NYC Grocery Store Pipes in Artificial Food Smells

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When you walk into one of the Net Cost supermarkets in Brooklyn, N.Y., you’ll be greeted by hints of chocolate and grapefruit and rosemary focaccia. And while the store actually sells those products, the smells you’ll smell are fake.

Fake in the sense that the artificial aromas are being piped in by five scent machines that are strategically located around the store. Chocolate scents near the candy. Fruit smells in the produce aisle. Wet cat food along the pet supply section. (Ok, I made that last one up.)

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The scents are designed to make customers hungrier and thereby get them to buy more. Back in the old days, stores gave out free samples, which of course allows you to actually taste the product you might buy.

But the scents appear to be working. Sales in the produce section of the Brooklyn grocery are up 7 percent, according to CBS News. Each machine costs $99 a month, but that’s far less than what it costs ScentAir, the company behind the scents, to manufacture a smell. (That would be about $5,000.)

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While we can’t deny that people may enjoy their shopping experience at Net Cost more than they would elsewhere, they’re also being manipulated into buying more. So next time you’re at a grocery store, just remember to let your wallet guide your purchases – not your nose.

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