2 Dec 2015

How food marketers are leading us by the nose

From Nine To Noon, 9:18 am on 2 December 2015
Smelling bread

Photo: 123rf

Our sense of smell plays a key role in not only what we choose to eat, but our enjoyment of it.

Just the smell of freshly baked bread, or a home cooked meal can set our mouths watering.

So it's inevitable that marketers would latch onto this, and use this sense to trigger reward seeking behaviours in consumers to make them want to eat or drink more.

It can be as simple as the placement of bread ovens in supermarkets so that the smell wafts through, to olfactory advertising, where ads on bus stops for a chip company example, can release the smell of baked potatoes.

Charles Spence is a professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford in the UK - he is an expert on how our brains  process the information from each of our different senses.

His latest paper published in the journal Flavour and entitled Leading the consumer by the nose delves into the commercialisation of smells by the food and beverage sector

He joins Kathryn Ryan from Oxford.