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The Behind-The-Scenes Marketing Tricks That Make Food Irresistible (Hint: You Can’t See It!)

There’s a somewhat insidious form of marketing that you may not be aware of that’s being used everyday in restaurants, hotels and retail stores. It’s not something obvious that you’ll see on their signs or advertising. They are using a powerful technique to quietly lure you in without overtly selling you anything – and the food industry is taking full advantage of this tactic. They are pulling out all the stops to tempt us with irresistible smells that are hard to resist. Whether you’re at the mall, the airport, your office break room, or walking at an amusement park…You are being manipulated by this very subtle technique…


We are being inundated with fake chemical scents designed to get us to buy!

The Hard Rock Café Hotel in Orlando pumps out artificial scents of sugar cookies and waffle cones that act as “aroma billboards” to draw people to their ice cream shop in the basement (increasing sales by 45%). The marketing company ScentAndrea attached chocolate artificially-scented strips to some vending machines in California, tripling Hershey’s sales. The Hershey’s store in Times Square uses artificial scent machines that blow the scent of chocolate into their store. Disney reportedly applies an artificial “grilled scent” to their frozen burgers to make them smell fresh, along with strategically placed scent machines in the bushes that disperse scents of cotton candy, popcorn, or caramel apples. According to the Scent Marketing Institute, when the smell of fresh baked bread was pumped into a grocery store, sales in the bakery department tripled. A grocery chain in New York (Net Cost) admittedly places scent machines that release scents of chocolate and baking bread to make customers hungry, and sales jumped.

Even subtle changes in operations can trick our noses and make a big impact on increasing food sales. For instance, Panera Bread recently moved its baking time to daytime hours so that customers smell the bread all day long and their New Haven, Connecticut location has a small “show oven” without a hood, so the smells vent into the restaurant. This is the same reason that Subway places their bread ovens up front in their restaurants, so that smell hits you when you walk in the door. Starbucks has an “aroma task force” to make sure their stores smell like coffee and not the cheese from their breakfast items.

Using scents to sell more products isn’t a new tactic by a long shot and is taken straight out of Monsanto’s playbook, as demonstrated by this vintage 1947 Monsanto ad: 

Monsanto Smell 1 

“The principle of chemical attraction also defines the path to hidden sales…Used for years to contribute sales appeal to foods, candies, perfumes and cosmetics… Yes – Smells Sell!  If you wish to know more about this proved sales strategy in your business, a contact with Monsanto may reward you with the right chemical answers”. 

Monsanto smells that sell-3 copy

Clearly, using scent as a tool is super effective, and this marketing technique shows no signs of slowing down. It’s probably just a matter of time before the chip aisle at the grocery store will artificially smell like Doritos – so it’s a good time to arm ourselves with this knowledge now. 

How “Scent Marketing” makes us want to eat something we shouldn’t…

Who hasn’t walked past a Cinnabon and could barely control the urge to buy one? I used to be guilty! I know that feeling all too well. It’s seriously hard to resist, but after I tell you what ingredients they use to make their treats you may find it easier next time. According to Adweek, food retailers realize that scents are very powerful because they can trigger emotions and motivations that are more “immediate and intense than those brought on by anything else, and it takes a while for our brains to rationalize why we want what our noses tell us”. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago explains, “Unlike other senses, smell skips the rational filter in the brain. The olfactory system is a pure emotional sense”. So all those happy childhood memories you may have about eating warm cinnamon rolls come flooding back every time that Cinnabon smell hits you, and this emotional connection entices you to buy. Even if logic tells you it’s unhealthy or that you aren’t hungry, your emotions are very powerful. 

Pro Tip: Plug your nose next time you walk near a Cinnabon! 🙂

This is what’s been called Cinnabon’s “greatest asset”. The President of Cinnabon, Kat Cole, agreed in a video interview that their aroma is all part of the “emotional experience” of Cinnabon, and that it can sway you into being “a little bit bad” to “treat” yourself on a whim. Here’s a few scent marketing tricks that Cinnabon uses to make it so hard to resist their treats:

