By JENNY WELBEL
Strawberry Banana, Tutti-Frutti, Toasted Marshmallow, Strawberry Cheesecake… Will a consumer be able to determine the flavor in his mouth if he holds his nose and closes his eyes? According to Steve Landau, chief technology officer and chairman of ScentSational Technologies, Jenkintown, Pa., “The consumer will not be able to taste the flavor, because there is a very strong relationship between smell and taste. In fact, what most people perceive as “taste” actually results from their sense of smell.”
For years, product developers and manufacturers have been adding flavors to their waters, milks and juices to enhance the products, but Landau wanted to create “flavor” technology that didn’t use flavor at all. He used his knowledge of the relationship between taste and smell to develop CompelAroma, a proprietary encapsulated aroma- release technology that releases aromas into the packaging.
The technology is based on the fact that what people perceive as taste is actually the result of their sense of smell. When food or beverages enter the mouth, they release vapors that travel up through the retro nasal canal until they reach the olfactory bulb, where they are translated as flavor by the brain, giving consumers the perception that the aroma they smell is a flavor. Landau concluded that he could add flavors to beverages by simply adding aroma vapors so that when people drink, they get a perception of flavor and aroma. According to Landau, “Our technology is the only thing out there that allows us to flavor water without adding anything to the water. We make a product flavored simply by changing the cap.”
One of the biggest benefits of CompelAroma is that it creates flavor profiles that one cannot traditionally get in a beverage. For example, orange juice is typically pasteurized, which changes the top note flavors. However, by putting a closure on an orange juice bottle that has a “fresh-cut” orange profile, those top notes can be added back to the flavor. Additionally, CompelAroma makes it possible for warm beverages to not lose their flavor. According to Landau, as time passes, the movement of molecules in a beverage becomes less restrictive. This allows an aroma to be released more aggressively to continue to improve flavor.
Finally, the new technology offers a unique marketing strategy. As Landau points out, “Advertisers traditionally hit all of our senses to promote their products. The only sense they don’t use is smell. Smell goes into the part of the brain that evokes emotions and memory. If one was walking down the aisle and smelled lemon, he or she would then possibly think about lemonade and then purchase it.”
ScentSational Technology works with interested manufacturers to show them how to integrate the technology into their systems. One company that currently is working with ScentSational Technology is packaging company Precise Technology, North Versailles, Pa. Glenn Mulvaney, business development manager for water and beverage at Precise Technology, enthusiastically says, “We are excited to be working with ScentSational on opportunities that present themselves with this cutting-edge approach to enhancing water, juice and soft drinks.”
Precise Technology runs ScentSational’s product in its injection molding process. According to Mulvaney, “The ScentSational product is user friendly, enabling the standard injection process relative ease in producing a sport closure in concert with its properties.” Although ScentSational and Precise Technology are still in the development stage, both companies agree that ScentSational has a unique product that can create opportunities for beverages.
Other companies that are working with ScentSational are NutriSystem and Portola. NutriSystem, Horsham, Pa., is a provider of weight management products and services. NutriSystem is using CompelAroma with its new Aquaescents refillable water bottle and fruit caps. According to Jay Satz, vice president of product development for NutriSystem, “Aquaescents is water with a kick that livens up a diet with a fun way to stay properly hydrated each day.”
Similarly, Portola Packaging, San Jose, Calif., plans to use CompelAroma with water, milk and juices. Roger Moody, vice president for new product development at Portola Packaging, notes that, “CompelAroma is an exceptionally exciting development in packaging and may very well significantly change the way beverage brands are marketed.” BI