ANYONE who has ever tried to eat chips in a cinema knows it's almost impossible to do it quietly.

Noisy chip packets may be the scourge of secret scoffers but there is a reason for that loud crackle - it makes you think the chips are crunchier.

According to a leading scientist, manufacturers deliberately make the packaging loud because the chips taste fresher if you can hear the rustle.

In a "sonic taste" experiment, Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, got people to munch crisps while wearing headphones, so they couldn't hear the crunch.

Many reported that the snacks tasted more stale and spongy when their ears were covered.

The professor concluded that sound, as well as smell, plays a huge part in our enjoyment of food.

He said: "The sound of the food matters. The sound of the packaging matters and atmospheric sounds matter."

He found that the noisy chip packet raises expectations about the taste experience to come.

He wrote: "The sounds of the packaging in which a food is experienced - think the rattle of the crisps packet, or the pop of the champagne cork - can also influence our enjoyment of what comes next too.

"Whenever we hear the pop of the champagne cork, or the rattle of the crisp packet, certain expectations automatically come to mind."

This effect, he believes, is something the chip makers use to their advantage.

He added: "There's no reason in terms of product preservation for the noisy packets.

"It must just be some marketing person who thought, 'It's a noisy food, it's got to have the right expectations for the packaging.'"

News Corp Australia

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