2nd July 2019

Top 10 Sounds of the Home: TVs, Toddlers and Traffic

Close your eyes and think of home… what does it sound like? The telephone ringing? Pipes clanging? Children playing, or maybe dogs barking? The sounds of the home can trigger all sorts of emotions and memories, but are there any common themes?

We decided to investigate…

We conducted an online study, asking over 200 respondents aged 18-65 currently living in the UK, which sounds they most associated with being at home. 

The responses were varied to say the least! We had everything from snoring dogs and bleating lambs (with clarification that the respondent lived in Wales), to the Emmerdale theme tune.

And the results are in…

10. In last place of the top 10 sounds of the home was clocks ticking and clicking, keyboard tapping, laptops and light switches. These familiar noises were voted for by 5% of respondents.

9. At number 9, and somewhat surprisingly, 8% said that floorboard creaks and footsteps reminded them of home.

8. Coming in at 8th on our list is the sound of water– 12% mentioned water drips, bubbles in a fish tank, running a bath or shower and/or flushing loos. 

7. We have buzzing in 7th place, with 15% of respondents mentioning the hum of a fan or extractor fan, electric toothbrushes, lawnmower or vacuum.

6. The kettle – how predictably British we are… the highest scoring single electrical appliance was mentioned by 24%. For a quarter of Brits, that warm and welcoming bubbling of water is the signal that we are home.

5. Pets - For 27% of respondents, pet or animal sounds came to mind when they thought of being at home. We had a couple mentions of lambs and cows, however as expected, animal sounds in the home were dominated by dog barks and cat meows. 

4. The background hum of machines – closely behind outdoor noises, 34% of people mentioned some kind of background hum from the oven, fridge, tumble dryer and/or washing machine.

3. Outdoors – interestingly, 37% of Brits associated sounds of the home with the outdoors, such as birds chirping, cars passing and the wind howling.

bird chirping

2. 40% of responses mentioned people, ranging from the sounds of children playing and shouting, to boyfriends talking and babies babbling. Some had a positive spin (“laughter” was a popular one), while others not so much (“arguments” and “children bickering” were just as frequent). 

1. TV & radio – a true sign of the times, the background sounds of the TV, radio and/or music came top with a whopping 65% of respondents mentioning at least one of them. 

What does this mean? 

Positive sensory associations

These sounds all evoke feelings of home and so will carry with them positive emotional associations we have with cosying up on the living room sofa or cooking with loved ones in the kitchen. 

The whir of a coffee machine or clang of cooking pans might be enough to trigger feelings of warmth, comfort and safety typically associated with being at home, even if we’re not actually there.

Research shows sounds evoke emotionally charged memories (Koelsch, 2015), both positive and negative in nature (e.g. Perry, 1999). As demonstrated by our research, many Brits can unite in shared sound-home associations, despite our differing lifestyles and experiences. Culturally, the sounds, and consequently the emotions that go with them, will change. 

This is the present - but what about the future home? A hundred years from now, our homes may sing to the tune of digital beeps and weird erroneous hums. Will social interactions and the sounds of outdoors still be important? 

If brands and product developers are to appeal strongly to consumers’ senses in the home, the basis upon which products or services are designed must align with their current sensory associations with such a place - like the sounds, smells and textures.

If you think your company could benefit from research into the senses, get in touch with us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk to discuss!

5th June 2019

Multisensory Retail Experience: Taking Omnichannel to the Next Level

You’re in the chilled food aisle. You spot a rather indulgent, tasty offering. Not your usual choice but hey, you feel like treating yourself.

Random choice? No.

It’s been proven that colder temperatures can lead to more emotional decision-making and increased preference for pleasurable, indulgent products.

It’s also been shown that adding sound to a digital retail or subscription experience leads consumers to spend over 30% longer interacting with products and pay nearly 15% more overall.

The power of the senses

Every sensory element (including sound, temperature, aroma, colour, shape and form) is having a profound influence on our choices, actions and feelings - and we just don’t realise it.

The retail world is undergoing an enormous shift. Online players are opening bricks-and-mortar stores, high street brands are re-inventing themselves as ‘destinations’ and there’s been a staggering rise in digital and subscription retail sales. The focus is now firmly on an omnichannel retail experience.

These hybrid retail experiences that blend the digital with the real-world customer journey are where sensory branding and design can really play a role.

Real places, sensory spaces

In-store environments and physical products provide an obvious opportunity to enhance the customer experience. Not least because we can design for all the senses, it also allows us to control every element of the multisensory experience. At base level, this means using sound and aroma more effectively. 

For example, when an aroma and soundscape designed to evoke ‘softness’ was used in a chain of lingerie stores, average customer dwell time increased by 25%. Average spend also increased by 30%.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

retail experience dwell time

Every element of the journey and every physical touchpoint (mail order, home delivery, etc.) should be designed based on sensory science.

Such an approach can help to improve the overall experience, increase dwell time, encourage product interaction, slow people down, speed people up, even alter their perception of time! Did you know that we perceive time to pass more slowly in a red room, and faster in a blue room…?

Staff behaviour and customer interaction also play a central role in our retail projects. Every word used when staff communicate with customers, every action and gesture, the way that customers are guided and assisted throughout… it all communicates to shoppers on a deep, visceral level. We work to ensure all interactions communicate the right things at the right time, both psychologically and sensorially in a coherent and natural way.

The digital sensory retail experience

OK, so real-world retail might make sense, but what about multisensory design online?

Surely, on a platform that only allows you to control sound and visuals, you can’t fully embrace the benefits of a sensory approach?

In fact, digital or subscription experiences are a perfect channel for sensory marketing and design.

