December 4, 2022


Qualified food specialists

Want to sell healthy eating? Try turning up the jazz

3 min read

Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark studied the effects of custom-composed soundtracks on food choices and eye-movements in consumers. They asked 215 volunteers from China and Denmark to imagine they were eating healthy and unhealthy meals and then chose the sound clip that best matched the experience. The researchers used this information to create a ‘healthy’ soundtrack — a jazz piece with a high-pitched piano melody in a slow tempo – and an ‘unhealthy’ soundtrack — composed with a lower-pitched, highly distorted and slightly dissonant guitar melody in a minor key and fast tempo.

A new group of around 100 participants were then asked listen to the ‘healthy’ soundtrack and the other half to the ‘unhealthy’ soundtrack. While listening to tracks they were asked to choose, using a mouse click and while eye-tracking data were also employed, to choose from various ‘healthy’ food options such fruit, vegetables and salad or ‘unhealthy’ food options such as doughnuts, potato chips and pizza.

While listening to the ‘healthy’ soundtrack, 70% of the Danish volunteers chose the healthier foods, which fell to 57% when listening to the ‘unhealthy’ composition. Similar results were seen among the Chinese participants.

music study

“Our results indicate that, with strategically chosen soundscapes, it is possible to influence consumers’ decision-making processes and guide their attention towards healthier foods,”​ wrote Danni Peng-Li, who led the study, and his colleagues in the study, which was published in the journal Appetite​.

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