• News
  • News

This glowing cup claims to sweeten your drink with the power of music

The Sonic Sweetener Cup uses music as an artificial sweetener. Wait, what?

Dentsu Shanghai

With growing waistlines a growing problem in China, obesity and the over-consumption of sugar is quickly becoming a national issue. The popularity of fast food and sugary drinks is as high as ever amongst China’s youth, but the team at XINCAFE believe they’ve come up with a way to curb this overindulgence: the Sonic Sweetener Cup.

Based on the research of Dr Charles Spence of Oxford University, the Sonic Sweetener Cup is a cup-shaped device (aka a cup) that works by using music as an artificial sweetener. Yep, you read right. The cup comes with headphones attached, and users simply pop them in and swig away while the soundtrack plays.


What's the science behind this ridiculousness? Well apparently it’s based around attention. In this case, the brain can naturally associate certain sounds with sweetness and therefore can be manipulated into focusing on and seemingly enhancing the sweetness of a food or drink when specific soundtracks are being played. We're not saying it can make a glass of water taste like a Red Bull, but you get the gist.

It’s designed to be a healthier alternative to other artificial sweeteners as you aren’t physically adding anything to your drink. And it must work - just look at how happy and healthy this girl looks!


Whilst the cup isn't yet in stores, we were sent over a sample soundtrack that buyers can expect to hear after they've rushed out to buy one. The song we tried out was an upbeat, comforting tune. Sort of like something you'd hear at the start of a Pixar movie or in the elevator of a nice department store. Originally, we'd assumed it'd just be a collection of songs about sugar like 'Sugar' (Maroon 5), 'Sugar, Sugar' (Archies), or 'Sugar' (Flo Rida ft. Wynter). Alas, it turned out there was a bit more science behind it, which is good to know, albeit less fun.

The answer to the sugar epidemic or does it do sweet FA? It’s early days – the Sonic Sweetener Cup is currently a prototype – but it might be worth keeping an eye (and an ear) on.

More tech