Researchers conducted a pilot study, two field experiments, and five lab studies to determine that low or no music leads to an increase in sales of healthy foods, while high volume music results in higher sales of junk food.
They initially analysed the behaviour of cafe customers while testing different decibel levels of tunes and found that people chose the healthier products 10 percent more often when the music was quiet. When they repeated the experiment in a local supermarket, they found that shoppers exposed to loud music chose junk foods more often than their quiet music counterparts.
The findings were also replicated in a controlled environment in which several groups of students listened to different types of music at different volumes.
The study – published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science – concluded that no or low music results in a more relaxed state, which leads to better decision making. This is backed up by a previous review of research, which found that when individuals were exposed to loud, unpleasant noise while eating, their heart rate, blood pressure and food intake increased.
Time to crank the Enya, hey?