Material Monday on Scent in Packaging: Smell the Taste

Material Monday on Scent in Packaging: Smell the Taste

Posted 30 October by Katie Kubrak

Stepping through the doors of supermarkets we enter some of the most unsensorial environments to buy some of the most holistically sensorial of products – food. A product, that without any design, can engage all of our senses and through that help us make an informed choice of what we feel like having. This week in “Material Monday: Series 2” we discuss interconnectedness of taste and smell and how food packaging could take an advantage of adding the latter.

Recall your last trip to Tesco, Sainsburry’s, Carrefour or any other local grocery store. As you entered, a rough light illuminated the entire shop floor and a random radio soundtrack filled the silence in the background. As you browsed through a variety of product categories you found yourself making a choice based on a visual stimulation.

Even though the packaging features colourful graphics, relevant product information and imaginative description of the flavor, would it not have been easier for you to make an accurate choice if only you got to smell the product or taste it?

As discussed in our previous articles on food packaging, it is a product category on the rise. In effect, a growing number of brands aim to attract consumers. Subsequently, at Nirvana we ask, what if food packaging was not only designed for sense of sight but equally for the sense of smell?

For taste and smell can be referred to as a single composite sense, in which one performs the degustation of tactile ingredients, and the other, the degustation of volatile aromas. If the latter fails, our gustatory experience depreciates. Acknowledging this regularity, we can design and build in functional or branded scenting into the packaging. You can read more about this process here.

Imagine that you stand in front of ‘ready-meals’ counter and you find yourself being unable to decide whether to go for soup, pasta, pie, rice and sauce etc. With addition of technologies activated by touch you could now smell the food upon lifting the packaging off the shelf. These include gel labels, scratch and sniff, strips and many more. This simple addition could inspire the thoughts of gourmet kitchen, fresh spices and ingredients that made this meal. Being able to trial this critical part of the brand – smell of food – a consumer can engage in an interactive three-dimensional experience. This could be translated to sweets, ice cream, juices and other product categories.

If you would like to visit our Material Library and familiarise yourself with scent-activating technologies, or you would simply like to visit our exhibition launched during London Design Festival 17 titled “London in Seven Scents”, which was released to coincide with “Perfume” exhibition at Somerset House and “Material Monday: Series 2”, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We would love to meet you!

Below: An ideation how scent could be applied to food packaging.

Below: A user scenario on value of adding scent to food packaging to a customer experience when shopping for groceries. 

 

 

 

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