Changing the Perception of Taste Through Sound: An Experiment

“We eat with our eyes first.” Everybody’s heard that line before, right?

Well, true as it may be, a case could be made that on occasion, we sometimes eat—and drink— with our ears, too.

This past November, Kyrö Distillery Company teamed up with audio branding strategies firm Audiodraft at Slush Music to test drive two new products in an exciting area of emerging research. That research takes aim at one question: Can sound can alter our sense of taste?

For some time now, restaurants, bar, and café designer have been hip to the fact that comfortable furnishings, thoughtful lighting, and friendly staff are crucial to creating the kind of environment patrons will want to revisit often. Sound systems, however, have tended to receive less strategic consideration. Audiodraft and Kyrö Distillery Company collaborated feverishly to design an experience at Slush Music that brings into clear focus the scope of influence audio holds over our taste perception.

Participants tasted two special batches of Kyrö’s new products currently in development. Audiodraft paired the selections with two specialized custom tracks created to highlight the bitterness in one drink, and the sweetness in the other, while heightening the overall enjoyment of both.

98 participants in total sampled each drink while listening to the custom music accompaniment, and while listening to a generic music track. 97% of those sipping claimed to observe differences in the taste of their beverage when the music was changed. Furthermore, reported enjoyment of the drink rose by roughly 10% when folks listened to the custom music as opposed to the generic.

Such results would seem not only to support the notion that we encounter brands as a multisensory experience, but to illustrate the degree to which aural accompaniment can affect our enjoyment of a product. That we perceive the world around us on a multiplicity of sensory levels is a fact to which brands are awakening, and utilizing to expand their communication mediums beyond the traditional “visuals only” mindset. Where attention to such details will lead us is anyone’s guess, but we like the sound of where things are heading.

Learn more about this exciting project at https://www.thepowerofaudio.com/

This article first appeared on FlavorfulWorld.com.

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