All our senses are fundamentally interlinked. What we experience through one sense affects how we perceive the world through another.

For example, in a collaborative study with Oxford University, we found that smell is influenced by sound. Sniff a perfume while listening to a particular sensorially-designed soundscape and you’ll say it’s sweet. Repeat it with a different soundscape and you’ll say the fragrance is dry. These universal, mainly cross-cultural links also exist for taste, touch, sound and visual perception, and these cross-sensory links are two-way.

This means that, using sensory science, we can create digital or subscription experiences where the sound and visuals can effectively communicate and illicit perceptions of actual smells, tastes and textures.

Touching, tasting, smelling products through your eyes and ears only.

Bittersweet Symphony

The best way to understand just how strong these cross-sensory linkages are is to experience it for yourself. So grab a drink, maybe a cup of coffee, and listen (best with headphones) to these five soundscapes whilst you imbibe…

Bringing it all together

The critical component to an omnichannel approach is connecting the dots – ensuring a seamless sensorial journey between reality and the digital world.

We approach this by first creating a Sensory Map. This details the customer experience at every touchpoint – be it real-world or digital – from a multisensory perspective. In-store, website, on an app, mail order packaging, home delivery service, events, pop-ups, comms… literally everything.

We begin by looking at how we want our audience to think, feel and behave at each stage in the journey and which senses are the most pertinent to achieving this.

We then research and overlay the sensory elements that need to be designed and integrated to deliver on the desired thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

These could be soundscapes used consistently in-store and online, right down to the sounds that the buttons make in a digital retail app. It could be an ownable branded aroma used consistently across touchpoints - for example, the aroma diffused in-store, in shopping bags and imbued into the packaging of subscription or mail order items.

This approach then creates a harmony across digital and real worlds - they are no longer separate channels. Science proves that an aroma can bring back emotions from our first encounter with a product or brand. Ideally positive memories from a store visit and excitement from a subscription purchase. This positive feeling will reoccur when the same aroma is deployed across further touchpoints.

It becomes the perfect sensorial hybrid experience; all senses are finely tuned in one direction, regardless of channel or technology.

Research shows the upsides are undeniable – customers interact and engage more, experiences are more memorable, and perceived quality and value is increased. This is the next frontier for omnichannel retail and subscription services, and it’s all done through a multisensory design approach based on hard science.

Feeling intrigued and want your retail or subscription brand to benefit from the power of a Sensory Marketing approach? Contact us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk.

5th June 2019

Sensory Marketing and Sustainability: How to Lift the Weight of a Billion Elephants

12 billion metric tonnes: the amount of plastic expected to be dumped in our oceans and landfill by 2050 if present trends continue.

Shocking. Governments, consumers, businesses, the world looks on – what can we do? 

With everything from food to fashion wrapped in unnecessary layers of unrecyclable plastic, packaging design is becoming more important than ever. 

In the last couple of years, the change in direction has been profound. FMCG companies are furiously clamouring to reach their Board-level targets of moving to fully environmentally-friendly and sustainable products and packaging as soon as possible.  

This presents an issue. How do you combat the consumer demand for a sustainable product without detracting from the brand’s attributes such as masculinity, premiumness, boldness or freshness, etc.  

For example, research shows that when packaging looks like it is made out of recycled materials (like brown textured cardboard), consumers perceive the product to be more sustainable (e.g. Magnier, Schoormans & Mugge, 2016). But what if your product’s key promise is ‘freshness’? Brown textured cardboard is not generally associated with that.

Take another example – the use of green colours and other earthy shades has been proven to cue up perceptions of sustainability and a connection to nature (e.g. DeLong & Goncu-Berk, 2012). This is fine if you’re creating a totally new brand - but what if you are an existing brand with a completely contrary colour palette designed to evoke premium qualities? Perhaps your dominant brand colour is pink or purple, hues not typically linked to naturalness. 

As a result, brands, product innovation and packaging designers are left scratching their heads. It doesn’t have to be this way.  

Sensory marketing and design, based on science, gives us the tools we need to deliver on both actual and perceived sustainability of packaging without compromising any other product and/or brand quality.  

Actually, the opposite is true – it affords an opportunity to ‘steal-a-march’ on competitors by developing enhanced products and packaging. Products that are perceived as functionally more effective, significantly more rewarding to use, and that create stronger emotional connections between brand and consumer. And all using inherently sustainable packaging materials and formats. It’s totally possible to marry every sensory element in a way that is not only satisfactory, but much improved. 

Saltwater Brewery’s new eco-friendly six-pack rings are a great example of this. Plastic-not-so-fantastic beer can holders are the bane of our oceans, with thousands of animals and marine life being killed by them each year. To combat this ever-growing issue, Saltwater Brewery have produced a biodegradable, compostable, eco-friendly pack ring made from byproducts from the beer brewing process. The ring can also act as fish food if it enters marine habitats!  

Whilst a great sustainable packaging innovation, it could be further enhanced with a multisensory approach to ensure it still communicates the product’s key attributes such as refreshment.  For example with the use of textures, and colours, shapes and forms within the graphical design that we know will prime consumers for a refreshing taste experience.

Marrying a sensory approach with sustainability shouldn’t be reserved solely for package design. It can be imbued across comms, rituals, staff behaviour, activations... Literally everything.

Around 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic have been produced so far, with the majority ending up as waste. This is roughly the equivalent of 35,000 Empire State Buildings or yes, you guessed it - a billion elephants.

Sensory marketing and design can help us on the journey to dramatically cutting this down and lead to some amazing new sustainable products along the way. 

