Ambient noise affects food taste

Noise can make foods seem crunchier and taste blander, a new study suggests. Andy Woods who is a researcher at the University of Manchester and also at Unilever ran the study, in which blindfolded participants ate and rated various foods while hearing nothing, quiet white noise, or loud white noise. From the journal Food Quality and Preference:
The foods were then rated in terms of sweetness, saltiness and liking (Experiment 1) or in terms of overall flavour, crunchiness and liking (Experiment 2). Reported sweetness and saltiness was significantly lower in the loud compared to the quiet sound conditions (Experiment 1), but crunchiness was reported to be more intense (Experiment 2). This suggests that food properties unrelated to sound (sweetness, saltiness) and those conveyed via auditory channels (crunchiness) are differentially affected by background noise. A relationship between ratings of the liking of background noise and ratings of the liking of the food was also found (Experiment 2). We conclude that background sound unrelated to food diminishes gustatory food properties (saltiness, sweetness) which is suggestive of a cross-modal contrasting or attentional effect, whilst enhancing food crunchiness.
"Effect of background noise on food perception" (ScienceDirect)

"Background noise affects taste of foods, research shows" (BBC)