Sonic branding of meat- and plant-based foods: The role of timbre

Monin Techawachirakul (Lead / Corresponding author), Abhishek Pathak, Kosuke Motoki, Gemma A. Calvert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the wide body of literature available on the sound symbolism of food, the role of timbre in influencing food perception is yet underexplored. Given the shared gender stereotypes between timbre (musical instruments) and foods, this research examined the relationship between masculine/feminine instruments and meat/plant attributes across four studies. We identified the masculine timbre-meat and feminine timbre-plant associations (Study 1), which hold even within the same food category (Study 2a and 2b). Interestingly, the feminine timbre-plant associations (vs. masculine) were found to be stronger at the implicit level (Study 3). Study 4 demonstrated that sogos created in feminine instruments activate the feminine concepts linked to plant appeal and results in enhancing these regardless of consumers’ perceived pleasantness of the sogos. These insights suggest novel sonic branding strategies for brand managers, and advertisers in the plant-based (meat-alternative) food industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114032
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date20 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


  • Musical instruments
  • Timbre
  • Meat-based food
  • Plant-based food
  • Gender associations
  • Sonic logo


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