Simulating Taste With Smell

May 2021

Fledgling Munich company air up is making waves in the beverage sector with a flavored water that, strictly speaking, contains no taste at all. The start-up makes so-called scent pads that add natural aromas to water, convincing drinkers that they’re consuming fruits like strawberries or watermelon when actually all they’re taking in is H2O.

Air up is the first company to exploit retronasal smell in this fashion. Its motto is “Think New, Drink New.”

“We’re a unique novelty in the world, if I can use that grandiose phrase,” co-founder Lena Jüngst told Absatzwirtschaft magazine.

Jüngst and her fellow founder Tim Jäger came up with their business idea as design students and established the company in 2018. Within two years, they had 100 employees and were active in France, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherland as well as Germany. Their aim is to achieve EUR 40 million in revenue in 2021.

The air up starter set of two pads and a special water bottle retails for EUR 35 and is targeted at people who like the taste of flavored waters but don’t want any unnecessary calories. The company has attracted major backers, including Pepsico.

© air up