PACKAGING DIGEST – September 2004 Design Trends

Aroma-enhanced packaging: The last frontier
Horsham, PA-based provider of weight-management products and services, NutriSystem, Inc. has brought “scent science” to the weight-loss industry with its introduction of the Aquaescents(TM) water bottle. Representing the first commercial application of ScentSational Technologies’ (www.scentsationaltechnologies.com) Encapsulated-Aroma Release Technology, the bottle comes with three different caps, each infused with an FDA-approved natural fruit “flavor” that migrates into the water. “Because the senses of smell and taste are so closely linked, this dual effect can help dieters feel satisfied and hydrated simultaneously, effectively eliminating hunger sensations,” says NutriSystem.

The aromatic bottle caps are the first of many new products in development by NutriSystem, as well as from a number of other CPGs, that will utilize ScentSational Technologies’ aroma-enhanced plastic packaging to impart additional flavors to food and beverage products, according to ScentSational CTO Steven Landau.

“As packaging has evolved over the years, and we’ve introduced extended shelf life and different controls of atmospheric conditions, food is lasting much longer than it was ever intended to last,” he explains. “Even though it’s safe and it’s okay to eat, it loses a lot of its sensory appeal due to the loss of top-note flavors, which are the flavors that are traditionally associated with flavor freshness. So, as a package sits on a shelf, it loses its effectiveness and its desirability to the consumer.”

In the Aquaescents application, the addition of a Peach, Lemon or Berry cap to the 26-oz sports bottle infuses the water with a subtle fruit flavor, without added calories, sweeteners or preservatives. The aroma emitted by the 53-mm polypropylene cap, which is produced by a proprietary custom plastics molder, is embedded in the plastic during production.

Relates Landau, “When we add flavors to plastic in its molten stage, we use flavors from Firmenich (www.firmenich.com) that are engineered to withstand the heat that the product goes through, so we end up with a product that is infused with flavor. Plastic, by its very nature, grabs each flavor moleculeand keeps it fresh. And, while it keeps it fresh and stable, plastic, also by its very nature, is constantly pushing outwards. That’s why plastic packaging oftentimes may impart an off-taste or bad flavors into food and beverages.”

In addition to masking off-flavors, preserving the perception of product freshness, and adding flavor to products without added fat, sodium, sugar or calories, ScentSational’s aroma technology can also be used to build brands, says Landau. “With our CompelAroma Brand Building strategy, you gain the ability to market your brand to all five human senses, including the sense of smell,” he says. “Over time, the aroma of your product will become a product signature, evoking positive memories of past times enjoying your brand.”

Among ScentSational’s current strategic manufacturing partners for future consumer applications are Charter Films (www.charterfilms.com), Fabri-Kal Corp. (www.fabrikal.com), Crown Cork & Seal (www.crowncork.com) and Portola Packaging (www.portpack.com).

The Aquaescents sports bottle with three flavored caps is available for $14.95 only through the NutriSystem website (www.nutrisystem.com), which advertises that “more flavors are coming soon.” Circle No. 320.