“Scent marketing” is in vogue these days—smell is, after all, the “strongest and most primal of all our senses,” according to the Scent Marketing Association (yes, that exists).
But how to waft a heartwarming smell when you’re a company hawking drinks of a more chemically-scented variety? If you’re Pepsi you develop and patent an “aroma delivery system.”
As Beverage Daily reports, PepsiCo. received a patent earlier this year for a system by which gelatin capsules could be ruptured and broken at the moment a container is opened, “thereby releasing the aroma compound and causing a favorable aroma for the consumer.” The patent, filed in September 2011, proposes the capsules have a secondary wax or biopolymer protective coating that would prevent them from degrading during packaging and transport.
PepsiCo's patent gives two reasons why its system would be useful.
One, it’s not easy for scents to escape tiny holes: “The aroma of a product is often not adequately revealed when the consumer opens the container because the orifice through which a product is dispensed is small or a safety film is used...”
Two, the beverage usually smells like its packaging: “...it is often difficult to deliver adequate aroma to a headspace of a container that comes from the beverage itself, and not from the container.”
It’s hard to say whether we will be buying 12-packs of Pepsi that smell like our mom used to make any time soon. Companies often patent inventions that never make it into any actual products. But for health advocates who are trying to get people to drink more water and less sugary colas, the idea may be a bitter pill to swallow.