Classical Music Makes Us Crave Chocolate Biscuits

Researchers have found that people who listened to classical music felt calmer and preferred sweet foods such as chocolate biscuits.

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Photo: Getty Images/Peter Dazeley

Listening to classical music could make you crave sweet foods, such as chocolate biscuits, according to a study by researchers led by Miyagi University in Japan.

For their study, which was published in the academic journal Food Quality and Preference, nearly 800 participants listened to tracks from four music genres – classical, jazz, hip-hop and rock/metal.

The classical pieces used in the study included Bach’s Air on the G String and Elgar’s Salut d’amour and the jazz pieces included Dave Brubeck’s Take Five and Miles Davis’ Walkin’.

Air - André Rieu

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Classical music listeners preferred sweet foods

After listening to each track participants were asked to rate, on a scale, their intention to eat 16 food items, ranging from “not at all” to “very much” and to rate their emotional state while they were listening to the music. The researchers found that participants felt calmer when listening to classical music and preferred sweet foods such as chocolate biscuits.

Professor Charles Spence, a member of Oxford University’s department of experimental psychology and part of the research team, said the link could be explained by our emotional state as studies have found that people consider sweet foods to be more calming.

Listening to classical music decreased desire for savoury junk food

Listening to classical music also decreased participants desire for savoury junk food such as burgers and chips. “Indulgent savoury foods were least preferred when listening to classical music, compared to the other genres,” said the researchers.

Previous research by Texas Tech University found that customers bought more expensive wine when classical music was played in the store, compared to Top 40 chart hits.

Another study, by Karlstad University in Sweden, found that people bought more expensive clothes when classical music was played in the shop.

The researchers added that the results of their study could be used to help restaurants and shops maximise sales by unconsciously targeting their customers with appropriate music. They noted, “Restaurants and stores that mostly sell sweet foods (think ice-cream parlours) might want to choose classical music … Furthermore, it seems possible that sounds in food advertisements can be well-designed based on our findings.”

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