I traveled on a couple of airlines for transcontinental flights, and they always give food to economy class passengers. However, the quality of the meal often looks poor; it gives the feeling that a 5–10 dollars meal in a fast-food/snack stand would be of better quality and more generous.
What are the reasons for airlines to determine what food to offer?
I am particularly surprised by the relative cost of food (I expect the meal they give to cost around 5 dollars) compared with a 1000-dollar economy class ticket.
Given that the airplane food is usually packaged by specific caterers, there is probably a reason, but I cannot think of any. The weight/volume would not change with better food; maybe the air in a plane has bad conditions for food?
Rather than discussing the subjective quality of airplane food, I am more interested in the reasons for an airline to choose what food they will give to economy passengers.