New water bottle, air up, launches in the UK that makes you think you’re drinking flavour, but it’s pure aqua

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What is retronasal smell?

Studies have shown that up to 80% of the flavour we perceive comes from smell, not taste, which is why the smell of food is so linked to appetite and why people hold their nose when they eat or drink something unpleasant. When we eat or drink, flavour filled air rises up to our nose and takes our senses beyond the five basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.

So how does air up work?

Air up harnesses this clever bit of science by infusing flavoured air into every sip of water from the bottle. One of 14 different flavours will be added in bubbles every time you drink and it is this that will give your 100% pure water its flavour. Each pod contains natural flavourings and scents that infuse with ambient air to be added to the pure water, these flavours range from Lime and Orange-Passionfruit to Cola and Iced Coffee with ten others in between.

Who came up with this amazing idea?

The first prototype for air up was developed by Lena Jüngst and Tim Jäger in 2016 and spent three years in development, including a Master’s thesis on aromas, to combine innovative design and the neuroscience behind the idea and turn it into a real product. Since then, air up has successfully launched in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands, with more than half a million customers already. Now Lena and the team are bringing this innovative way to drink water to the UK.

Where can I buy one?

Air up’s reusable water bottles and fully recyclable flavour pods are available from their website. The Starter Set, including one bottle and two scent pods, is priced at £29.95 to £34.95 depending on the colour of the bottle. Each additional pack of three pods (flavouring a minimum of 15 litres of water) then costs between £5.95 to £8.95, depending on the flavour.

Lena Jüngst, co-founder of air up, comments:

“Air up is a new and fascinating way to taste. What I love most about our product, as a designer, is that it shows that a more healthy and sustainable lifestyle can still be fun and appealing. For me that is a very promising sign for our future, and something that we have worked hard to achieve.

Personally, I am really excited to make the step into the UK with air up, I have relatives here and have always seen it as one of the most welcoming places in Europe to innovation. We have had a great reception from our customers so far and I can’t wait to see our water bottles being used in the UK!”

Industry Context

The UK soft drinks market is worth over £18 billion and is dominated by sugar filled fizzy drinks and “diet” versions using artificial flavours and sweeteners. Up until now there has been no credible alternative for those looking for a more interesting way to drink water. This is what air up is aiming to change; their water bottles work through retronasal smell to give a great tasting drink without any additives or changes to your water.

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