How Our Ambient Food Aromas Increase Food Sales

Food aromas for food marketers, and the scent marketing companies that service their commercial establishments, are the tender traps that fragrantly tempt and break down the free will of consumers who cannot resist the often fattening message their noses are telling them.

Suddenly, they are hungrier than before and unable to resist what lay before them, whether it is the aroma of brewing coffee or the image of scrumptious and fattening delectables.

Ambient Scenting Machines For Coffee Houses

According to an 1989 study conducted by Cornell et al, even if completely satiated, a person’s appetite can be stimulated by the sight or smell of a desirable food.

Scents generate threads of memory in the brain, which transports to the very first time the aroma was experienced. This is no accident.

The human sense of smell is the only one of the five that is directly connected to the limbic system in the brain that controls the formation of memory and emotional development.

Comprised of four separate sectors that include: the hypothalamus, the amygdala, the thalamus and the hippocampus, this regulatory system controls endocrine function in response to emotional stimuli and is also integral to reinforcing behavior.

Scent Triggers Consumers

In the case of food aromas, a 2008 study conducted by Ferriday and Brunstrom reinforced that this area of the brain can influence food choices, such as portion selection and the specific desire to consume certain foods.

This study, as well as several others from the same time period, focused on a response to highly palatable foods such as pizza, or ice-cream, which promote energy intake by stimulating appetite and increasing the types of foods selected.

A 2007 study conducted by Lowe and Butryn revealed a phenomenon known as“hedonic hunger,” a condition characterized by a sensitivity to food cues, irrespective of the presence of any hunger.

For the average bakery to add ambient food scents when wondrous natural fragrances naturally arise from the baking action of deserts and other foods might at first seem to be a bit redundant.

Ambient Scent Pizza

In its own way, it is similar to adding curling lotion to a head of hair that is already laden with many curls and waves. 

It is, however, a brilliant marketing strategy because, as our ambient air-care experts already know, if done correctly, it can greatly increase sales, just as added lotion increases the volume of curls.

Embodied Cognition and Scent Marketing

This concept is focused on the idea that bodily sensations influence decisions without our conscious awareness. 

One experiment conducted by Lawrence E. Williams, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and John A. Bargh, of Yale University indicated that people who had briefly held a warm beverage were more likely than people who had held a cold one to think that a stranger was friendly. 

Another study led by Xun (Irene) Huang, of Sun Yat-Sen University indicted that warm temperatures prompted people to conform to a crowd.

This concept is also connected to scent marketing and food sales. Restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores and pizza parlors are all obvious settings from which people obtain food.

Ambient Scenting Grocery Stores

These locations are designed to maximize sales by strategically placing and promoting items to encourage impulse purchases. 

A study conducted for the Rand Corporation by Deborah A. Cohen, MD, MPH and Susan H. Babey, PhD entitled Contextual Influences on Eating Behaviors: Heuristic Processing and Dietary Choices examined a number of issues including the contextual factors involved in making food choices.

Responses to these contextual cues come without conscious thought as the human brain processes them automatically.

This ability, which often serves as a protective measure, also extends to eating and food choices which we are known to make both quickly and without thought to the consequences.

Mental shortcuts, sometimes known as heuristic devices, make it easier and quicker to make a decision.

Examples include: an educated guess, a rule of thumb or trial and error. (No one ever touches a hot stove unprotected a second time.)

Ambient Food Scents Grocery

Relying on heuristic cues such as: the appearance of objects, familiar pictures, shapes, sizes, logos, brands and prices, to guide eating choices usually results in selections that are larger and have more calories. 

Still, this automatic decision-making mechanism allows consumers to make decisions with little or no judgment. 

Food Retailers And Scent Marketing

Scent marketing quietly seduces a customer into making a purchase. This technique is perhaps a bit kinder than the spider’s lure to the proverbial fly, as the consumer does survive and must do so in order to go on to purchase more products. 