  • Cinnabon franchisees are required to put their ovens near the front of its stores. When one Cinnabon location put their oven in the back of the restaurant, it hindered the smell and they suffered a “tremendous drop” in sales
  • Cinnamon rolls are baked at least every 30 minutes and they sometimes also heat additional sheets of brown sugar and cinnamon (without any rolls) just to keep the scent in the air. 
  • Cinnabon franchisees are told to buy “the weakest hood possible” within local laws for their ovens – this keeps more of the smell inside, just where they want it. According to one franchisee, “In a perfect world I plant something within the structure of the oven, or just above it, that would pull out that smell”.
  • Cinnabons are intentionally located in malls or airports, and only in closed indoor locations that allow the smells to linger and not get watered down by the outside air. 
  • They avoid competing smells by attempting to negotiate leases that allow for “normal food aromas”, in locations far from other scented establishments like Abercrombie & Fitch, and ideally on the ground floor near a stairwell that allows the scent to rise throughout the floors above. 

The ingredients are chemically designed to smell good too. 

After I received the complete list of ingredients in the Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Rolls, I immediately noticed that they use two ingredients that are used to artificially add “aroma” to the flavors in a product. The “heliotropin” used in their vanilla frosting is also used in perfume and is described as “delectable, like a billowy dessert you can’t resist”. They also use the aroma ingredient “citral” that mimics the flavor and scent of lemons. You won’t find any actual vanilla extract or lemon juice in their frosting, it’s all artificial. The smell of food greatly affects its taste, so aroma ingredients are usually added to make fake flavors taste more realistic. You can’t just make something taste like vanilla, it needs to smell like it too. Usually these aroma ingredients aren’t listed on the label, as they’re a component of the proprietary “artificial flavor” or “natural flavor” ingredients used. Interestingly, Cinnabon shared the ingredients used within their artificial flavors in the frosting. 


Why not just use real ingredients?

If real vanilla and lemons were used to flavor their frosting, the flavors and aroma would be natural just like when you cook at home – and it would taste a whole lot better too. The only problem is that it’s more expensive. Overall, the quality of ingredients used by Cinnabon are really poor and just goes to show that they are cutting corners when they choose ingredients, including some with blatant health hazards. They’ve already lured you in with irresistible smells – they’ve won you over before you know it. The actual taste and quality of ingredients used at this point are secondary. However, they could make some changes that would drastically improve their products. These are the biggies:

Trans Fat – Cinnabon uses the worst kind of fat in their Cinnamon Roll: partially hydrogenated oils. These oils are the primary source of artificial trans fat in the typical American diet, and have been shown to contribute to heart disease. In a huge move last year, the FDA made a preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is no longer “generally recognized as safe” –  but it’s still allowed in food until their determination is made final. The CDC says that cutting these artificial trans fats from the diet could prevent up to 20,000 heart attacks per year. In light of all this information, Cinnabon should remove these oils ASAP and use healthier fats instead such as coconut oil.

Yellow #5 – This artificial color requires a food warning label in Europe because it’s been shown to cause hyperactivity in children. It’s probably used to make their cinnamon roll look buttery, since real butter isn’t an ingredient. They should take a cue from Kraft and replace this with a safer color like beta-carotene – if it’s even necessary at all. 

Preservatives – The preservative potassium sorbate may cause DNA damage when it’s combined with ascorbic acid – another Cinnabon roll ingredient. The other preservative used, sodium benzoate, has been linked to possible DNA damage and hyperactivity in children. Cinnabon’s President says that “we’re baking our rolls fresh all day long…today’s consumer, they actually do want to indulge, but they want to know that there’s authenticity to their food…so people are willing to indulge if there are freshness cues in the operating model and in the product itself”. If their products are really fresh, why add these preservatives?

Dough Conditioners – L-cysteine is just a really gross ingredient that’s commonly derived from human hair (yes, you heard me right), and sometimes hog hair, duck feathers, cow horns, pig bristles, or synthetic sources. Even if it’s not dangerous to eat, I think we can all agree that we’d rather eat a Cinnabon without it. Following my petition last February, Subway removed azodicarbonamide from their bread and several other bakeries have followed suit and removed this unnecessary ingredient without many consumers even realizing it. This ingredient is banned in other countries across the globe, linked to health issues and isn’t necessary, so why does Cinnabon use it?

