From soy sauce to soju, companies use tunes to sweeten the pot
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Adding a dash of music to the manufacturing of food is surfacing as a winning recipe among local food companies. Confectionery businesses call the manufacturing trend “the generation of food music”.Although it seems like a bit of a stretch that music could help to develop food, or that nutrition reacts to the sound of music, the food industry has benefited from the unlikely pairing. A soy sauce processing plant in Sunchang, North Jeolla plays a variety of classical music 24 hours a day during the six-month fermentation period, following the research finding that sauce fermented to the sound of music generates greater taste.”We usually select slow and comfortable classical music such as tunes by Bach or Vivaldi, the speed and dynamics of which are similar to the human heartbeat”, said Chang Pan-kyu of the Sunchang Factory management team. Chang explained that musical vibrations in the air stimulate the yeast to help intensify the fermentation effect and bring out the desired flavor.Sunshine Soy Sauce, the originator of the “music-food fermentation method”, surpassed its sales of 100 million bottles in eight years and seized 50 percent of the market share.There has been a significant amount of evidence that sound can influence the way we flavor food, often dramatically. Case in point, confectionery company Crown Haitai solved a problem it had with its sugar-free cracker Ivy through music. The company said playing 16 different pieces of classical music for four days removed the light biscuit’s distinctive sour taste, while maintaining its plain flavor.”Later, I found that the tunes halved the rate of propionic acid produced while fermenting the dough”, Chung Myung-kyo, director at Crown Haitai, explained.The amount of lactic acid bacteria in dough also increased two times more than originally when rock music was played.Encouraged by the results, Crown Haitai applied the same technique to another popular snack, Matdongsan, by playing gukak, or Korean traditional music. The types of music as well as food that can be paired are widely varied. Classical music or the latest K-pop tracks can be played in the making of snacks, soju, makgeolli (Korean rice beer) and fruit.Scientists say microscopic organisms and water react to euphonious melodies.In the case of soju, its particles contract to 60 percent of their size when Mozart is played during fermentation, thereby lessening its bitter taste.Manufacturers for Jeju Sam Da Soo, a renowned bottled water brand, also plays different music on a 24-hour rotation, from opera to symphonies to tracks from K-pop girl bands while sifting out impurities with its microfilters.Dessert cafe Mango Six ripens mangos with reggae, jazz and Latin-based music during the post-maturation period, which causes its sugar content to surge from 12 Brix degrees to 17. A Brix degree of 17 means 17 grams of sugar are contained in 100 grams of fruit. Without the music aiding fermentation, after two or three days the maximum sugar level for the fruit is 14 to 15 Brix.Jazz Makgeolli, priced 30 percent higher than ordinary makgeolli, completely sold out in just two days.As more and more corporations try to expand the scope of linking food with music, consumers also appreciate the positive effects, as seen in the increase in sales for soy sauce and Jazz Makgeolli.By Kim Ho-jeong
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