Food retailers have been using this tactic to their advantage for decades, as they long ago learned to harness the psychological impact scent has on consumer loyalty and sales.

Emotionally Connect Scent

They depend upon the emotions these fragrances trigger, which according to AdWeek, are more “immediate and intense than those brought on by anything else. It takes a while for our brains to rationalize why we want what our noses tell us.”

A Few Relevant Examples Of Ambient Food Aromas

Orlando’s Hard Rock Café Hotel experiences an increase in their annual sales by about 45% with their ‘aromatic billboards’ that pump out the artificial scents of sugar cookies and waffle cones that entice customers into their basement ice cream shop.

According to the Scent Marketing Institute, when the smell of fresh baked bread was pumped into a grocery store, sales in the bakery department tripled.

Disney properties are known to deploy an artificial “grilled scent” to their frozen burgers to make them smell fresh, as well as scent machines placed strategically in the bushes that disperse scents of cotton candy, popcorn and caramel apples.

Ambient Scent Popcorn

Panera Bread introduced a change in operational procedural that caused sales to jump when they cleverly moved their baking time to daylight hours enabling customers to smell the bread all day long. 

Air-Scent International And Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are comprised primarily of artificial compounds and materials. They are developed in laboratories, and comprise almost two-thirds of the most popular scents created by our master perfumers in our 85,000 square foot Technology Center situated in suburban Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

Air-Scent International Headquarters Logo

Here, magic happens every day via the most advanced tools in the world of industrial science that money can buy. These include: gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, head-space analysis, distillation, extraction and quality control technology.

A leader in ambient air care since our inception more than seven decades ago, we are a family-run company that has been in continuous operation ever since, and more than any than any other of our ilk, we represent the epitome in the creation of scents to serve commercial marketing needs.

Ambient Food Fragrance Refills For Food Retailers

Below are some popular and readily-available, carefully-crafted, ambient, food fragrance refills, but it must be said that we can create any custom food-like fragrance under the sun, almost as of by the thrust of a magic wand. 

These aromas fall into three refill categories; namely, our Air Wisp; Scentsia and Wafer scent blocks.

Air Wisp Fragrance Refills

Our Air-Wisp fragrance refills are specifically designed to work within our Aroma Styler HVAC diffusers.

Aroma Styler HVAC Diffuser

Almond Biscotti

A scent welcoming a flavorful respite from the cold and dreary days of winter, the irresistible aroma of buttery, sweet and crispy cookies tinged with subtle, soft traces of almond, lush vanilla and dark roasted chocolate warm the spirit and feed the soul. 

This fragrance also features elements of fresh, cool peppermint  and bitter, salty anise seed.

Apple Bake

Even though a bakery’s own aromas attract customers once they are inside, sometimes a title help from an Apple Bake fragrance refill can go a long way in coaxing them across a very fragrant threshold. 

A fresh, crisp apple top note, which soon blends into an inviting and piquant blend of cinnamon and clove, finishes with a base note marked by lush and sweet vanilla.

Genoa Lemon

This exhilarating fragrance is marked by a top note of sparkling lemon and succulent, mandarin orange. 

These elements soon meld into a floral heart note bouquet featuring light and bitter neroli and creamy, sugary magnolia blossom. 

This invigorating scent completes  with a base note of woody,-green and sensual white musk.

Scentsia Cartridge Fragrance Refills

Our Scentsia cartridges are specifically designed to work within our Aroma Beam bluetooth operated diffuser.

AromaBeam For Scent Marketing Suppliers And End Users

Hot Apple Pie

A nostalgic fragrance recalling childhood memories, family gatherings and the luscious flavor of fresh baked apple pie. 

It opens with top notes of green, tart granny smith apples, mouth-watering cinnamon and potent, sugary clove.

A middle note of soft, bittersweet almond gently invades and ultimately melds into a base note marked by tinges of flaky, buttery and slightly salty pie crust, alluring vanilla and creamy rich caramel.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

The top note of this delectable fragrance is marked by semi-sweet chocolate and warm, creamy butter. 