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – Although the corn industry denies this, sucrose (cane sugar) and HFCS are not processed by your body in the same way. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, unlike sugar there is no chemical bond between the fructose and glucose molecules in HFCS, so they bypass digestion and are more rapidly absorbed into your bloodstream:

“Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol) this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called “fatty liver” which affects 70 million people. The rapidly absorbed glucose triggers big spikes in insulin–our body’s major fat storage hormone. Both these features of HFCS lead to increased metabolic disturbances that drive increases in appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and more”. 

Don’t be tempted into eating these ingredients! It’s not worth your health.

Until Cinnabon makes these ingredient changes (and a few more), I’ll be plugging my nose when I walk by. It’s clear that restaurants know smells induce cravings, and this is just one of the many tricks they’re taking full advantage of. It’s been shown that “many overweight and obese people are resistant to a hormone called leptin, which creates a sense of fullness, making sugary, salty and high-fat foods difficult to refuse. All of those things play into buying more foods and buying more of the wrong types of foods… it can be really hard to resist”. This can really sabotage any weight loss goals and good intentions you have about eating healthy. I wanted to equip you with this knowledge so that it would be easier for you to spot when your nose is tricking you into buying an unhealthy treat. 

If you know someone who is tempted by these treats (aren’t we all?) – please share this post with them! The more we know the better we are off!



P.S. In my #1 bestselling book The Food Babe Way – I teach you even more ways you can break free from the hidden toxins in your food, lose weight, look years younger and get healthy in just 21 days. In my 2nd book, Feeding You Lies, I blow the lid off of the lies we’ve been fed about the food we eat – lies about its nutrient value, effects on our health, label information, and even the very science we base our food choices on. And, my first cookbook, Food Babe Kitchen, contains over 100 mouthwatering recipes to show you how delicious and simple it is to eat healthy, easy, real food. Available anywhere books are sold.

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153 responses to “The Behind-The-Scenes Marketing Tricks That Make Food Irresistible (Hint: You Can’t See It!)

  1. Restaurants and food courts have been doing this for years. Thank you for finally bringing to everyone’s attention. When you walk into a large restaurant, you should not smell like you walked into the kitchen. Part of the attraction or detraction to food is the smell or aroma. Good food does not need a wafting smell.

    1. I always comment on the sickly sweet smell in the Target parking lot. Someone goofed, it doesn’t make me want to shop or eat… at all!

      1. Exactly ! When I came here I couldn’t stand the artificial smells because I wasn’t used to them!

  2. When I was in college we used a popcorn machine for events that had a special product called flavacol (flavorcol, something like that) and it said right on the machine that adding that ingredient would increase sales. It was this really gooey yellow oil but it made that popcorn smell amazing, I would hardly ever eat it knowing that it was cooking in that junk.

    1. Cam, this is still being used. I worked in a hospital coffee shop and we used flavacol (sp) instead of butter. The ingredients list was like reading a pharma disclosure.

      1. Hi Lana, I worked at a hospital also and they have terrible food there. It is like they are creating future customers. I’d love to see FoodBabe do a piece on why hospitals sell junk food.

      2. I am so glad that this info and all the “stuff” big corporations use to make money off of us is getting exposed. Chemicals are everywhere. Rachel Carson tried to warn us in her book Silent Spring. I just hope we can get it together. Go to EWG and start switching out the bad stuff. I hate to even smell my neighbors damn laundry. It stinks!.

    2. Oh my God. It’s sounds like sci-fi….manipulating taste buds and deceiving people at the same time. No one should alter the food with a “chemical” without informing the public! Someone could’ve had a terrible allergic reaction. This should be illegal. Ew!

      1. You’re right John. The population of sensitive people is increasing and the Drs. don’t know what the hell to do about it. The Chemicalization of America is going to be our demise, and they act like terrorism is the biggest worst threat. Thank God for Vani Hari and all the information she is getting out there so we are wise to the insidious ways of Monsatan and it’s minions.

      1. I am a nurse and work with the post open heart patients and people that have had heart attacks and this is great information! Knowledge and how we use it makes a difference in our health and lives, thx!

      2. Lety. Would you eat the food the patients get? I didn’t have a choice, but was VERY concerned.

    1. Insane? Try looking at yourself in the mirror, sweetie. FoodBabe is revealing truths that you don’t seem to comprehend.

      1. jane, HATERS will always HATE. I am curious as to why you troll Vani’s site. As Jack Nicholson famously said, ‘The truth, you want the truth? You cannot handle the truth.’

