The seminar, held at L’Association France-Amerique on September 9, focused on scientific and formulation issues such as the perception of fragrance and its effects on the physiology, while the second part focused on the creative process.
Like all cosmetic and fragrance products, the marketing of fragrances has taken the category more and more into the realms of lifestyle, to emphasize how such products can contribute to a greater sense of health and fulfillment.
Connecting the senses with past experiences
As part of her presentation ‘The meaning of scents for life', Laurence Fanuel, perfurmer for Takasago International, stressed how fragrances can enhance both psychological and physiological benefits, as well as underling cultural characteristics.
Fanuel explained how the senses are connected with life experience, and how there is often a positive connection to specific past experiences associated with certain fragrances.
Fanuel also pointed to her vision of the future for fragrance, which she sees as playing an increasingly important role in helping people to manage their daily lives given the development of urban life and the fact that people live increasingly closer to one another.
The vital role fragrance has on purchase decisions
The perfumer’s take on the industry was also reflected on by Allan McRitchie, former perfumer for household goods at Procter & Gamble, who stressed what an important part in the purchasing process the role of fragrance plays in a range of products.
In his presentation McRitchie used the example of the household name Savon de Marseille to explain how the consumer associates the smell of the product as representing the brand itself without thinking that the fragrance is actually a part of the formulation.
In the scientific part of the seminar, Professor Tim Jacob from the Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences gave a key presentation about the complex process performed by the olfactory bulb has on the perception of fragrance in the brain.
Professor Jacob outlined his plans to extend research on the perception of essential oil fragrances to other fragrances in an effort to determine how a full range of fragrances interact with the human senses, and ultimately how they are perceived.
Fragrance and allergens
Professor Thomas Diepgen from the University Hospital in Heidelberg talked about his research into fragrance allergen, and underlined a pilot from Eden Epidemiological researchers showing that only 0.65 per cent of the general population had an allergic reaction to fragrances.
The seminar was concluded by a panel debate that clued in on the ability to identify ‘happiness’ or other affects in the brain created by scents.
On this question Professor Thomas Hummel from the department of Otorhinolarngology at University of Dresden Medical School, turned to research work he has carried out that clearly suggests benefits in terms of mood from fragrances.