Feeling intrigued and want your brand to benefit from the power of a sensory marketing approach? Contact us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk

22nd May 2019

The Power of Brand Rituals

By Russell Jones, Co-founder / Creative Director of Condiment Junkie

199.53 seconds. That's the exact amount of time a well-informed bartender will take to pour a perfect Guinness. Leaving it to perform its slow-motion swirling display, until gracefully settling into two distinct layers and receiving the final top-up.

Seeing brand rituals played out in front of you looks very impressive and meaningful. It appears to have clear, visible purpose and builds a sense of expectation. Of the quality. Of the taste. Of the experience.

Brand rituals can make a beer taste better
Editorial credit: VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock.com

Owning a globally recognised serving ritual

For a brand to own a globally recognised serving ritual like this is gold dust. It’s immensely effective at building brand equity, but can also vastly improve how much people enjoy and value the product. Brand rituals make people like products more. 

Sensory research can enlighten us on the benefits of having a ritual as part of a product experience. But importantly, the science shows the powerful difference between seeing someone else perform brand rituals (like the bartender serving a Guinness) or actually doing it yourself.

Rituals serve as a means of delaying gratification. And doing that extends the pleasurable and rewarding period of anticipation. In 2002, researchers used fMRI scanners to measure people’s brain responses while they waited to expect a sweet treat, and then consequently eat it (O'Doherty et al., 2002). The study showed that their dopaminergic levels – the pleasure reward signal – were just as high during their anticipation of the treat as when they actually tasted it. Looking forward to something can be just as pleasurable as actually having it.

What does performing brand rituals signify

Barista preparing a coffee

Watching someone performing a ritual also cues up perceptions of craft, expertise, and therefore expectations of quality. Seeing a coffee barista flatten the freshly ground beans into their receptacle before tightening it into the machine, or the tap-tap of the milk jug before artfully pouring it into your cup. Who knows if the coffee would taste exactly the same, objectively speaking, if these brand rituals weren’t performed. The sights and sounds of them definitely tell us that this person knows what they’re doing, and we’ve learnt to associate them with quality and taste.

At Condiment Junkie, we showed that even just hearing these sounds (vs. hearing a cheap coffee machine) makes the same cup of coffee taste better. We’ve learnt to associate the sounds of the brand rituals with quality. They prime us to expect a better tasting coffee.

How do you eat yours?

Cadbury Creme Egg’s brilliant and iconic campaign ‘How do you eat yours?’ celebrates and democratises rituals. Any ritual goes; you can do anything and you own it. This does a very important thing – it brings the ritual into the hands of the consumer.

Performing the ritual yourself has been proven to enhance emotional attachment. In the case of food and drink, it makes people want more of it, say it’s tastier and increases how much they would pay - more so than a ritual they weren’t personally involved with.

The "IKEA Effect"

“When people make something themselves, they place a higher value on it.”  - Norton et al. (2011)

Scientists in 2011 coined the now-famous term for this phenomenon, the "IKEA effect”. This effect is defined as “consumers' increased valuation for goods they have assembled when compared to objectively similar goods not produced by the self” (Norton et al., 2011). The research team showed that people who assembled their own IKEA box were willing to pay 63% more for it than people who were given the chance to buy an identical pre-assembled box.

Exploring the IKEA Effect

The IKEA Effect also applies to food. When people prepared a milkshake themselves, they liked it more and ate much more of it (because they liked it so much), compared to when the milkshake was made by someone else (Dohle et al., 2014).

One study had participants perform completely arbitrary rituals before eating chocolate or carrot sticks, or drinking lemonade. This included things like tapping on the table twice before breaking off and eating a chunk of chocolate. Across all types of food, people rated them as more flavourful, ‘deserving of more savouring’, and were willing to pay more (Vohs et al., 2013).

“Performing a ritual oneself enhances consumption more than watching someone else perform the same ritual, suggesting that personal involvement is crucial for the benefits of rituals to emerge.” - Vohs et al. (2013)

The power of performing a ritual yourself

So, owning a global ‘serve’, as it were, performed by someone else delays gratification and will improve the product experience. 

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We love a clean break! #mybreak

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However, to have a more powerful effect on consumers' emotional attachment to a product, increasing their liking for it and what they’ll pay for it, brands should seek to devise a ritual that’s performed by the person themselves.

This ritual can involve any action and seemingly can be completely arbitrary. But it should give people their own sense of craft and achievement, no matter how small that is. If the ritual were to involve the senses, or give you some kind of sensory feedback, it becomes even more powerful, memorable and own-able. Generating a sound, releasing aroma, or incorporating an action that engages touch and creates a feeling.

Engaging the senses in such a way brings you into the moment, snapping you out of autopilot. As you’re performing the ritual, the sensory cues are also sparking other instinctual reactions. A sound that cues up the quality of the product. A texture that communicates the sustainability or naturalness of the material. In doing this you are also creating valuable sensory and emotional assets. Sounds and textures that are now intrinsically linked to your brand and product. Enhancing its core functional and emotional qualities, and through the ritual itself, increasing enjoyment and satisfaction.

That’s why a multisensory, science-based approach to developing product or brand rituals is the way to go - and why we’ve found ourselves creating quite a few of them. If you’d like to know more and explore how we go about doing that, please get in touch with us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk.

And if you ordered a Guinness just as you started reading this, it should just about be ready. Enjoy.