    2. The previous message was for jane, NOT Gabby (sorry Gabby)
      jane, HATERS will always HATE. I am curious as to why you troll Vani’s site. As Jack Nicholson famously said, ‘The truth, you want the truth? You cannot handle the truth.’

      1. Yes, Karl, you are right about this “Jane” trolling. I’ve begun to notice this a lot. She likely works for Monsanto 🙂

    3. Jane, Do you Think before you speak?
      You can have All the crap food you want! If you’re not interested in healthy
      food please find another blog. On this one, people with your type of attitude
      are just a source of irritation and showcase stupidity and ignorance. If you’re willing
      to learn (I should underline that!) that’s a different story. However, in most cases
      where people are just plain rude, no matter what occupation they are in, education
      they’ve had, or walk of life they’re from……it’s not the case.
      Have a great day Jane. I do mean that.

    4. What’s insane about asking the companies we buy our food from to be honest about the ingredients and to not use ingredients that are unnecessary and unhealthy? Food Babe is onto something here and she makes a lot of sense.

      1. That’s what she has exposed, they list all the crap and people still buy never looking at the labels. Love this site. It’s all about the almighty dollar. To the food companies, they don’t care. Disgusts me hospitals and schools feed crap.

    5. Jane, your ignorant comment is ridiculous. You ask if she’s insane, yet you don’t elaborate. For all the good she’s doing and you ask that?

    6. ummmmm Did I miss something? What is the purpose of your comment? What is the relevance? Is there a question there? Are you confused?

    7. To Jane—Please explain your comment? These smell tactics have been used for decades. But they are more refined now. I thought the article Food Babe wrote was very good. The important thing here is the path the smells are leading you too in terms of all the unhealthy ingredients in what you consume. I suspect you may be crazy or crooked.

  3. It’s not just scents either. They will show a picture of a sandwich or pizza piled high with meat. When you order it, what you get looks nothing like the picture! It’s all a rip off gimmick!

    1. They are Professional Food Artist’s hired by companies. Hamburgers and other sandwiches for photographic purposes are put together with toothpicks so ingredients stay positioned perfectly for the photo.Of course you will never get a sandwich or burger that looks like the one on the Menu board..

  4. You are doing fantastic work.

    I hope that hospital food will make it onto your priority to do list soon.

    Thanks for all you do .


    1. We LOVE you, Vani Hari. What a “breath of fresh air.” Hahaha! Cinnabon and the like is like crack to me, despite my organic garden and superfood smoothies. I called Frito-Lay today and referenced the “Food Babe SunChip GMO information,” asking them to “refrain from using GMO ingredients.” I swear, the time is ripe and the Babe is hot. (I can’t believe I just wrote that! Likely the result of too many years watching too many politically correct people twist themselves into crullers to avoid calling out the crap…by name, by company, by product, by marketing trick, by PR machine and the automatons who deliver up disembodied drivel. These political machines act as if their own neighbors, friends, classmates, children, parents aren’t also on the receiving end of the mishegoss of peddling product that MAKES PEOPLE SICK. I’ve worked on the inside where “change” is only money, not a philosophical awakening. Go, Vani, Go!

    2. We LOVE you, Vani Hari. What a “breath of fresh air.” Hahaha! I called Frito-Lay today and referenced the “Food Babe SunChip GMO information,” asking them to “refrain from using GMO ingredients.” I swear, the time is ripe, and the Babe is hot. (I can’t believe I just wrote that! Likely the result of too many years watching too many politically correct people twist themselves into crullers to avoid calling out the crap…by name, by company, by product, by marketing trick, by PR machine and the automatons who deliver up disembodied drivel … political machines who behave as if their own neighbors, friends, classmates, children, and parents aren’t also on the receiving end of the mishegoss of peddling product that MAKES PEOPLE SICK. I’ve worked on the inside where “change” is only money, not a philosophical awakening. Go, Vani, Go!

  5. The same is true for Subway (I used to work there) and many other companies, I guess. I’ve even heard about grocery stores placing scent bottles in their produce areas. It’s ridiculous.
    By the way: you picked me as one of the lucky ones to review your book but I never got a copy and you didn’t reply to my follow-up mails. I’m disappointed to say the least. Just letting me know why would have been nice.

