“There are about 1,500 fragrance introductions every year,” observed Karen Flinn, creative vision director. “That’s a lot of sameness. We’re bringing something new to the market that will push boundaries.”
Hopefully, the collaboration will push sales, too. Flinn noted that holiday fine fragrance sales rose a respectable 6% last year, up from a 4% gain in 2016. That’s good, but as the consumer love affair with all things electronic continues to grow, the fragrance industry must uncover new ways to cut through the dizzying array of devices that make up an increasingly bigger share of gift-buying budgets.
The two-year old Delight Project will do just that, according to Givaudan executives who note that interest in all things gastronomy continues to grow.
“There is a great interest in food these days,” noted Kate Greene, VP-communications and creative direction. “Everyone wants to know what the next big thing is.”
The Delight Project, insist Givaudan executives, is a big thing, too. Through collaboration, more like collision, flavorists and perfumers have created scents that wow consumers—but you don’t have to take the company’s word for it; you can take assurances from a PhD. To truly understand what makes a man or woman excited by scent, Givaudan hired Dr. Marina Cavassilas, an expert in non-verbal communication. Cavassilas has worked with multinational fast-moving consumer goods companies to decipher what test subjects really experience when they smell something. She identified 250 gestures that capture what subjects are thinking while they’re sniffing.
For example, when a subject sniffs a fragrance and looks down to the left, she or he is remembering a scent from her childhood.
“We didn’t listen to the consumer, we watched the consumer,” recalled Greene.
By closely monitoring subjects’ reactions, the Givaudan team knew when it had a winning scent on its hands. Some of those popular, yet offbeat, scents include beet, siracha and olive.
When test subjects smelled Delight Beets, for example, the fragrance actually triggered salivation.
“I wasn’t expecting the Delight scents to have such an impact,” recalled Flinn. “Test subjects were laughing out loud! They said it was if they were tasting the scent in their mouths!”
According to senior flavorist Arnaud Bousquet, perfumers and flavorists were eager to work with one another, since the way they formulate is in stark contrast to one another.
“The Delight Project provided new ways to be creative.”
For example, fragrance is usually created using base, middle and top notes. However, noted Stephen J. Nilsen, senior perfumer, it is the opposite for flavors.
“You want that burst of flavor in the beginning with no lingering or aftertaste,” he explained.
To date, Givaudan perfumers and flavorists have created 60 fragrances that can be divided into sweet and savory notes that are designed to delight, comfort and excite consumers.
Further, the company has identified four key consumer trends:
• Well & Great. Consumers’ search for health-boosting, body-loving, beauty-enhancing ingredients continues.
• Metamorphosis. Meeting the consumers’ demand for bigger, better, more original sensorial experiences.
• Sweet Nostalgia. One sniff of a treasured moment from our past instantly signals the good vibes of Remember when?”
• Surprise Me. The ability to delight and surprise consumers is an opportunity to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
The creative collaboration between Givaudan perfumers and flavorists explored a broad spectrum of taste experiences: hyper-realistic fruity notes as well as salty, sweet, savory and creamy notes to name a few. The aim was to recreate pure taste experiences by translating them into scents consumers can easily relate to.
For example, Under the Well & Great olfactive realm, one of the examples is the health-infused green note of matcha tea which triggers a wellness signal when used within a finished fragrance.
The Metamorphosis olfactive realm explores transformations and unexpected twists of ingredients. For instance, the team developed a bacon accord around the highly recognizable and tempting taste and scent of cooked bacon, which elicits an immediate mouth-watering experience. When blended with floralcy, the bacon provides a salty, smoky sensation for the floral notes to bloom—and represents an innovative and modern way to interpret floralcy for the future, according to Givaudan.
Or, to put it succinctly, “What can we create that will make you salivate?” asked Nilsen.
The Delight Project, he explained has made it possible to use flavor components that have never been used before in fragrances.
“It expands our palette,” Nilsen insisted. “It’s like giving a painter more colors to work with.”
The Delight Project is billed as a global platform that includes cross-collaboration between the US, Europe and Brazil, enabling Givaudan customers to select from a veritable buffet of choices.
“We are generating a lot of excitement among our customers; we’ve had a very positive response,” recalled Flinn. “There is so much opportunity.”
The perfumers’ excitement gets the clients excited and that’s created a lot of buzz among the 20 or so customers who had experienced The Delight Project during its debut in New York in late January.
“Everyone is thinking about ways to embrace this new way of perfuming,” said Flinn. “Can it be used subliminally in retail spaces? For health and wellness? Candles? Body lotions? It’s really a white space opportunity.”
And an opportunity that company executives are prepared to exploit to the fullest.
“Givaudan now owns pleasure,” insisted Greene. “It’s a bold statement, but we have so many platforms and blue sky opportunities.”
Opportunities that the company is eager to share with its household and personal care customers.