John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Have you ever wondered whether the atmosphere of a restaurant can influence the taste of the food that you eat? The music, the lighting, the aroma/fragrance and even the temperature all contribute to establishing the feel of a restaurant. However, while many people intuitively believe that the environment in which they eat has little direct influence on their perception of the food, the evidence reviewed in this chapter shows unequivocally that this is not the case. Here we review the large body of empirical research into how the atmosphere and context affect the overall dining experience, not to mention the taste and flavour of the food itself. We will look at those studies that have investigated what impact the visual, the auditory, the olfactory and even the tactile aspects of the environment have on the experience of dining. We will review both laboratory-based research and real-world studies of the effects of the multisensory atmospherics on people’s food and drink-related behaviours, investigating whether there are certain obesogenic environments that result in us eating more. The research that has been published to date unequivocally demonstrates that the atmosphere in a restaurant, or wherever else we choose to eat, really does have a dramatic effect on our perception of food and drink. It can profoundly influence our food behaviours and can even influence how much we end up eating.
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