How Does Sound Affect Our Perception of the Quality of Food?


How does sound affect our perception of the quality of food? According to Journalist, Amy Fleming, “High-Frequency sounds bring out sweetness in food, while low frequencies bring out bitterness. This is due to the taste awareness that open and closes in the tongue from the sense of sound (Fleming).

As we already discovered, the sense of sound also allows us to hear the sounds foods make when we eat them and that sound plays a huge role in cooking. Recent research also found that these sounds can also bring back memories (education nutrition). This often leads to a permanent dislike for a certain dish without actually considering its taste. This, however, can also lead to a deep love for a dish.

Oxford University and a London restaurant, House of Wolf, have conducted and experiment with a group of volunteers by feeding them cinder toffee and playing both high and low frequency sounds. While eating they were asked to rate the levels of sweet and bitterness in the toffee.  They’ve found that the higher the frequency the sweeter the toffee and the lower the toffee the bitterer. This is why foods eaten in noisy places, such as airlines, will not taste as good (Fleming)

Experiments also found that sound also affect our sense of smell and umami.

Due to this research, Ben & Jerry’s is planning to incorporate sound from customers phones with ice cream flavors (Fleming).

Notes

  1. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/mar/11/sound-affects-taste-food-sweet-bitter
  2. http://www.educationnutrition.org/documents/Programmes/ressources/Sense-ational%20Food%20Explorations.pdf
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