Ten members of IFRA UK banded together to launch Changing Lives Through Fragrance (CLTF). The initiative was launched to "share our love of the fragrant world and highlight the importance of our sense of smell." The platform has crowdsourced resources for visitors including podcasts, books and even articles that explore smell training for those who have lost their sense of smell due to COVID-19.
Perfumer & Flavorist+ connected with the CLTF team to discuss the initiative's mission, available resources and how the fragrance community can help.
Perfumer & Flavorist+ [P&F+]: What is the mission of Changing Lives Through Fragrances? How did the concept come about?
CLTF: Changing Lives Through Fragrance is about changing lives for the better using the many benefits of fragrance to help people–from inspiring young people to connect with others, to improving well-being for people with dementia.
We believe IFRA UK has a responsibility to help people understand the wider benefits that fragrance can bring to their lives. The group was started just prior to the pandemic, as we recognized IFRA UK members had a collective will to help and in many cases were already planning or doing activities within the community. By working as a group, we can share ideas and develop new ones.
Since then, the impact of the virus on the loss of smell and taste has meant people are even more aware of the importance of our sense of smell in keeping us connected to the people and world around us. It has increased our resolve to work collaboratively and spread the message as much as possible.
P&F+: What resources does CLTF have to share?
CLTF: Our first output as a group has been the creation of a website (www.fragrancematters.org). This acts as a place to find out more information about our sense of smell–from quirky facts to more in-depth information depending on people’s level of interest. It also acts as a portal for anyone wanting to find out more about smell loss and signposts news articles, podcasts and scientific research that really highlight the incredible power of our sense of smell.
We’ve authored a few resources ourselves, aimed at the general public. For example, ahead of Christmas, we promoted a presentation suitable for use in schools around the topic ‘What would Santa smell like?’. We also have a poster about ‘smelling well’ which can be displayed in pharmacies, shops and community areas and includes pointers to support groups for those suffering from smell loss.
We will be adding to the website with news updates and activities over the coming months.
P&F+: Could you touch on the psychology of smelling?
CLTF: We know that odors are powerful memory cues, this is because olfactory input has direct connections via the olfactory bulb and the primary olfactory (piriform) cortex onto two key structures involved in emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus. There has been a great deal of research in this area. As fragrance industry professionals, we are complete converts on the importance of the sense of smell! Through the resources we share, we hope to ‘show’ and not just ‘tell’ our audience so they can start to appreciate just how amazing our sense of smell really is.
P&F+: What can fellow fragrance experts and the community do to help Changing Life Through Fragrances’ mission?
CLTF: People can help in a couple of ways. Firstly by sharing what we have done through their own networks and groups and highlighting the website and resources. Secondly, by letting us know of anything that you have worked on or anything you believe could be beneficial to the wider society and we will do our best to help communicate and distribute to a wider audience. For example, if we author a resource, and you would like to adapt it for your own audience, please just ask and we’ll happily send the original content.