16 Jun 2021 --- International Flavors & Fragrances’ (IFF) new Science of Wellness program aims to bring together 40 years of human conscious and unconscious measures, advanced neurosciences, proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) and unique ingredients to deliver augmented perfumery for holistic wellness that is supported by science. BPC Insights speaks to Celine Manetta, Consumer Science Global Innovation Senior Manager at IFF to find out more.
The newly-released Science of Wellness program is designed to build upon the link between scents and emotions. It will allow IFF perfumers to create science-supported fragrance solutions that strive to meet consumers’ 24/7 wellbeing expectations, with emotional, cognitive and physical benefits. The science-backed wellness launch aggregates the latest advances in neurosciences to understand what actually happens in the brain when smelling an odor. This pioneering work was initiated in the 1980s to understand the link between scent and emotions, and was then expanded in the 1990s by multi-sensorial associations between scents, colors and textures.
Then, 15 years ago, IFF added data science to its understanding of scents and emotions. The brand’s AI examines all the possible combinations of ingredients to find the synergies that have the most impact on a given emotional perception. It computes billions of pieces of information and turns it into something that perfumers can work with to create fragrances. The Science of Wellness program works by allowing IFF perfumers to go directly to its database to identify the ingredients that will help them target their desired emotional benefits.
Augmented perfumery for holistic wellness
Click to EnlargeThe IFF fragrance team is taking a holistic wellness approach. Source: IFF. In recent years, IFF surveyed more than 30,000 consumers in 14 different countries. By investing in this research, IFF was able to identify an acceleration of the already growing need for wellbeing among consumers, specifically in the fragrance arena. The brand’s research findings revealed that more than 8 out of 10 people interviewed said they wanted to improve their wellbeing in the future. Equipped with this knowledge inspired IFF to conceptualize and bring to life its Science of Wellness program.
“Consumers today want wellbeing 24/7,” emphasizes Celine Manetta, Consumer Science Global Innovation Senior Manager, IFF. Describing what wellbeing means to consumers, Manetta highlights: “They want energy, they want to be alert in the morning of a working day, they want to relax or want help to fall asleep at the end of the day, they want to feel happy, seductive or confident when meeting friends: it is a continuous search for positive emotions.”
Choosing to enter into the wellness fragrance space via its newly-launched program, Manetta asks: “What better way than perfume to trigger wellness?” The science behind perfumes and wellness is increasingly emerging in the beauty and personal care market to converge the areas to offer wellness fragrances. Describing the role the anatomical proximity between the olfaction pathway and the limbic system involved into emotions and memory in the brain has, Manetta reveals: “Perfumes are scientifically proven to be highly linked to emotions and memory.”
Consumers want emotional and physical benefits
In its recent survey, which prompted the roll-out of its Science of Wellness program, IFF found consumers reaffirmed the notion that scents are essential for them and are a source of pleasure.
On average, 87% of consumers said they want a fragrance with emotional and physical benefits. “This strong consumer demand is reflected in the size and growth of the global health and wellness market,” reveals Manetta. The Global Wellness Institute, a non-profit organization, put the wellness market at $4.5 trillion in 2018, a quarter of which is personal care, beauty and anti-aging.
In another IFF study conducted in 2021, the fragrance brand explored wellness in fragrance with 10,000 consumers in 10 countries around the world. The brand found that a large majority of consumers are interested in disciplines such as aromatherapy, ayurveda or traditional Chinese medicine.
“But an interesting phenomenon is that 67% of consumers want access to products supported by science,” reveals Manetta. Sharing how this is particularly true for personal care products, Manetta continues, by stating that on average 74% of consumers declared they want wellness products supported by science for personal wash, hair care and skin care.
The future of wellness fragrance
Click to EnlargeMeeting fragrance aficionados’ expectations: 87% of consumers want a fragrance with emotional and physical benefits. Source: IFF.Exploring the possibilities for the growing relationship between wellness and fragrance, IFF ultimately sees the Science of Wellness as an opportunity to bring emotions in all categories of scented products to consumers looking for augmented and science-based wellbeing. “Our perfumers can target emotional, physical, and cognitive benefits from energy to happiness or relaxation, mindfulness to memory or self-esteem, improved sleep, skin and more,” details Manetta.
In the next year, we can expect to see IFF team up with fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands across scented product categories—from fine fragrances to body care and home care—to launch augmented scents for wellness to consumers. The brand’s perfumers will be leveraging the Science of Wellness program’s knowledge and will integrate it into their creations to produce targeted scents for specific emotional benefits.
IFF recently signed a partnership deal with Sleepscore, an advanced sleep improvement system, which the fragrance name hopes will allow it to develop targeted scent-based sleep improvement solutions. Also, through IFF’s recent arrival of its LMR Active Essences and LMR Brainemotions collections, the brand is positive these will enable it to tackle the demand for natural products.
IFF also has bold plans to expand the five billion data points that its AI technology currently reaches, to grow into new areas of targeted, personalized wellness.
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Editor