgia.”
Soothing and relaxing green tea and lavender mochi rice cakes relax travellers at take-off, which is voted the number one most stressful part of flying for one in five (22%) of nervous holiday makers. Lavender has been proven to enhance relaxation and sleep quality in all ages and the high polyphenol content of green tea means it’s packed with antioxidants – adding a second boost of immunity to travellers.
Dr Spence added: “Whilst flavour and ingredients are key, texture also plays a part in modifying mood states. The soft, chewy texture of the rice encourages mastication which has proven anti-stress properties, reducing tension much chewing gum. The chewy rice snack has therefore been designed to help reduce passenger stress on aeroplanes.”
Approximately 30 minutes into the flight, travellers will enjoy a specially created Monarch blend of herbal tea containing chamomile, fennel seed and kelp, proven to combat bloating and aid digestion, which affects 18% of travellers. The additional of lemon balm provides aromatic properties that may help passengers to unwind further.
The tea will be accompanied by a crunchy, seaweed biscuit, delivering sweet yet salty umami tastes.
Charles explains: “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 on-board. Using umami tastes alongside our other flavour combinations will be comforting and satisfying for passengers.”
Finally, just before disembarkation, travellers will indulge in a sweet caramelised nut bar coated in umami rich mushroom and tomato powder to re-energise and awaken the senses as passengers arrive at their destination.