Food is powerful—not only does it nourish us, but it also activates our five senses. Certain dishes can make all of our senses come together to create a full experience. Sense of sight, smell, taste, and touch are usually the ones that are activated when we eat. But what about the sound?
The fifth sense, which is the sound, matters a lot. This is where sonic seasoning comes in.
Did you know that when noise is added to an eating experience, it can affect its flavors? Scientists have experimented with single tones—they have been testing how listening to specific frequencies and pitches can affect the overall sensation we have when eating.
Sonic seasoning can add levels of up to 15% of flavors to your dishes. According to some studies, low-frequency sounds can add bitterness to food, while higher frequencies can bring sweetness.
An excellent example of sonic seasoning is The Fat Duck restaurant, which is owned by Heston Bluementhal. It was one of the first restaurants to experiment with sensory experience through their signature dish “Sound of the Sea.” The dish is served with an iPod, disguised in a shell, that emits crashing waves.
More and more restaurants are jumping into the power of sound to inject more flavors to their meals and make the dining experience even more worthwhile. Mcdonalds in Sweden has partnered up with Spotify to help improve fast-food dining.
A lot of companies in the food industry are replacing the sound they use on their adverts with the sound of food and drink before and during consumption. ASMR and mukbang, anyone? Restaurant marketers use food sounds such as a noisy crisp packet or the fizz from a soda.
Taste is one of the most subjective of our five senses. We all have a basic understanding of flavor, but we barely think about sonic factors that affect how we interpret tastes.