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Employing a 'scents' of smell

"The latest and greatest packaging innovations are packages that smell."

Thus wrote JoAnn Hines, the self-described "packaging diva," in her November 21, 2005 newsletter’s tip of the week.

Although that article was tinged with humor, the use of aroma in packaging is a reality. NutriSystem Inc.’s Aquaescents refillable empty plastic water bottles are topped with closures that release aromas to give weight-challenged consumers the perception that they’re experiencing flavors such as lemon, peach, or grapes (see Making ‘scents’ of technology, published March 2005).

At the time the story was published, NutriSystem was considering ScentSational Technologies’ CompelAroma encapsulated aroma release technology for plastic meal trays. One example would be to incorporate into the trays the smell of garlic or tomato basil to enhance the dining experience.

Hines said to watch for “packages sporting ‘fragrances’ such as chocolate and vanilla. Just think of all the calories saved by smelling the package and not even eating the product.

“This is a great concept,” she adds, “using your nose to sell products.” She speaks of “home-cooked smells” for supermarket bakery products, and relates that “scratch-and-sniff” labels in cosmetic and toiletries “have been around a while.”

Marketers have always used art and graphics to appeal to our sense of sight. Packages with tactility appeal to our sense of touch. More recently we’ve seen “talking” prescription bottles for the visually impaired, and even a talking oven box that employ sound to make packaging more functional and appealing. Still think a package that entices a consumer’s olfactory glands is crazy? Crazy like a fox!

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