    1. Don’t you think she might receive hundreds of email a day? Its probably really hard to response each one

      1. Thank you for doubting my ability to figure out a popular blogger/author might receive more than one mail a day. I’m sure Vani gets dozens if not hundreds of them. However, you might be interested to hear Vani used a different mail address for sending information to us as the Food Babe Way Ambassadors. Also, she repeatedly encouraged us to get in touch again if we needed anything else and – specifically – definitely getting back to her if we didn’t receive our advance copy by a certain date. Maybe you’ll understand me a little better now.

  6. For once on my life I appreciate not having a sense of smell. Nasal polyps have been the bane of my existence for 20 years, so thank you for giving me a reason to appreciate them.

    1. Man, how can you be happy to not be able to smell? A good portion of your sense of taste comes from smell.

    2. How can you be happy to not be able to smell? A good portion of your sense of taste comes from your ability to smell.

      1. She didn’t say she was “happy” to not be able to smell . . . she was merely commenting that for “once” her life she had one reason to not be sad that she couldn’t smell. I saw it as a positive statement . . . . ahhh, finally something good for a change about not being able to smell. I don’t know anyone who would be “happy” not to smell.

    3. #CaddyB, nasal polyps can be caused by dairy — I know of 2 people for whom this was the case. If you want to check it out, you need to go off all dairy including butter for, say, a month or 2, then try to reintroduce it and notice if you have any reactions. Reactions may be very masked if you eat something regularly. Best wishes.

      1. Thanks, Bouncedancer. I’ve never been much of a dairy lover, really dislike milk, but I’ve never totally stopped all dairy including butter. I have asthma and an allergy to aspirin too., and therefore yellow #5, which is chemically similar to aspirin. This is called Samter’s triad. I’ll take your advice, try eliminating all dairy, and see if that helps.

        Yes, Steve, I’m missing out on a lot of happiness!

    4. #Christina, checking out if dairy is a culprit IS allergy testing. You are absolutely right that ANYthing inflammatory can be a cause, and dairy and grains are the 2 biggest suspects among foods. Dairy is notorious for thickening mucus and greatly exacerbating respiratory and upper-respiratory issues (as well as causing digestive issues).

      Are you referring to skin testing for environmental allergies? It does not have a great reputation for accuracy. Most people with environmental allergies like pollen and animal dander will find themselves nonreactive and symptom-free if they go off the food(s) that is inflammatory to them. E.g., grains are grasses and can cause what many people refer to as hay fever.

  7. I live a block away from a southern Calif bread maker (Pioneer Bread… touting, “The Best Buns in Town”) and, I’m not sure if they use any nasty ingredients but, they are a family owned business for about 50 years now. The aroma that comes from that plant is heavenly!.

  8. UGHHHHH! I’ve been familiar with this in a small way for years, but the pervasiveness of this takes the cake! I would always avoid the soap aisle in the market because all the artificial scents were so bad that I thought I’d pass out! Amazing that they would have to pump aromas of real food and yet they don’t sell real food…no surprise since Monsanto is involved! Only in America!

  9. Starbucks using an aroma task force to keep the smell of coffee pervasive? Well, duh! I work for Starbucks and our store smells like coffee. Coffee has an aroma. I come home smelling like…coffee. Not cheese. We don’t do anything special to make the store smell like coffee instead of our breakfast sandwiches. I agree with the contents of the article, but I question the Starbucks info that was presented.

    1. Jodi, I don’t think she’s saying that individual stores have task forces that do something special to make the store smell like coffee. I think she’s referring to something that would be on the corporate level, a team that works on overall design things that would effect all stores. For example, if they chose to include certain chemicals in their coffee drinks because they put off a lot of aroma, or if they chose certain packaging for the food items to keep the smell in (or less smelly ingredients), you probably wouldn’t be in on that conversation. You just get the stuff and make the drinks. You don’t have any idea why they choose certain chemicals and not others, because that’s happening on the corporate level, not on the individual store level.

  10. I used to know a little place that would burn a bit of bacon intentionally in the morning to make the smell strong enough to attract customers from afar and it worked. At least they made actual food, not a counterfeit made with GMO soy/corn and chemicals junk. They could make actual cinnamon pastries but then they’d have to actually work to make a good product- not bank on a chemist’s (“food scientist”) pre-formulated doppleganger concoctions.