26th April 2019

Welcome to the Era of Multisensory Design and Marketing

By Russell Jones, Co-founder / Creative Director of Condiment Junkie

I believe we’re just about to enter a new era, where multisensory design and marketing becomes part of the fabric of everything we do. Lead by well informed, reputable thought leaders and agencies (like us!), and forward-thinking brand managers and product developers, the world is coming to its senses. Bringing ‘multisensory’ design and marketing out of the shadows of gimmickry and experimentation. And into the light, using meaningful insights to create more effective, engaging, emotional, relevant products and brands.

There can be an air of confusion about what ‘multisensory’ means in the marketplace. The word is often used flippantly to describe any activity that involves a sense beyond visual. If someone pays attention to the texture of a pack, they say they have considered a multisensory design approach. If an event features aroma, it’s a multisensory event.

A truly multisensory design approach

For me, a multisensory approach means considering everything, including visuals, that affects our perception of a given quality, through another sense. By that I mean, choosing the shape of a can to make a deodorant seem more refreshing. The colour of a bottle that makes a drink more tasty. It can also mean an aroma in a shop that makes people feel more relaxed and happy to browse. It could be the tschhh! in an advert that makes a drink seem more appealing. Or the clunk of a car indicator that reinforces how solid and powerful the vehicle seems.

In this sense, true multisensory design is fundamentally grounded in science. Mainly focusing on an area of study called ‘cross-modal neuroscience’. This is the science of how the senses and emotions are connected, through ‘cross-modal associations’. High pitch pianos are associated with sweet tastes. Heavy weight is associated with thickness and quality. If a logo faces right the brand is seen as forward thinking. Scientists have been mapping these associations for decades. From Holt-Hansen linking frequencies of sound to Carlsberg Elephant beer on university campuses in the ‘60’s. To modern day superstars in the field like Charles Spence, Barry Smith, Carlos Velasco. Who, along with a host of other scientists and research agencies, have been systematically mapping textures with sounds, colours with shapes. Shapes with emotions. Smells with behaviour. Broadening our knowledge of how our senses and emotions work together.

Where we began

When Condiment Junkie first started working with Professors Spence and Smith almost 10 years ago, the area was little known. Even less so was the creative application of this knowledge in the fields of product development, marketing or brand design. It was only with visionaries like Heston Blumenthal that we first found an outlet for these fascinating scientific insights. When we developed the Sounds of the Sea dish at the Fat Duck, the idea of sound and food being paired together was revolutionary. Now it’s seen more and more.

It’s within the world of food and food experiences that the word ‘multisensory’ gained its first traction. It was easy to see the application and benefits of it as an approach. After all, eating is possibly the most multisensory thing we do. And it’s within the drinks industry that we as an agency first found success. Educating consumers about the complexity of a whisky by changing colours and sounds in a room (such as at the Singleton Sensorium), is an easy sell. That event, and many more like it, generated tons of PR and talkability for the brands that saw the potential in mulitsensory design and marketing.

But PR is one thing. The only way multisensory design and marketing could cross over into everyday practice, across all industries and market sectors, is to be able to generate proven benefits in ROI, as well as lifts in things like brand tracking, customer engagement and so on.

Over the past 3 or 4 years this has become more and more of a reality. Under the radar (as most work is strictly hush hush) we have proved an uplift in sales, perceived value, brand engagement and emotional attachment, with products that have been developed, or brands that have been designed, using a scientifically based multisensory approach.

A multisensory approach at different stages

A ‘multisensory approach’ can mean different things at different stages of the development process, and across the customer journey. For instance, at a product development stage a multisensory design approach would first help define the key sensory drivers for purchase. The desired consumer outtakes. And then consider what sounds the product should make. Its weight. The packaging textures. Use of colour and shape. The shape of its name. The smell. All defined and designed to enhance the desired outtakes or evoke specific attributes.

Engaging all the senses through brand and marketing 

Multisensory design is being seen more and moreAt a brand and marketing level, a multisensory approach means knowing what sensory and emotional attributes can be evoked through the brand sound, brand aroma, and the visual identity. Making sure the whole essence of the design and branding is sensorially in-line. Acting in the most effective way. Communicating its purpose and benefits to the consumer instinctually. Enhancing consumer perception and perceived value through every interaction. We helped Axe deliver the brand world through engaging all the senses read more about it here.

The playground for the senses

When we cross over into things more experiential, we enter what we call ‘the playground for the senses’. This could apply to POS in a shop, brand activations, to a whole retail environment. Aromas, colour and sounds take on functions beyond highlighting product qualities and start to affect human behaviour. Slowing people down, increasing dwell time. Guiding choice. Improving experience and creating long lasting sensory memories, where emotions, sensory brand assets and brand values are bundled together. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the applications of a scientific, sensory approach. When we start to look at behaviour, rituals, human interactions as well. It becomes even more powerful.

And, when all this is done in a way that is weaved into the development process, it doesn’t shout out and proclaim itself “This is multisensory!”. It’s hidden. Integrated. Just there making everything better.

That’s the point of multisensory design and marketing in a way. As humans we use all of our senses all the time to evaluate the world around us. And so, product developers and designers should equally pay attention to every sense when creating the things we use in our daily lives. It’s the new era in human centric design. And its application can influence everything from digital experiences to hair products, to how you enjoy your wine at home (listen to Blondie with a Chablis – it tastes 45% more zingy!). Like Dorothy walking out into technicolour Oz. We are entering a new vivid and rich world. And I think we should all come to our senses.

Feeling intrigued and want your brand to benefit from the power of a multisensory design approach? Contact us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk

12th February 2019

Feeling Uninspired and Want to Improve Productivity in the Workplace? Then Come To Your Senses

84,171 hours. That's a long time, right?

This is the average amount of time we spend at work - over one third of our lives.

