Sunday, June 3, 2018

Cheeseburger or salad? How music volume impacts your decision

        We all know that music has a significant impact on a person's mood; however, did you ever think that background music in a restaurant can actually affect whether you purchase a healthy versus a non-healthy meal?  Recently, the very first study looking at how volume impacts a person's food choice was conducted by the University of South Florida (USF Health) and published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Sciences. As we read in chapter 2, music has the unique ability to express and reflect emotion. Different kinds of music can be used as mood setters, to give over feelings of fear, happiness, sadness, excitement etc… In this study, the researchers found that faster music played in a restaurant caused customers to get a sense of excitement, while slow music helped them relax. Why is this? Volume is known to directly impact a person's heart rate and arousal. Softer/calmer music makes us more mindful of what we order which will typically result in a healthier and more nutritious food choice; for example, salad. At the same, louder environments increase stimulation and stress, inspiring cravings for perhaps, a “greasier” option like a cheeseburger and fries, instead. With this phenomenon, restaurants and even supermarkets can now use different music strategically to manipulate the minds of their customers in whatever direction they wish to do so. Stay "tuned," you never know what music may be playing to sway you in one direction or the other!

University of South Florida (USF Health). (2018, May 23). Cheeseburger or salad? How music volume impacts your decision. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 3, 2018 from


  1. The grocery store that was near my house in Portland, Oregon, started playing different types of music at different times of day. There were occasions where I really enjoyed shopping because there was 80's music playing. I can clearly remember going into the store and hearing really annoying dance/techno style music playing and I couldn't stand being in the store. I grabbed the necessities and got out of there as fast as I could. I am very sensitive to sound and can become very stressed when there are unpleasant sounds (i.e. certain genres of music, forks scraping on plates, people cracking gum, etc.). It is really interesting how what is music to one person's ears is pure torture to the ears of another individual. I never thought of, nor paid attention to, how music can alter my food choices in a restaurant. I will definitely pay more attention now. Thank you for the interesting topic!

  2. Hey Malky!
    Thanks for the intresting topic! I never knew that music actually has an influence on what we put into our bodies. I'm gonna have to pay more attention to the music before I order now lol! Great post :)

  3. Malky,
    I never knew that music influenced our choices when deciding what we want to eat. It is very interesting how this works. Music always sets the mood, just like before going out dancing you want to hear up beat music rather than sad music or you put on lullaby's to go to sleep. Music has a big affect on people's moods, but now knowing it also influences our food choices, I will really be paying close attention to that!

  4. This is so interesting. I didn't know that music can influence what we buy at restaurants and grocery stores. Next time I am at the grocery store I will try to listen to the music and see what kind of items they want their customers to purchase, healthy or unhealthy. I feel that music also influences how long we stay at restaurants the calmer the music the longer you stay and the slower the pace you get your food.

  5. What an interesting concept! I wonder if restaurants do this in their commercials too. I always feel that fast food places such as McDonald's do this on purpose when they broadcast their commercials around the world in order to make you want to eat their unhealthy options compared to their healthier options. It's almost relieving to know that this might be the case, because now I can stop and think about my choices before I order despite the music in the background. Great post!