Professor Charles Spence worked with Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria on involving the other senses in the pursuit of taste. He goes so far as to say it won’t be long before you get a music CD with your takeaway to complement it.
The professor involved 700 volunteers in an experiment involving takeaway food and music from several different genres. (there’s been a lot of interest in musical genres of late). These were: Pop, Classical, Indie/rock, Rock, Jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and dance
The more alerting or arousing the music, the more people appreciate spicier food. So Bruce Springsteen, Queen, Guns n’ Roses, or the Arctic Monkeys made food seem 4% spicier than listening to Nina Simone. But she was good with sushi as was Sinatra.
Chinese or Thai food? Ed Sheeran plays well to that menu as does Taylor Swift
Justin Bieber or Beyoncé are no-noes however. Listening to them just turns people off food (and some people off music)
Hip hop, dance, and R & B music had no noticeable effect on the enjoyment of any kind of food.
The research was commissioned by an on-line take-away company which was seriously thinking about providing music with the food with different soundtracks with different dishes.
There is already a heavy metal-inspired restaurant in London. Not sure what food goes well with that or whether they provide indigestion medication as a rider.
The professor previously worked with Blumenthal on the Sound of the Sea dish where the food was accompanied by the sound of crashing waves.
He also discovered that music could enhance your drinking pleasure with Bryan Ferry going down well with champagne.
Playing classical music and jazz makes customers happier to pay for their food than when pop music is played. (Shops playing classical music can sell more expensive items as they are perceived to be of better quality).
Turning up the lighting can influence people to buy spicier food; turning it down people order cappuccino rather than espresso coffees.
It all sounds finger-licking good to me and adds to what we know about the impact of music on our day-to-day lives.