The whir of the air conditioning system. Harsh, unnatural lighting. The smell of re-heated food wafting through the air. Someone nearby on a call, almost shouting. Been in a workplace situation like this? You’re not alone.

This is the stark reality for over 46% of office workers in the UK (Leesman, 2017).

Now consider that co-working and shared workspaces are one of the fastest growing sectors of the business premises and property market. This presents an opportunity to massively improve the design of the workplace environment at scale. And a multisensory design approach should be a key element...


“When the work environment is not stimulating, employees lose focus and creative drive. An environment devoid of sensory stimulation and variability will lead to boredom and passivity.” - Cooper (1968)

There tends to be three key activities and behaviours that need to be given due attention when starting to design a workspace - Collaboration, Creativity and Concentration. We set about exploring this with a research partner – a large multinational pharmaceutical company.

We created a multisensory workplace environment that sought to foster these key activities and behaviours, and rooted the design in scientific research. Here’s just a taste of the insights (most of it is hush-hush of course…)

Collaboration can be enhanced by certain scents


  • Stimulating hues help people feel more alert, allowing for clear decision-making and lively discussions.
  • Certain scents have been proven to improve mood and promote social interaction.
  • Other aromas make people feel more trusting and more likely to offer help to others.


Enhance creativity in the workplace with colour


  • The right colour enhances creativity – a room this colour can produce twice as many brainstorming results.
  • Being slightly sensorially distracted stimulates creativity – that’s why we often have eureka moments while in the shower or brushing our teeth.



Using sound and scent to improve productivity in the workplace


  • The type of soundscape, tempo, musical key, volume, etc. can enhance concentration and productivity while performing cognitive tasks.
  • Scent can increase alertness and decrease frustration, anxiety and fatigue.
  • Certain colours facilitate higher focus and task accuracy.


So the next time you’re working in the office - maybe that's right now – take a pause and consciously look, listen, smell, touch and think about how each element is affecting you.

And think how we can make the environment just a little bit better and improve our productivity in the workplace. It's time for us all to come to our senses.

If a multisensorially designed workspace has peaked your interest and you’d like to know more, please get in touch with us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk.

4th January 2019

The Multisensory Diet: Tips For Eating Well

Whether you gave up on New Year resolutions in the first week or you’re still sticking to those ‘eat less sugar’ or ‘exercise more’ items on your list, our multisensory diet tips for eating well might offer the helping hand or motivation-boost you’ve been waiting for.

Many of us may have started the new year keen to get in shape, increase our intake of nutritious foods and/or eliminate those post-dinner sugar binges. Many of us also probably know how difficult it to stick to these healthy habits when the days are dark and evenings are cold. Indulgent, energy-dense hot meals and sugary treats never seemed so tempting!

However, did you know you can manipulate your environment, the containers you eat from and way you consume your food to nudge you down a healthier, more satisfying foodie path? Introducing the multisensory diet…

Using scientific research as a framework – a practice behind all of the work done here at Condiment Junkie – we’ve developed a handful of multisensory tips for eating well, feeling fuller, enjoying smaller portions and battling those urges to order unhealthy dishes when you go out to eat.

Brighten up your environment

We’ll start our multisensory tips for eating well in the home…

Research shows that bright lighting enhances mental alertness and cognitive performance compared to dim lighting. With enhanced cognitive processing comes a general preference for healthier food options over unhealthy ones.

Eating in a bright environment is one of our multisensory tips for eating well

When restaurant patrons ordered their food in a brightly lit room, they were much more likely to pick healthy dishes and report higher mental alertness compared to consumers who ordered in a darker room (Biswas et al., 2017)

Try brightening up your kitchen with some floor lamps and strong bulbs to encourage healthier meal choices at home. Also, opt for the nicely lit restaurant over the dim one next time you’re deciding where to eat on the high street and see whether your preference for healthier dishes changes.

Eat from heavier containers

Eat from heavier bowls to feel fullerDid you know that the weight of your cereal bowl or dining plate could influence how full you expect to feel after eating from it?

A study by Piqueras-Fiszman and Spence (2012) found that consumers expected yoghurt from a bowl with a hidden 75g weight attached would make them feel significantly more satiated than yoghurt from a visually identical but lighter bowl.

Consumers also thought yoghurt from the heavier bowl tasted denser, suggesting that container weight could also affect how the actual food is perceived.

Follow this multisensory diet tip next time you’re making a bowl of porridge or plating up some pasta by opting for a heavier dish and you might find yourself feeling fuller quicker.

Smaller containers help prevent overeating

You’ve probably heard it before – the bigger the container of food, the more you’re likely to eat – and research has shown this isn’t just for things that taste good.

In 2005, Wansink and Kim found that consumers still ate more stale, unpalatable popcorn from a large container than a smaller one, despite not really liking the taste.

As expected, participants also ate around 45% more fresh, tasty popcorn from a larger box than a medium-sized one.

Smaller containers prevent overeating

Next time you’re at the cinema or pouring a bowl of sweets to enjoy in front of the TV, opt for a smaller container to avoid overeating.

Alternatively, rope your whole family into the multisensory diet by having the kids serve themselves healthy fruits and veg from larger dishes when you’re sat down for a family meal. You might find they eat more than usual!

Experiment with some multisensory imagination

Our multisensory tips for eating well aren't just reserved for food containers and lighting – get creative and refine your imagination skills with this next trick.

Researchers have demonstrated that simply envisioning what it would be like to consume delicious unhealthy food leads people to pick smaller portions over larger ones.

Using multisensory imagination is one of our top tips for eating wellParticipants who focused on the sensory enjoyment involved in eating a dessert – for example, the smell of it, the sound it makes when they bite into it, the texture of it in their mouth – led them to choose smaller portions of chocolate cake (Cornil & Chandon, 2016). This was in comparison to people who simply viewed images of desserts (the control group).

