Are food-enhancing scents the next big thing?
This week, not a but of them brands have announced the release of flavor enhancing fragrance. In the case of Salt and Straw’s Culinary Perfumethe spritz created in partnership with Imaginary Authors is not only to smell, but is completely edible. The Portland-based ice cream company encourages customers to spray A Swoon of Citrus, A Cloud of Cocoa, or A Plume of Blooms directly on their ice cream for an extra layer of flavor, or for simply wear it as perfume to smell like dessert. And it’s actually doesn’t feel too wild of a move for a company which constantly experiences odd (and often delicious) the flavours.
Introducing Peroni Italian spritz collectionhowever, is more of a surprise. The beer brand has teamed up with luxury fragrance brand Ellis Brooklyn to create a six-pack of gender-neutral sprays. These, howeverarenot’t edible and are intended to enhance the consumer experience by introducing “the smells of Italy”.
This is not the first time that food and drink brands went to the beauty area, but this may be the first time these beauty products have been marketed to be paired directly with the product. It’s still a gimmick, of course, but perhaps that marks a shift for these types of gimmicks to not only make sense, but also be useful beyond a gag gift.
How Fragrances Can Enhance Food
Whether the flavors are edible or not doesn’t really matter (although, of course, we still prefer to eat stuff whenever possible)because they remind us how important smell is for eating and tasting. According to a study by the University of Connecticut, flavor is a combination of smell, taste, pungency, temperature and texture, but flavor is more closely related to smell, up to 80%. We each have between 5,000 and 10,000 taste buds that detect five basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami. But we can feel up to one trillion scents via 400 scent receptors. The nuances and depths of flavor are perceived by our nose, not our mouth.
This is why many dishes use aromatics to enhance flavor. OWhen you heat the garlic on the stove before adding other ingredients, for example, the heat releases the garlic oil, which brings out its aroma which is then transferred to whatever you cook in it. If you perceive something as too garlicky, it’s probably because you smell a lot of garlic. That’s why when you’re drunk or sick, things may not taste as good as they used to.
So it makes sense that brands try to reach the higher sense, especially if they are able to effectively bottle the scent of ingredients that might be harder to source or mass-produce. It’s an experience that could turn out to be a trend on the horizon that introduces people to flavors they’ve never tasted – uh, smelled – before, and if so, spray, baby.