Lead author Professor Dipayan Biswas reveals: ‘Ambient scent can be a powerful tool to resist cravings for indulgent foods.’
‘In fact, subtle sensory stimuli like scents can be more effective in influencing children’s and adults’ food choices than restrictive policies.’
In the study, published in the Journal of Marketing Research, Professor Biswas and his team exposed participants to the smells of either healthy strawberries or apples or biscuits or pizza. It found that those who smelt the unhealthy options for less than 30 seconds were more likely to want them - but if they kept going for more than two minutes they stopped finding them desirable, and instead wanted the fruit.
But the professor warns that spending 120 seconds breathing in your favourite fast foods is a lot harder than you think, with previous research showing that just a whiff of certain foods is enough to make people indulge. But he insists that if you manage to make it through the two minutes of torment, the benefits will be huge and your ability to say no to junk food in the future will be greatly improved.
Now it’s believed the bizarre findings may lead to air freshener companies producing fast food-scented room sprays to reduce cravings and help your diet. After all, just last week we saw KFC release a Gravy Scented Candle ... does this mean Big Mac incense is on the way?! Watch this space!