The researchers also found that consumers who engaged in this ‘multisensory imagery’ exercise expected as much enjoyment from the smaller portions as the control group did with larger portions.

So, when you’re feeling tempted by that gooey slice of cake sitting on the counter, take a moment to imagine the multisensory pleasure you’ll get from eating it. You might find you feel satisfied with a smaller portion as a result.

Food packaging – transparent or opaque?

Transparent food packaging does two things – it helps make the contents inside more salient (i.e. we pay more attention to it) and also helps us monitor how much we’ve eaten.

Research shows that transparent packaging can have different effects on different types of food. When food is visually appealing and small, like Fruit Loop cereals or M&M chocolate candies, eating them out of a transparent bag actually encourages consumption (Deng & Srinivasan, 2013).

Packaging transparency depends on the type of foodBecause they’re small, they don’t pose much of a threat to our self-control; it’s hard to overeat, so we give in to the temptation. The clear packaging attracts our attention to the pretty-coloured small snacks inside and leads us to continue eating them under the pretext of “just one more”.

Conversely, when eating large, visually appealing foods out of transparent packages, we’re able to monitor our consumption more easily. These large foods pose a threat to our self-control because just one or two could lead us to overeat.

The aforementioned study found that participants who were given large, attractive foods in transparent bags ate 28% less than those who were given the foods in opaque bags.

During your next trip to the supermarket for snacks, keep our multisensory tips for eating well in mind and be conscious about the type of packaging food comes in. Depending on the type, consider whether transparent or opaque bags will help deter one of those “oops, I’ve eaten the whole pack!” moments.

Multisensory tips for eating well - a summary

Hopefully we’ve managed to demonstrate how adopting these multisensory diet tips could help you feel fuller, eat less and favour healthy options over unhealthy ones.

Focus on the sensory pleasure involved in consuming your favourite treats before you start nibbling and you might find you’re satisfied with a smaller amount.

Whether you’re settling down with some sugary snacks in front of the TV or enjoying some popcorn at the cinema, stick to smaller containers to prevent the risk of overeating.

If you insist on eating straight from the packet, take note of its design – if the food is small and attractive, opt for an opaque package. If it’s big and appealing, like a gooey chocolate cookie, make sure the package is transparent so you can monitor how much you eat more easily.

Finally, to promote healthier choices at home, keep your kitchen and dining area well-lit and serve healthy foods out of bigger bowls to encourage consumption.

Are you feeling inspired by the multisensory diet and want your brand to benefit from the power of a multisensory design approach? Contact us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk.

31st December 2018

Top 6 Experiential Marketing Brand Events from 2018

With the turn of the new year, it is time for us to reflect on our favourite experiential marketing brand events of 2018. Most of us have seen, visited or experienced an experiential brand event, how did you feel afterwards? The best brand events will leave you feeling emotionally connected, subtly educated and more inclined to shop with the company in the future. The less successful brand events can often have that ‘Instagrammable moment’, but fall short on creating a genuine deeper bond with the customer. The missing ingredient? Scientific research shows that when every sense works together, in line with product and brand, people will pay more, engage more and feel more.

  1. Anya Hindmarch, Chubby Cloud

We kick off our list of our favourite experiential brand events with Anya Hindmarch’s London Fashion Week pop up “Chubby Cloud”. Located in Whitehall’s Banqueting House, visitors were invited to lie and sink into a huge white cloud beneath Rubens’ magnificent painted ceiling. The experiential installation was inspired by Hindmarch’s cloud motif from her Autumn/Winter 2018 Chubby collection. The three day event on the world’s largest bean bag also included meditation, bedtime stories by guest speakers, artists, meditation and live music.

Anya Hindmarch commented, “…inspired by our Chubby Collection, the world’s biggest beanbag will (quite literally) immerse people in our brand whilst listening to and experiencing things that we love.” Read more here..

  1. Heineken, Special Edition: Wild Lager Discovery

Heineken embarked on a special edition craft beer experience which communicated the three different ‘wild yeast’ locations. Aptly named, ‘Wild Lager Discovery’, Heineken’s touring bar and taste experience, was fully immersive and engaged all the senses. Made of two containers, one opened up to create a walk-in bar serving the three Wild Lagers and the other took 12 people at a time on a three course immersive tasting. Each beer takes you on a journey which highlights individual flavours in each beer through the use of projections, canapés, aroma and ingredients to touch and smell. They premiered in Amsterdam, then Bilbao and Madrid with more to follow this year making them #2 on our top experiential marketing brand events of 2018 list.

 You just brought the experience to the next level"

"That thing with the moss and the mist/smoke is just amazing"

  1. The Flipside, Selfridges

Located in The Old Selfridges Hotel, The Flipside was described as a ‘multisensory exhibition’ where one could experience ‘altered states of luxury’.  Visitors found themselves in a mirrored maze of high gloss ball flooring, surrounded by pieces created by Louis Vuitton, Google, Loewe, Thom Browne and Gareth Pugh. As you journey through The Flipside in the raw concrete building, you find yourself in a dark room full of aromas where you can choose ingredients to turn into a cocktail. Once you have walked through the various spaces filled with art and installations, you reach a circular tunnel where you are invited to stand still and think (and listen to any whispers from other visitors).

“Luxury is about roughness instead of perfection. Luxury is about the controlled and uncontrolled. To me, luxury is the difference between recorded and live music” Fashion Designer, Yang Li.

 “An incredible one-of a kind space created by Selfridges.”