  11. Like Jeanne, I avoid the soap aisle because of the heavy odors. Some powerful stuff they must pump into those products. So hard now to find any soap w/o stinking heavy duty odors.

    I was in Paris once and walked past a pastry shop pumping baking odors out onto the sidewalk. First time I’d been aware of this happening. Second time, in nearby mall, it was Cinnabon. Thanks, Vani , for this heads up. Even though, if it has sugar, there’s no way even a delicious odor will suck me in.

  12. You are quite enjoyable. Thanks for the info. I have a suggested topic. My father is in a skilled nursing facility, and has been gaining weight fast. I suspect the diets are short on healthy foods. For example, every morning, he has bacon, eggs, pancake, syrup, etc. every morning. I try and ask their dietician to back off the sweetened foods, both sugar and corn syrup, but they don’t take it serious. Thank you,

    1. This is something which has concerned me, as I have to visit various retirement homes as part of my vocation, I asked the workers why all the sweets? It would seem to me to be dangerous, because of type 2 diabetes, to serve the elderly so much sugar. But, I guess it’s cheap. Another worker told me that when she expressed concern about all the carbs that the answer was to pump some more insulin in them.

    2. I’d put your foot down. They need to respect your wishes or they should be reported for feeding your father this unhealthy toxic food. His health will go down if he’s eating carbs, sugar, and toxic bacon. Dieticians don’t care about toxic food. Nursing homes, hospitals, etc. just serve toxic food to their patients. So sad…

    3. I agree! When my mom went into an Assisted Living Facility, we were asked if she had any diet limitations, per doctor’s orders she can’t have coffee, caffeine, sugar, fruit juice, etc. There was nothing done to prevent her from eating these things. Every morning they would ask if she wanted coffee or juice. Every meal there’s something sweet served. It’s very frustrating. I’ve also seen one of her neighbors, who is a Type II Diabetic eat the largest piece of chocolate cake I’ve ever seen and nobody seemed to care. It’s pathetic and sad.

    4. To Sterling and Matt,
      I work in an assisted living facility for the elderly. I agree with you that most of the foods served are not necessarily healthy. I always offer my residents salads and fresh fruit options. Many of the residents have dental issues so they would rather eat soft Mac and cheese than have to chew a salad. The other problem is in the title assisted living. I can make suggestions to people but if the diabetic wants ice cream I am powerless to stop them. Also remember that our taste buds change and die off as we age, the last taste bud to go? You guessed it the one for sugar! Hope this creates some understanding.

  13. That scented stuff is also often a disability barrier to people wirh multiple chemical sensitivity, asthma, and COPD to name a few. Many will be forced to avoid these businesses because of this.

    1. They don’t care. It’s just about money. They have a zillion customers who will love these toxic unauthentic smells. I have MCS. I will NEVER a go to these places, ever. I feel like it’s “mind-control” Sci-Fi craziness. It’s manipulation and disrespectful to people who might have a reaction to these fake scents.

      1. Those of us with mcs have a tough battle just to live in this world. We have to hang in there.
        Be well,

      2. John… I couldn’t agree more. Malls, theatres, fast-food restaurants, sports arenas – all, in general, all so full of mind-control manipulations of every order, there is no ‘natural’ experience to actually be had in any of them anymore. That may sound rather ‘conspiratorial’ but really, what ISN’T anymore? We are being manipulated and assaulted from the cradle to the grave anymore and that’s simply a fact. Good for Food Babe for calling the food industry out on the manipulations and deceptions. I pray for her continued safety and well being since she is SERIOUSLY ‘poking the bear’ as it were. Bless her and her readers for spreading the word.

  14. Well most of it is just common sense isn’t it? Who goes to Starbucks and hopes to smell cheese instead of coffee? Same when some people write a book (thanks for the reminder…) and put a nice looking picture on the front page instead of a fat guy eating a yoga mat… basic marketing to appeal customers!

    Now, regarding the potentially crappy ingredients… yeah, it’s mostly a matter of costs. I’m pretty sure people who eat these cinnabons know it’s not very healthy to eat them in general, but they are cheap, and most of the times, the wallet wins. Same goes for fast food and the like.

