sensory Marketing

The role of sensory marketing in food marketing

Today, I want to talk about sensory marketing, which focuses on engaging the five senses. It has emerged as a powerful strategy to make a lasting impression on consumers and build brand loyalty.

In this article, we’ll dive into the concept of sensory marketing, its origins, and how to use it for successful food marketing. I’ll also provide real-world examples of brands that have effectively leveraged sensory marketing.

So, what is Sensory Marketing?

Sensory marketing is a marketing approach that targets the consumer’s five senses – sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound – to create a memorable and emotionally engaging experience.

By appealing to the senses, sensory marketing aims to influence consumer perceptions, preferences, and ultimately, their purchasing decisions.

Sensory Marketing goes beyond traditional marketing techniques, which primarily focus on visual and textual elements, to create a more immersive and impactful experience for the consumer.

Origins of Sensory Marketing

The concept of sensory marketing has its roots in psychology, where researchers have long studied the effects of sensory stimuli on human behaviour and decision-making.

Marketing professionals have been applying these findings to their strategies, recognizing the power of engaging the senses to evoke emotions and influence consumer behaviour.

In the food industry, sensory marketing has gained traction as a way to differentiate products in a crowded market and create lasting connections with consumers.

Using Sensory Marketing for Successful Food Marketing

To leverage sensory marketing effectively in the food industry, consider the following strategies that target each of the five senses:


Visual elements play a crucial role in food marketing, as consumers are often drawn to products with eye-catching packaging, colours, and designs. To maximize the impact of visual sensory marketing:

  1. Utilize appealing colours and graphics that not just represent your brand identity but also resonate with your target audience.
  2. Optimize packaging design to showcase your product in the most attractive way possible.
  3. Use high-quality images and videos in your marketing materials to highlight the appearance and texture of your food product.

Example: Frito-Lay’s Cheetos brand consistently uses bright orange packaging and playful graphics to grab the attention of consumers and evoke the fun, flavorful experience of eating Cheetos.

Frito Lays sensory marketing


The sense of smell is closely linked to taste and memory, making it a powerful tool for food marketers. To leverage scent in your marketing efforts:

  1. Ensure your product’s aroma is appealing and distinctive, setting it apart from competitors.
  2. Use scent marketing techniques, such as diffusing the aroma of your product in-store or at promotional events.
  3. Collaborate with retailers to position your product in areas where its aroma can be easily detected by consumers.

Example: Starbucks is known for its distinct coffee aroma in-store, which creates a welcoming environment and triggers cravings for their beverages.

Starbuck sensory marketing


Taste is the most critical sense in the food industry, as consumers ultimately make their purchasing decisions based on how much they enjoy the taste of a product. To capitalize on this:

  1. Offer free samples or tastings at retail locations, events, or through online promotions.
  2. Collaborate with influencers or chefs to create unique recipes featuring your product, showcasing its versatility and taste.
  3. Share customer testimonials that highlight the great taste of your product.

Example: Häagen-Dazs frequently offers in-store tastings and promotes unique flavour combinations to showcase the taste of their ice cream.

Hagen Dasz sensory marketing


The sense of touch can influence a consumer’s perception of a food product’s quality and value. Consider the following tactics:

  1. Utilize high-quality, tactile packaging materials that communicate a premium product experience.
  2. Encourage consumers to interact with your product, such as through hands-on cooking demonstrations or DIY meal kits.
  3. Highlight the texture of your product in marketing materials to convey a desirable mouthfeel or consistency.

Example: Lindt Chocolate uses gold foil wrapping and a smooth, melting texture to convey a luxurious, high-quality product experience.

Lindt chocolate


While often overlooked in food marketing, sound can create a multisensory experience that reinforces brand identity and enhances product appeal. To incorporate sound into your sensory marketing strategy:

  1. Develop a unique audio brand identity, such as a memorable jingle or signature sound, to enhance brand recognition.
  2. Use sound to evoke emotions associated with your product, such as the satisfying crunch of a chip or the fizz of a carbonated drink.
  3. Leverage audio marketing channels like podcasts, radio, or music streaming platforms to reach your target audience and communicate your brand message.

Example: Coca-Cola’s distinctive “pop and fizz” sound when opening a bottle or can is instantly recognizable and evokes the refreshing experience of drinking their beverages.

More real-World Examples of Sensory Marketing

Several food brands have successfully implemented sensory marketing strategies to create memorable experiences for consumers and drive sales:

  1. M&M’s: The candy brand M&M’s has used sensory marketing to create a strong brand identity, with their colorful packaging, distinctive shape, and “melts in your mouth, not in your hand” tagline. M&M’s World stores also feature a unique sensory experience, with vibrant displays and the aroma of chocolate filling the air.
  2. Kellogg’s: Kellogg’s cereals, such as Rice Krispies, leverage the sense of sound with their iconic “Snap, Crackle, Pop” slogan, which represents the sound the cereal makes when milk is added. This audio cue has become synonymous with the brand and enhances the overall eating experience.
  3. LUSH Cosmetics: While not a food brand, LUSH Cosmetics offers an excellent example of a comprehensive sensory marketing strategy. Their stores engage all five senses, with visually appealing displays, strong product scents, hands-on product demonstrations, and distinctive textures. This immersive experience has helped LUSH build a loyal customer base.


By incorporating sensory marketing into your food marketing strategy, you can create a memorable experience for consumers and differentiate your brand in a competitive market. Engaging all five senses can not only influence consumer preferences and purchasing decisions but also foster long-lasting emotional connections with your brand.

Learn more

Andreas Duess, food marketing expert
Andreas Duess, Food Marketing Expert

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