Many supermarkets include bakeries. You can usually find them in the entrance area. This is practical, as two shopping locations are combined and no extra journeys are necessary. But the bakeries also serve another purpose. They are a trick to stimulate customers’ appetite and thus their desire to buy.

It has now been scientifically proven that smells can have a sales-promoting effect. The sweet smell of freshly baked food is part of it. Establishing the bakery at the entrance to the supermarket and letting customers first walk through a cloud of pleasant smells before they actually start shopping is nothing more than clever neuromarketing.

People perceive the world through their senses. Data such as appearance, feel, taste and even smell are stored. A scent is able to trigger associations and bring the past back to life. This is how Marcel Proust once described such an effect in his world bestseller “In Search of Lost Time”. The smell of the Madeleine pastry inevitably brought back memories of childhood in the protagonist.

Such positive associations between smell and life history boost sales. This has now been proven by studies. For example, Gemma Calvert, professor of neuromarketing, found that a smell affects similar regions of the brain as seeing the product. Smelling alone creates an image of what is being smelled in the mind’s eye.

When it comes to money, nothing is left to chance in the game of scent associations. To ensure that the smell is as intense as possible and reaches all noses, stores often help with artificial scents.

Advertising psychologist Franz Liebel told “Business Insider” that additives were also used in these supermarket bakeries. These are therefore baked. “In the US, for example, bread is often artificially toasted to enhance the smell of fresh food,” explains Liebel.

In addition to the smell, the bakeries do something else, says Liebel: The fresh goods are an eye-catcher and ensure that many shoppers unconsciously slow down and move more slowly through the store. This leads to more products being seen and purchased.

Sources: Bloomberg, Die Welt, Business Insider