The fragrance industry is continuing to seriously invest in programs to create innovative ingredients and product launches that are designed to have the power to enhance a consumer's well-being. Many of these solutions are based on in-depth neuroscience research. For instance, Givaudan has created a trio of portfolios including DreamScentz (to enhance sleep quality), MoodScentz (mood-lifting) and VivaScentz (to enhance well-being). IFF debuted its Science of Wellness program to address consumer desires for a more holistic approach to their well-being, designed to guide the creation of scents that support science-based consumer well-being, with emotional, cognitive and physical benefits. Below are the most recent developments marrying the fragrance and wellness spaces.
Iberchem introduced its latest neuroscientific investigation program, Wavemotion, in May 2023. Designed to scientifically evaluate the impact of fragrance on human psychology and physiology, Wavemotion will unveil insights into how scent can influence positive neural responses to transform the emotional landscape of consumers and elevate consumer well-being. Utilizing multi-dimensional neuroscientific techniques and physiological practices, Wavemotion will explore the processing of odor signals within interconnected structures of the brain.
Neuroscientific specialist Michael White, New Technologies director at Iberchem shared, “Wavemotion will bring a new dimension to the world of fragrance innovation. Understanding the functional connectivity and physiological correlates of emotion upon fragrance exposure will reveal [an] unprecedented opportunity for the expansion of Iberchem’s fragrance portfolio.”
The Estée Lauder Companies' New Incubation Ventures group has made a minority investment in Vyrao. The investment will enable new product innovations in neurologically backed ingredients, additional wellness formulations beyond scent, and escalating creative campaigns and further geographic expansion.
Yasmin Sewell, Vyrao’s founder, said, "To have Estée Lauder’s belief and guidance is a huge honor. Estée Lauder invests in and owns some of the world’s greatest brands. They are excited to join us on our journey to define what emotional well-being and healing look like today and in the future."
Shana Randhava, senior vice president, New Incubation Ventures, said that Sewell’s “ability to reimagine the convergence of luxury, wellness and fragrance is expanding our understanding of the functional benefits of the category. We’re excited to join her on the journey of defining what health and well-being look like as it relates to today’s consumer’s connection with beauty.”
In November 2023, following years of research, IFF in collaboration with SleepScore Labs and Mattress Firm announced the launch of Sleepy’s Scented Pillow Inserts.
The insert is designed to be a non-invasive solution that promotes sleep quality, made of 70% repurposed cotton, to be inserted between the pillow and the pillowcase, to be changed weekly, with each box containing a three-month supply.
“This three-way collaboration with SleepScore Labs and Mattress Firm allows us to reach millions of consumers nationwide,” said Simon Herriott, IFF’s Health & Biosciences and Scent president. “Sleepy’s Scented Pillow Inserts are a breakthrough product, which takes scent beyond hedonics, with demonstrated benefit on overall sleep quality, combining science and creativity. It has the potential to revolutionize the way consumers experience sleep, and we are excited about the positive impact a scented product can have on so many people’s lives.”
Beginning in 2020, it is said that IFF and SleepScore Labs conducted more than 130 separate scientific studies covering more than one million sleep hours. The studies used advanced sleep monitoring technology, which took measurements—such as respiratory and actimetry among others—every 30 seconds of more than 4,000 people sleeping in their own homes. This research is said to have led to the identification of scent combinations to promote better sleep quality, labeled as MetaSleep.
Another launch that was developed from partnered research was revealed at the International Fragrance Association United Kingdon (IFRA UK) Annual Fragrance Forum in 2023 titled Unlocking the Mind: The Science and Creativity of Olfaction and Memory. The program premiered a short film from a West Sussex care home where residents living with dementia have been trialing a scent-related memory game, with extremely positive results. The five-minute film showed residents from Meadowcroft Care Home in Shoreham-by-Sea playing Smell & Tell, a mood-boosting board and memory game created by the Givaudan Foundation. The game is said to use familiar fragrances such as coffee, pine and chocolate to evoke memories and spark conversations of those taking part.
Lisa Hipgrave, Director of IFRA UK shared, “Almost one million people in the UK have dementia and this is set to increase to over 1.6 million by 2050. We know that our sense of smell can be affected by dementia, and that losing our sense of smell can be isolating and negatively impact our well-being. It’s amazing to see the power of our sense of smell and how certain scents trigger memories that haven’t been thought of for decades. The ongoing research by leading academics like Dr Hummel and Professor Larsson, and hands-on games like Givaudan’s Smell and Tell™, are hugely important in ensuring that our sense of smell remains at the forefront of science and fragrance.”