Fragrance sample ­today, fabric conditioner tomorrow

The product developers in Scent & Care are looking a little closer to home: into the consumer preferences of their own colleagues. Because everyone is a consumer.

What fragrance should your fabric softener have? Senior Evaluator Pia Franz at a sniff test in the atrium.

Once a week, sniffing takes place in Holzminden. Ten minutes, totally official, within working hours. 80 to 100 people become normal consumers, not just Symrise employees, and participate as such in sniff tests to rate fragrances created for new products. “These internal tests give us initial information about what consumers want and don’t want,” says Dr. Viola Bruschi, Sr. Research Manager Consumer & Market Insights at Scent & Care. “That is an important indication in the first stages of fragrance development.” The sniff test delivers quick results and the costs are low.

How does the test work? The perfumer creates a fragrance bouquet of a maximum of five scents. Five will be evaluated. The sixth fragrance is from a product already on the market and serves as a benchmark for comparison. The tester has to know what kind of product this fragrance is intended for – it could be a fabric softener or a toilet deodorizer. They judge the fragrance based on pleasure, intensity and profile. The more positively a tester reacts to a fragrance, the more likely it will get developed. “These tests are not only significant for the German market. They’re also generally a good indicator of successful fragrances and we are working on creating a platform that will make all test results available,” reports Judith Steiner, Research Manager Consumer & Market Insights.

We have been doing sniff tests for nine years. Annette Kollar has been taking part since the beginning. “It’s fun for me and I can train my sense of smell,” says the Library Assistant. She is one of 440 members of the SymPortal sniff test community. “Whoever wants to take part can join the community and get an invitation to the next test,” says Selina Rawisch, Consumer & Market Insights Contact for internal sniff test projects. Testers receive a Personal Care product for free after every five tests. “This motivates other colleagues to also take part in the test. They see that they can contribute to the product development process,” says Dr. Bruschi.

The tests are fun to do and train my sense of smell.

Annette Kollar, Libraryassistent Fra/CI

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