  15. Keep it up Babe,it’s hard work,i know, But we need someone to enlighted us ,And stop Industry from Poisining us !!!

  16. Right on the money Food Babe . Odor Receptor, From our site,
    “Health is your only wealth!”

    If it is not pure and organic your body cannot assimilate it. It’s not our job to do this, we don’t have roots! It is very important that any and all liquid you drink be organic [without dirt] that would not be Stilled water. That would be un-stilled or distilled water same as is the juice in fruits and vegetables. Really it is not at all complicated in fact it’s just common sense. Fact is it’s all a big con just think of the incredible amount of profit you can make when you figure out how to take dirt and make the exact same formula [but Inorganic formula] that the plants produce.

    This means you can then make even more profit in the sick care industry! Just pay attention and watch what all those sick people are buying. All those shopping carts filled up with hundreds of dollars of packages of totally dead, zero frequency stuff.

    Please consider this. Not to go too deep into it, here is a simple fact. The brain in your head in the dark only knows electrical impulses. There are three methods of information received here on the physical level 3D realm that manifest you and your reality and that is electricity, magnetism and light and these three forces are interconnected and each one can produce the other so basically it’s just three sides of the same energy stream. So your brain receives this energy stream by way of your 5 receptors, or senses, so if I want to addict or control you all I really need are the very best conductors of electricity to change and manipulate this information stream. Your taste is converted into these electrical impulses same way as all your other senses. Best conductors? Anything that is not organic and Especially Designed Inorganic Chemicals they are #1 on the list of culprits, then things like heat extracted hydrogenated fats, sugars, and inorganic salts, and if it’s been cooked and processed to the point the cell wall has expanded and exploded then it has become dead inorganic material it’s just that simple.

  17. One more thing….there is this outdoor shopping mall that i think might pump scent into the air. Anyway when I visit, I can smell it in the parking lot and because of it must avoid an entire corner of stores. In fact I try to avoid shopping there becauuse of it. Stores will miss out on sales they are unaware they are missing by using this stuff.

  18. While I agree with lots of comments that there isn’t manipulation everywhere, we should be always aware of the possibility. Anyhow – very interesting post. I’ll share that with the audience. Keep up your great work!

    1. There isn’t manipulation everywhere. But if it’s a large corporation trying to sell you something, there’s probably some manipulation. In other words, always be a skeptic when someone is trying to sell you something!

  19. Food Babe, You are Accomplishing what I have only DREAMED of doing for 15 years!!!! I hope you don’t mind me living Vicariously through you……may God bless you! I’ve received your book yesterday….LOVE IT!

  20. Interesting about Starbucks, as I have always assumed it was just the aroma of the beans that was so strong. After working in the morning, even my laptop bag smells like coffee. Given what you have said about aroma machines, now it makes sense.

    As you have written before, food and flavors are more addictive than most drugs. I quit drinking diet soda 8 years ago, and to this day whenever I have pizza my mouth waters for Diet Pepsi. Your body really can work against you, and are brains are so weak – it’s hard to resist.

    1. David,
      You are so right! I quit drinking soda two years ago, but sometimes the craving for a Diet Pepsi is unbearable, even though it tastes awful to me now and hurts my mouth.

  21. Dear Vani
    Where are you in California ?
    Can we meet you?
    Any of your schedule will help

  22. My “favorite” (not really) is the new Carl’s Jr. add that advertises their new “all natural” hamburger. An “all natural” beef burger on a bun and dressed with chemicals. So silly !!!

    1. Yeah, ugh

      And even ‘natural’ may not mean much. -Where did the beef come from? What did the cows Eat? Did they eat just Grass or were they fed GMO corn and soy (which is often the case) – sometimes the cows are fed supposedly ‘organic’ grains.

      And then, there’s all that ‘other’ stuff….

  23. It is not the public’s responsibility to not smell, it is corporate America’s responsibility to not put poison in the food they sell, and then lure people into buying it by making it addictive. To add injury to insult, they try to hide the facts with misleading labels, to trick people who are trying to seek out something healthy.

  24. Hi there
    you’re amazing! I was wondering if you have any input on the baby formula holle? I know it has nothing to do with this article … but just curious on your opinion

  25. Caddy B – You might find that there are other additives that are a problem for you, as well as naturally occurring salicylates. I work with the nonprofit Feingold Associaiton and we have nearly 40 years experience helping people with many problems, including nasal polyps, asthma and other aspects of the “aspirin triad” or Samter’s Triad. There’s lots of information at

  26. Disneyland does this with a vat of vanilla underneath the candy store. They have fans that blow the scent through vents and up onto Main Street. We were told this during employee orientation.

