“The future of fragrance will be using scent to ‘biohack’ our brains and bodies to perform better,” says Joanne De Luca of Sputnik Futures, a company that specializes in anticipating consumer trends. For example, researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology revealed that the scent of coffee alone might help people perform analytical tasks better, suggesting a placebo-like effect of caffeine. Don’t be surprised if the pleasant aroma of coffee brewing permeates your workspace in the near future!
The Nue Co., a UK natural supplement company, has created the first anti-stress supplement that can be worn as a fragrance. Dubbed “Functional Fragrance,” the new scent is unisex and was developed using data insight and research into the connection between cognitive function and the olfactory system.
The research of scent’s impact on learning and cognition will flourish over the next few years. Already, studies of rosemary’s effect on cognition indicate that being exposed to the aroma helps people perform mental tasks faster and more accurately. And, a positive side effect is the feel-good factor of aromatherapy: The subjects’ moods improved with exposure to the rosemary aroma.
Forecasting the Future
- New vehicles feature a host of sensors and AI functions that enable auto manufacturers to interpret a driver’s mental/physical state. This has opened up the exploration of how scent could be used to minimize negative/dangerous driving behaviors, such as aggression (road rage) or sleepiness.
- Fragrances will also have a very functional use in future industrial applications: Equipment makers are exploring integrating “scent alarms” into equipment that is “out of sight” (perhaps underground, within walls, or in a control room)—a certain scent would be released to alert maintenance that service is required.
- Many spaces already use functional fragrances to make people feel a certain way (awake in a casino or predisposed to spend in a shop, for example). However, the future will likely bring more widespread use of fragrances in busy, urban environments, such as cities, accessing personal sensors and big data to identify stressed-out parts of the city and then deploying a calming scent.
This is an excerpt from the “Medi-Scent” trend in the 2019 Global Wellness Trends Report.