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Home Fragrance Innovates

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the October 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Bonofiglio noted the trickle-down phenomenon that pervaded the industry for years, in which fragrances were created and marketed for feminine and masculine colognes. “Over time, these fragrances are translated through cost-reductions and structure reformulation into fragrances for other product categories, from personal care to home care. This is where most home fragrances had their beginnings. During the past decade we have experienced a reversal of this phenomenon,” she said, calling it the “trickle-up effect.” Fragrance types, which have long enjoyed success in the home fragrance category, like vanilla, marshmallow, butter cream and crème brulée, have found their way into the fine fragrance arena. “These successful candle scents now form the basis of the gourmand category of colognes. They bring a rich warmth and playful touch to fine fragrances. We can expect to see these gourmand fine fragrance scents return to the home fragrance category as more sophisticated edible aromas with marmalade accords, confit notes, or a hint of chocolate ganache in the base note,” added Bonofiglio.

As the home care category has expanded, there has been a new call for fragrance performance. “The consumer wants to clean the air in a hurry,” said Bonofiglio, “hence, a new need has been created. The scent left in a room needs to be eliminated before a new one is introduced, so there is a need to ‘cleanse the palate.’ We used to call this odor counteraction, and the objective was to eliminate malodors. The goal today is far more refined, eliminating leftover scent in the air prior to inserting a new scent, so that the new home fragrance can be appreciated without any olfactive interference.”

Bonofiglio believes home fragrances are as trend-driven as all consumer products. “We can expect a global viewpoint, new eco-consciousness and corporate philanthropy to motivate fragrance choices and delivery systems. Terms such as recyclable, green, organic, carbon footprint, sustainability, wellness benefits and natural functionality will find their way into the home fragrance lexicon.”

In addition, an expectation of recycled or recyclable packaging, natural and organic bases, all natural and organic fragrances, labels defining the carbon footprint of the product, natural functionality and corporate charity support will impact the market. “New green scents will appear to subliminally inform the consumer that [the company is] aware of environmental issues. Exotic fruit notes will emerge to capture the imagination of the well-read, well-traveled consumer. Pairings of hot and cold notes and sweet and sour notes will expand as we head to the garden and investigate combinations found in India, Africa and the Caribbean for inspiration,” said Bonofiglio. Global influences will continue to be an infinite source of inspiration, and as long as ideas, raw material sources and creativity thrive, many fragrant delights will appear on the home fragrance horizon.

Perfumers’ Perspective

Changing the feel of a room, as well as changing an individual’s mood, are key drivers in home fragrance today, according to Shardona Daneshvari, International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF). “Home fragrance is an integrated element of everyday life. There is a self-indulgence aspect, when a fragrance reminds someone of a special treat or indulgence, albeit without the calories.”