Model Malodors Save Time and Money

It’s true.  I smell stink…on purpose…and I do it often.  And what’s more, I am truly proud of the stink that I have had a hand/ nose in creating.  I have learned that not all stink is a good stink. 

While most people can’t understand why we even need to smell malodor, malodor is really important to some companies.  For example, creators of cat litter, air fresheners, garbage pail liners, are most interested in how their products cover malodor.  If they don’t test these products with real “stink,” how will they know if their products deliver?  But testing with real products is inherently complicated. How hot was the truck transporting your bananas which are critical to your garbage recipe?  Did your cattery have a food supply change and now your cat fecal matter smells more degraded than before?  Any number of slight changes can result in a huge impact on your malodor. 

This is where sensory malodor evaluators can step in.  We develop, with our clients, model or simulated malodors that closely mimic the stink they want to, um, de-stink (unstink?).  Let’s face it, not all sweaty feet smell the same – nor does every contaminated bathroom.  But we come up with something that consumers – yes, we test these with consumers for fidelity – can easily identify as “dirty socks/ feet” or “bathroom” odors.  From there, we test our clients’ products for efficacy against these undesirable afflictions. 

But let’s take it one step further (we can’t help ourselves).  Wouldn’t it be even easier if we could replicate this model malodor synthetically?  If done correctly (e.g. include functional groups of highest interest), synthetic malodor can be used to speed up the product development cycle (no more chopping onions…or waiting 48 hours for the stink to “ripen”).  Because of our ability to break down model malodor into the most basic of attributes, deducing what chemicals to include if often easier than creating the “real” model malodor. 

There are absolutely drawbacks & pitfalls to be considered (e.g. synthetic malodor is not biologically active), but if developed with the correct considerations, synthetic malodor can be a breath of fresh air (I wonder what that smells like?).

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