Packaging Innovations for the Other Senses—Sound, Smell and Touch

May 3, 2018

Sight. Taste. Smell. Touch. Sound. The five human senses are defined as how we perceive stimuli from inside or outside the body. For years, sight—namely a package design with a distinct color, design or icon—and taste—the flavor of the product once the package was opened—were the two key senses retailers and brands focused on. But now some innovative companies are moving beyond these basics and making packaging that appeals to the other three senses.

Let’s take a look at how retailers are putting the other senses to work while enticing shoppers with a product offering.



Lavender, coffee or fresh cut grass—what smells best to you? Smell is the only sense with a direct pathway to the limbic system where creativity, emotion, hunger and impulses are processed. Recent scent marketing research also highlights that 75 percent of all emotions generated each day are due to smell, and because of this, we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell over something we see, hear or touch.

A wide range of products that are already infused with scent—toilet paper, hand wipes and detergents are just a few. But innovations beyond just the product are coming fast. Take corrugated cardboard box manufacturer, Belmont Packaging, who is bringing the outdoors inside. In an attempt to create memorable brand experiences, Belmont is launching cardboard boxes with a scent of freshly cut grass. The idea came from a sports shoe retailer who wanted its customers to remember the brand when buying running shoes and to encourage running outdoors. The innovative businesses worked together to create fresh new packaging for sports shoes.

The in-store experience is also gaining “smell” traction. “In Europe and the U.S., Lidl has positioned the bakery at the entrance of its newest stores, engulfing the shopper with the smell of fresh-baked goods as he or she enters. It also appeals to sight in that the displays are literally arranged as showcases of each item,” says Carl Jorgensen, Daymon Director of Thought Leadership.

On the flip side, there is also a trend toward packaging that is the opposite, or “smell-proof,” for items such as herbs and cannabis.



Packaging with a tactile quality might lead a shopper to purchase or grab something off the shelf. Texture, combined with color, can be a strong influence.

Touch and sustainability are taking packaging to an organic level for Leaf Republic, a company that utilizes compressed banana leafs for plating and packaging. Beer maker Heineken is has also gotten in on the tactile action, teaming with Bell Packaging Europe to create a “groovy” beer can that features horizontal grooved bands circling the entire can. Not only does the can attract attention on the shelf, the makers say it also helps beer lovers keep a firmer grip on chilled cans.



The crunchy bite of a chip or a pickle can delight the senses. On the flip side, the crinkle of a chip bag in a crowded room can irritate or embarrass. This latter scenario is increasingly being targeted by packaging innovations. For example, in 2016, ticketing app TodayTix launched a range of specially-designed theatre foods including ground popcorn, dehydrated fruit slices and an “anti-gas” grapefruit drink. The strategy was conceived to bring “silent snacking” to movie theatres. Similarly, after receiving backlash about a packaging redesign that consumers said was “just too loud,” Frito Lay reversed course on its eco-friendly bags for SunChips and reverted to quieter packaging. 

To learn more about packaging innovations offered by Daymon’s branding and package design team, contact Aimee Becker, Senior Vice President of Strategic Services, at