  1. The Singleton Experience, Hong Kong

The Singleton of Glen Ord is one of the oldest whisky distilleries in Scotland, established circa 1838. In 2018, The Singleton followed on from their hugely successful event in Taiwan with 'a feast for the senses' in Hong Kong. The Singleton House in Taiwan saw more than 100,00 visitors pass through during its six month lifespan and was highly influential. The immersive customer journey took visitors through the space where their senses were titillated, bringing out the warm and natural essence of The Singleton. Everything reflected The Singleton, from the shape, materials, textures, colours, sound and bespoke scent. Inside the sensory booth, guests were immersed in a 360º 4k visual world, surrounded by sounds and guided through flavours specifically designed to highlight the complex character traits of the whiskey.

The ultimate sensorial experience. Poetically beautiful…” Claudia Lin, Taiwanese celebrity talk show host

  1. Google, Curiosity Rooms

To promote the release of their new Pixel 3, Google opened a life-size curiosity cabinet in Piccadilly Circus which was aimed at engaging ‘experience-savvy’ Londoners. Instead of telling visitors about the new features, Google decided to let the public experience them in a series of ‘Curiosity Rooms’. Spanning 3 storeys, the Wes Anderson style experience ran for over 5 weeks and included talk from celebrity speakers, and experts in fashion, food and music. Some of our favourite rooms include The Laundrette, which consisted of enormous pink washing machines which, when you hover with the Google Pixel 3, tell you what is inside and recommend similar items! Another great feature of the phone is the Night Sight mode which is used in The Grotto, revealing the abilities to take a photo in a dark room. Better yet, tickets were free with a recommended donation to the charity Crisis.

Top 6 Experiential Marketing Brand Events 2018 google curiosity - Gomez de Villaboa

Image: Gomez de Villaboa

  1. Hunter, New York

And number 6 on our list of favourite pop-ups of 2018 is Hunter's greenhouse. Hunter took over Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station with this nifty four day pop-up. One of our favourites for its simplicity and efficacy. Designed to reflect their Scottish roots, the glass-roofed greenhouse was filled with atmospheric mist, the sound of rain and moss on the floor. Visitors were invited to wade through the mist and touch the iconic pieces in their intended environment. Without saying a word, the visitor was told everything they needed to know about the brand.

'Combining our pioneering Scottish heritage with a contemporary and playful approach to rainwear, we have built an immersive environment for the customer that we hope will transport them back to our roots,' says Alasdhair Willis, Creative Director at Hunter.

Want to know more about the benefits of a multisensory design approach? Contact us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk

1st November 2018

Sensory Prescriptions

You open the key-card controlled door and enter the room. As you do, the space is bathed in a warm pink glow. The subtle, but sweet smell of coconut touches your nose. Whilst the sound of waves gently lapping a tropical beach caress your ears as you gaze at the sun slipping beyond the horizon….

No, you haven't just arrived at a luxury beach resort.

You’ve just experienced a personalised ‘sensory prescription’ on admission to hospital.

Sensory Prescriptions Hotel

The idea that our sensory environment can have a huge influence over our mood, emotions and even physiology is nothing new.

The Ancient Egyptians used to channel the sun’s energy in the form of prismed light, the full spectrum, into special healing chambers for the sick.

The Ancient Greeks built temples (Asclepeions) that featured carefully controlled spaces conducive to healing. They were built in serene locations amidst beautiful scenery, not unlike modern spas. The spaces focused on music, art, the sound of running water from fountains and pools, and the burning of different spices and aromatics.

And during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale began treating the wounded for the first time with the use of essential oils. She often used lavender, believing that the aroma had soothing and relaxing qualities.

Sensory Prescriptions MRI scan

We wanted to explore this use of multisensory design in healthcare further, so we teamed up with our friends in the radiology department at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. They are not alone in facing some challenges with MRI scans.

Patients get extremely anxious before a scan, and the closely confined and claustrophobic environment inside the scanner compounds matters further. To the point that many patients become very restless and therefore move around, compromising the scan and requiring the procedure to be started all over again.

These repeat scans do nothing to improve patient experience and satisfaction. And they cost hospitals all over the world huge sums of money and vastly increase patient waiting times.

So we set about designing a multisensory solution by creating an aroma and soundscape for the experience, all rooted in cognitive neuroscience and behavioural research.

The results were incredibly insightful.

Levels of patient anxiety, feelings of claustrophobia and number of repeat scans were significantly reduced. General patient satisfaction improved by over 30%.

We’re now looking into follow up studies and interested in collaborating on more research in different fields of healthcare. With such exciting potential benefits, surely sensory prescriptions are something that need to be taken more seriously.

Feeling intrigued and want your brand to benefit from the power of a multisensory design approach? Contact us at listen@condimentjunkie.co.uk

20th June 2018

Sugar Rush: Why Young People Prefer Sweet Scents

We can't help getting a sugar rush whenever we enter a Lush storeWith shelves full of scented bubble bars and bath bombs, speakers blaring energetic pop music, fresh-faced sales assistants holding products up to customers’ noses and a cocktail of sugar rush-inducing aromas wafting out onto the pavement, a visit to one of Lush’s vibrant stores is an experience in its own right.

Opening their first brick-and-mortar store in 1996, Lush have built a reputation as one of the world’s most renowned creators of ethical, handmade, vegetarian cosmetic products – and for having the smelliest shops.

The Lush experience – sensory overload or clever marketing?

Your nose often knows there’s a Lush nearby before your eyes do. Their enormous range of aromatic products and frequent demonstrations by staff guarantee a sugar rush for your nostrils whenever you enter the vicinity.

