Atmospheric Effects on Eating and Drinking: A Review
Whenever, wherever, and whatever we choose to eat and drink, one thing is for sure, we will do so in an environment that has a certain atmosphere. And while most consumers tend to feel that they are in charge of their own food and beverage choices, a growing body of empirical evidence now supports the view that the multisensory environments/atmospheres in which we consume influence our eating and drinking behaviors to a greater extent than any of us probably realize. In this chapter, key findings illustrating just how profoundly the auditory, visual, olfactory, tactile, and multisensory attributes of the environment affect human behavior are summarized and a number of the putative underlying mechanisms outlined. Atmospheric effects on choice behavior, product perception, and patterns of consumption are discussed. Furthermore, attention is drawn to the palpable tension that exists currently between the sensory marketing approach to atmospherics (that may be encouraging us all to consume more than perhaps we should) and the emerging sensory nudging approach to modifying the environment (in order to try and help bias us toward slightly less unhealthy food behaviors).