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Background - 25.03.2022 - 00:00

The longing for aroma

The German start-up AirUp produces aroma pads that make five liters of water taste like something. Handelsblatt journalist Melanie Raidl spoke with AirUp's co-founder and inventor, Lena Jüngst, during the START Summit in St.Gallen.

25 March 2022. Already as a student, Lena Jüngst was enthusiastic about neuroscience and product design. The conviction that people crave aromas ultimately turned her into an entrepreneur: something that smells good is difficult to resist. AirUp's pioneering technology made it possible to give water a taste just by smelling it, without sugar or additives.

Flavored drinks for Generation Z

The main target group is the young generation, in particular Generation Z, says founder Jüngst. They have grown up with the Internet and can choose from a million products and brands. For a successful product, therefore, the following applies: "First, stand out and attract attention; second, be desirable; and third – young people want to identify with the product, it doesn't have to be the cheapest or most functional by any means. It's the values that matter." In response to journalist Melanie Raidl's question as to whether environmentally unaware brands still have a place in the future at all, Jüngst replied that she hopes that they are not the brands of the future. Climate change and sustainability are topics that move people. Jüngst said that she would also like to see that inexpensive online stores rethink their business models, in the direction of responsible consumption. Instead of focusing solely on the user of the product, she is pursuing an approach that also takes into account the social and ecological impact of a product with the customer at the center.

Targeting different channels

Sustainability relates to the most diverse levels of the value chain  from raw material procurement to disposal. The basic idea of the product must therefore already lean in a sustainable direction. AirUp uses recyclable drinking bottles. The pads consist of purely natural flavors, such as fruits, plants or spices, and are recyclable. Transporting pre-filled bottles turns out to be much more costly, according to the young entrepreneur. To communicate the benefits of the product to interested customers, AirUp uses various social media channels at the same time, because each channel speaks its own language.

Asked where Jüngst gets her ideas from  from observations, from magazines or television. In the end, she says, creativity comes from putting all the ingredients together to create a product. The approach of "blue sky thinking" helps her, namely to let go and take off to look at a problem and solutions from different perspectives, "the golden nugget may be in there."

Image: Adobe Stock / vizaphoto

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