Like a fragrant flower dipped in syrup, the smells streaming through the doorways of Lush’s shops are intense, feminine and sickly sweet. For some, this distinct aroma is the lasso that tugs them into the shop and entices money from their wallet. For others, one whiff is enough to make them cross to the other side of the road. Even Lush’s co-founder, Mark Constantine, admits the smell “is Marmite…people either love it or hate it.”

While the company doesn’t specify a target audience, there’s little doubt its duo-chromatic wooden store design, emoji-shaped bath bombs and witty taglines (“We were all born naked and the rest is swag”, for example) particularly appeal to the younger generations. The sugary ‘scent bubble’ around every store is just another tasty lure for kids, teens and young adults with a sweet tooth.

Changing tastes

It’s well known that with age comes the development of a more ‘sophisticated’ palate, be that our food or scent preferences. Gone are the days when we could eat three Cadbury Crème Eggs in a row and relish the inevitable sugar rush that came afterwards. As thirty- or forty-somethings, the thought of just one of those sickly Easter snacks is enough to make our stomachs turn.

At what point did our propensity to pick sweet scents and flavours change?

Young people prefer sugar rush-inducing scents

Science tells us there are definitive differences between the preferences of young people and adults. A review of 474 articles by Hoffman et al. (2016) revealed children and adolescents show a higher preference for sweet flavours and odours compared to adults. These include cherry, candy, strawberry, orange and apple – popular ingredients found in many adolescent-marketed perfumes and scented cosmetic products.

Herz’s (2003) study of more than a hundred women of varying ages revealed that teens show a strong preference for scents in the categories ‘sweet foods’ and ‘baked goods’. In contrast, 78% of women in their 20s, and around half of those in their 40s, 50s and 60s, reported flowers as their favourite smell.

While research into the effect of age on odour preferences prevails, there is mounting evidence to suggest declines in olfactory function might have something to do with it.

It’s all in the nose

As we add candles to our birthday cakes, the cells in our noses undergo some changes. Our olfactory cells – a patch of nerves found high up in the nose that connect directly to the brain – regenerate continuously throughout our life. It’s believed that, with age, this regeneration process diminishes and we’re left with reduced olfactory function. Around 25% of those aged 50 years or over were shown to have an impaired sense of smell.

Other research suggests changes in our ability to sniff out odours could be the result of certain genes switching on and off (ones which control specific olfactory receptors) at different points across our lifetime.

Why do young people prefer sweeter-smelling scents?

Learning to love

Okay, so we know our sense of smell gets worse over time but what about those sickly-sweet fragrances in particular? Why are teenagers happy to douse themselves in something that smells like it belongs in a vending machine, whereas older adults tend to reach for something muskier, fresher and sometimes a little spicy?

It could, in part, be down to the associations we form with certain scents.

According to Koster (2002), there are no innate preferences in olfaction – we learn to like (or dislike) particular smells. Things are a little different for our taste buds; research shows we have an inborn aversion to bitter tastes and a preference for sweet ones.

With regard to odours, babies essentially start with a blank slate. As they age and experience the world, they form cognitive links between the aromas they come across and emotions they feel at the time. Herz’s (2006) example of the ‘hospital smell’ is a great one – this infamous aroma is often disliked because of the negative associations we have to hospitals. In contrast, vanilla often has positive associations related to childhood memories, such as the pleasant sugar rush we get after an ice cream on holiday.

Vanilla scent can conjure up associated happy memories

Speaking to InStyle about why kids and teens have a soft spot for sweet things, Mark Knitowski, Senior Vice President of Product Innovations at Victoria’s Secret, explains “those sweet, sugary notes represent things they can relate to whether a place, time, or something they may enjoy eating,”.

More than a decade of formal education and countless dramatic news articles have taught adults that sugar is the enemy. We’ll have the occasional pain au chocolat for breakfast or sticky toffee pudding for dessert but generally, many of us try to limit the stuff. As we strengthen the negative associations between sweet foods and their corresponding aromas with an unhealthier lifestyle, it’s not surprising that our preferences for them tend to diminish.

Sugar rush scents – a roundup

It comes as little shock that teens list sweet, often food-related scents as their favourite more often than adults. Generally, whether it’s the result of varying olfactory function, genetics or the existence of positive associations, young people prefer sweet scents and companies with adolescent-targeted products or services would be wise to take advantage of this.

The ever-expanding world of multisensory retail has seen brick-and-mortar businesses capitalise on young peoples’ preference for sweet-as-pie scents, Lush being a great example of this.

While its intense-smelling stores may act as a deterrent for older generations, there’s little doubt the memorable sensory experience that customers are confronted with every time they enter one of Lush’s establishments has contributed, at least in part, to the company’s massive success amongst young people in particular.

If our sugar-filled blog has left you feeling hungry for more information about how you could incorporate multisensory elements like aromas into your business, why not get in touch with us?




Intrigued? If you’d like to find out more about what we do and how we can work with you, please drop us an email or call us.

+44 (0) 203 6270 621
10 Marshalsea Road, London, SE1 1HL

Intrigued? If you’d like to find out more about what we do and how we can work with you, please drop us an email or call us.

+44 (0) 203 6270 621
10 Marshalsea Road, London, SE1 1HL

Intrigued? If you’d like to find out more about what we do and how we can work with you, please drop us an email or call us.

+44 (0) 203 6270 621
10 Marshalsea Road, London, SE1 1HL

Intrigued? If you’d like to find out more about what we do and how we can work with you, please drop us an email or call us.

+44 (0) 203 6270 621
10 Marshalsea Road, London, SE1 1HL