New sensations

Consumers are no longer just looking for enhanced sensorial experiences, they desire completely new sensory journeys. Having a customer base that is increasingly culturally open and willing to experiment, gives brands license to cross new frontiers when it comes to flavour, scent, format and experience.

How is this sub-trend evolving?

How it was

Products that facilitate new sensory journeys
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How it is

Products that give enhanced sensory experience on multiple fronts

How it will be

New sensations are not just for special occasions but woven into everyday eating as people look to broaden their palettes through sensory exploration

In-market examples from around the world

What: A unique culinary experience in an immersive temporary pop-up. Guests roam a gallery that engages all the senses, with aroma pumps wafting the scents of food cooking through the air and projection mapping creates lifelike virtual dishes before their eyes. As groups of guests finish their tour, they’re presented with the real-life, gourmet dishes featured in the gallery to enjoy and share as they discuss the experience with their partners.
Why: Lives in Japan are often busy and solitary, with people often relying on spectacles to bring them together with friends and create conversation pieces for getting to know one another. This immersive popup helps people disengage from their heads and re-engage with their senses, and other people. The immersion in this case is allowing people, through the gallery-like tour, to ‘experience’ food virtually by augmenting certain parts of the eating experiences across the senses before sitting down to actually eat
What: The Woolworths Summer Sensorium offers fans the opportunity to see, touch, hear, smell and taste Woolworths’ fresh seasonal produce and immerse themselves in an environment which also showcased the local farmers that partner with Woolworths. At the event, housed in a geodesic dome, consumers can enjoy 3 summer-inspired dishes inspired by Woolworths’ Fresh magazine.
Why: The multi-sensory experience is highly visual and immersive projections take those inside on a journey of paddock to plate. This innovation follows in the wake of many recent multi-sensory campaigns, launched by major food and drink brands.
What: To draw attention to its natural ingredient list and create an experience that appeals to all the senses, Hoegaarden launched a literal pop-up beer garden that floats in the canals of London. To enhance the experience consumers can enjoy unique sounds Hoegaarden created in collaboration with ‘Sound and Meaning’ and Oxford Universities.
Why: The Floating Garden is an experience that draws fans of the beer into the essence of the product by showcasing the natural ingredients that make it distinct in an overcrowded market. The brand aims to ‘take immersion to the next level’.
What: ZipBob social dining platform in Seoul that connects strangers with similar interests looking to share a meal, and directs them to a surprise venue/location
Why: Interest in experiences and moments that feel ‘serendipitous’ is at an all-time high, given the highly tracked and tailored consumer context of today.
What: In Japan there is a new ‘choi-tashi’ trend of adding unusual ingredients to transform taste and texture – Japanese KFC has started offering side options like wasabi soy, yoghurt, marmalade and even vanilla ice cream.
Why: As people look for more unexpected sensations, more and more brands are introducing interesting and surprising new textures and flavours to existing products.
What: The Oscar Mayer Company in the US has created an alarm clock add-on for the iPhone, which releases a bacon ‘noises’ and smells!
Why: Wake up and smell the bacon promises to be a success as more and more products are marketed in multisensory ways, from packaging to in-store activation – with a high novelty factor being the main draw.
What: DNA is the world’s only alcoholic spring water, combining sparkling spring water, natural fruit flavour and alcohol.
Why: To the taste, there’s not a trace of alcohol but beware: the alcoholic content is five percent. As DNA expands across US, Japan  and UK clubs, bars, restaurants and major grocery stores, consumers are responding well to this unusual sensation.