Can Music Make You Hungry?

Ever thought about what you're listening to in a restaurant or cafe? Maybe you should as we ask can music make you hungry?

Have you ever listened to music and became extremely hungry? Although this question may seem a bit outrageous, this question may not be completely absurd. 

Music has been shown to influence the intake of food and fluids such as cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. This action is done by affecting and regulating mood states and increases arousal by altering physiologic responses such as increased heart rate. 

Additionally, according to SmithSonianMag.com, many scientists agree that the sense of smell regarding cuisine is as important as the taste of food.

In addition, the appearance along with texture is also just as important. We may have encountered your mouth watering at the sight of a food commercial. The popular fast-food chain McDonald’s may produce slow-motion shots of a Big Mac gracefully being stacked together with cheese and special sauce. 

Although ridiculous, this art of food marketing has managed to show positive results as these commercials heavily persuade future buying decisions of food customers. With the senses of taste, smell, and sight being influential to our food longing, what about hearing? 

Where does this particular sense influence our food decisions? 

 

Music Makes Me Hungry! 

If you ever ventured to many restaurant establishments you may notice music fitting the restaurant’s ambiance. 

This notion can be used to set the tone or mood of the food environment. However, music has been deemed highly valuable in terms of the food customers eating responses. 

A published study in the Journal of Culinary Science and Hospitality suggested that loud noise and music levels could affect people’s enjoyment of what they eat. 

The study concluded that soft classical music increased food customers’ dining satisfaction while loud, intense music had a negative impact. Additionally, silence in restaurants also showed negative effects. 

Although the study did not experiment with other genres of music, music to fit the food environment has been proven to enhance appetite and experience. 

A study by the University of South Florida published recent findings that indicate that the volume of ambient music at restaurants or grocery stores has a systematic effect on consumer’s preferences for specific kinds of food. 

Regarding the influence of music and eating behavior, a study led by Daniela Kaiser of the University of Hohenheim studied the inclusiveness of music and the transmission mode of food intake and real duration. In the study, 147 German participants were divided into five lunch groups. 

Five conditions were examined: eating in silence, eating while listening to instrumental music through a loudspeaker, listening to instrumental music through headphones, eating while listening to pop songs with English vocals, and eating while listening to pop songs with German vocals. The study concluded no association between listening to songs with different emotion arousing possibilities and food consumed, the study did find longer meal durations when participants listened to English music and instrumental music with headphones rather than the others. 

 

Immersion

Being from the United States, many of the food establishments want you to experience an entire world surrounding the choice of restaurant. Popular restaurant chain Bubba Gump’s (based on the Motion Picture Forrest Gump) has an entire shrimp boat-themed environment. 

Another restaurant that presents a dynamic dining experience is Rainforest Café, as diners are immersed in a jungle-themed food environment. What makes this establishment special involves the music being played as it is the perfect puzzle piece to complete the dining experience. 

On a smaller scale, bluegrass and country music being played at a popular BBQ restaurant, or Latin music being played at a tasty Latin restaurant, music truly can make or break the enjoyment of food. 

Another study found a correlation between music speed and the rate of eating. For example, up-tempo music such as electronic (dance) music or mainstream pop music has a huge impact on exercise and motivation. 

With the sounds of up-tempo heavily influencing these parts of daily life, a plausible notion would be that up-tempo music could cause an increase in other activities such as eating. Slow tempo music in restaurants showed positive results as a customer was comfortable staying longer while consuming more beverages. 

However, in 2006, research developed from an additional study published by Appetite, discovered that listening to music increased the amount of food consumed along with the duration of the meals, yet speed and volume of the music did not show significant effects. 

So, the next time you are listening to music, it may be best to have a snack nearby! Can music be used as a powerful tool for satisfying one’s hunger? The answer could be a strong yes. 

The underestimation of musical influences of factors that impact people’s food intake has created a further desire of finding new ways to decrease or promote food intake. This can be seen as strongly beneficial in many clinical and non-clinical environments.


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