These two irresistible elements soon give way to a brown sugar heart note and a final blend of lush vanilla and warm nuances of caramel and chocolate. 

In a coffee shop or snack bar, if placed strategically by the cash registers, such a scent can lead to many last minute impulse sales.

Cinnamon Buns

Fresh ground cinnamon, slightly sweet nutmeg and piquant clove form the top notes of this alluring fragrance, which soon combine into a heart note marked by nutty, roasted bread and a final base note featuring glazed burnt sugar and elegant, buttery-vanilla. 

If a bakery selling these buns is located close to a subway entrance or exit, this would be an ideal location for such a scent, as the smells of the subway are plentiful but usually not so pleasant.

Passion Fruit And Melon

Exotic and memorable, this fragrance opens with a top note marked by sweet and tropical passion fruit, fresh, dewy watermelon, buttery honeydew, sugary cantaloupe and soft, honeyed kiwi. 

A white flower bouquet soon follows, featuring creamy gardenia, haunting jasmine, light, bitter neroli and spicy bright and waxy lily. 

A base note of rich nectar and white musk finish the fragrance.

Squair Wafer Fragrance Scent Blocks

Our Squair Wafer refills are specifically designed to work within our Aroma One air freshener diffuser.

Aroma One Air Freshener Diffuser

Baked Pumpkin

Falling leaves, orange gourds and cooler climes are easily conjured in the mind’s eye with this memorable fragrance that is is marked by notes of sweet, spicy and creamy pumpkin, diverse spices and the slightest tinge of lush vanilla and creamy caramel. 

This scent evokes the warmth of home and hearth and recall from past holiday times.


This spicy blend of nutmeg or allspice and cloves was first transported to the American colonies by early European settlers, and to this day represents more than any other confection the quintessence of the holiday season. 

This scent opens with a top note of aromatic, fuzzy peach and sugary, woody and slightly floral berry. 

These fleeting aspects soon fade into a heart note featuring warm, nutty and slightly sweet nutmeg, inviting, fruity cinnamon and rich, bright ginger. 

The scent completes with a base note of luxurious, sensual vanilla.

Golden Mango

This South Asian fragrance opens with a top note featuring a splash of invigorating citrus and tropical, gingery and fruity mango. 

These aspects soon meld into an elegant, floral middle note and a final spicy base note follows marked by aspects of sensual vanilla-tinged musk.

In Conclusion

If you are the owner or manager of a grocery store, deli, pizza parlor, bakery, or any other type of establishment that sells food, or you’re a scent marketing company that services one, consider calling our ambient air-care specialists at Air-Scent International.

Our many irresistible, mouth-watering, food-flavored scents fit seamlessly into any particular setting and can aid in increasing traffic, sales and that ever-important bottom line.

Final thought about food scents: Smell and taste are in fact but single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose ~ Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Photo Credits: Pixabay

You May Also Be Interested In

Aroma Jockeying – The Artistry Of Blending Scents And Music

Blending smells with music being played in real time at clubs and concerts concerns a phenomenon known as aroma jockeying. This is a logical outgrowth of the need today for a a new edge of discovery, so to speak, that involves pushing the experience envelope of live entertainment to expand sight and sound to new, […]

Bling To Zing: How Fragrance Enhances Jewelry Store Sales

In the world of retail, the power of ambiance cannot be underestimated. Discover how ambient scenting and thoughtfully chosen fragrances can captivate customers and elevate the shopping experience, leading to increased sales and heightened emotions within jewelry stores.

Why Regular Trash Chute Cleaning Is A Must For Your Property

In maintaining a hygienic and pleasant environment, regular trash chute cleaning proves indispensable for any property. Equally crucial are commercial-grade air freshener systems, ensuring continuous freshness, and eliminating unpleasant odors that may deter occupants and visitors. Discover the vital importance of these two essential practices in this article.