  27. Actually, this is old news as shown by the 1947 Monsanto ad. There have been news stories on this as well. So if you are reading about this for the first time, get off Facebook and read what really goes on in the real world.

    Cinnabon does nothing for me as I am not attracted by extremely sweet foods. I walk right by it as if it wasn’t there. It certainly doesn’t attract me. Do the same thing with the candy aisle in the stores/check-out lanes. Suggestive sell doesn’t work on me. 🙂

  28. Way to go Vani! Thanks to your info about GMOs, I went total organic about two years ago and have since lost 134 lbs doing nothing buy avoiding GMO food and drinking only Big Berkey filtered water. I have not visited ANY fast food joint for well over a year too. Mickey D’s and KFC used to be staples for me and my family but now, we don’t go to these places. Organic food smells and tastes way better than it used to. I’m half way through your new book and it is awesome just like you. I’m looking forward to when you take on the Pizza industry because that is all GMO from what I can see. The Ultimate Healthy Grocery Guide is a very nice bonus. Thank you Vani Hari – the FoodBabe! #FoodBabeArmy

    1. Edward, I’m curious as to why clicking on your name links to a website that offers discounted cigarettes… can you explain?

    1. just look at obama and his followers. Not name calling nor being facetious, but being factual.

      1. Yeah, I gotcha – but if you think things would have been ANY different under Romney and his RomBots, well…

  29. 1st Thank you so much for the research & petitions you have created to continue informing us of these (non) foods and for the good these petitions are doing.

    2nd just wanted to know if you had read about the FDA APPROVING the production & sell of GMO Apples, Pears and other fruits. – I saw a website for one company that is actually ‘bragging’ about the ‘scientific’ ‘improvement on their fruit….


  30. I just want to know where I can buy aroma scents in coffee and bread scents?!? I want my home to smell delicious. Lol

  31. Thank you Vani for all your hard work. I truly believe the food we eat is poisoning us. I continually shop the perimeter of the food stores. I always read the labels and try to stick to it. I think about what, when, where and how I’m going to eat and buy my food. I try to make people aware of what’s going on, but many people bury their heads in the sand. Keep up the good work! We need a healthier society!

  32. My biggest pet peeve is going to a restaurant that uses these types of trickery and things and going home smelling like you just stepped out of the kitchen. When I go out to eat I have to go home and change my clothes or smell like a restaurant the rest of the evening. Takes all the fun out of the experience for me.

  33. I want to know about the IKEA cinnamon rolls too… I’m such a sucker for the smell of cinnamon and wood and new cardboard that smacks you in the face when you walk in, it’s one of my favorite smelling places ever, along with the new book smell of Barnes and Noble.

  34. Why are there millions of obese, fat and morbidly obese Americans?
    1. Lazy
    2. Poor food choices
    3. SOME genetics (but genetics are lame excuse)
    4. bad chemicals in food

  35. Thank You FoodBabe !!!!!
    I am a Veteran and I am proud to say I am in your Army now and will spread the word, to all my family and friends.
    This is so sad of this food industry today !!!!!!! And always ask for ingredients and only go to GF
    Resterants and buy from farmers , this has changed my life for the Better.
    I am behind you Vani H.

  36. This post reminds me of walking past Burger King. As a vegan, the smell of BK is overwhelming. The broiling meat I suppose is meant to remind people of a summer bar-b-que. Unfortunately, for me, it brings an image of the ovens of Auschwitz and the sweet-rancid smell of burning flesh.

  37. Please look into infant formula! Newborns in hospitals are given GMO soy infant formula soon after they are born if mother isn’t nursing. Those toxic GMO infant formulas have toxic glyphosate in them. Organic formula should be the only infant formula ever used.

  38. Wow! Good information. I loooove cinnabons, and got into a bad habit of treating myself to one when I travel. But I had to give it up because I usually felt physically bad after eating one. I am still so temped when I smell them, though! I had no idea, but now am more aware of these tactics.

  39. I can’t believe these faux smells are healthy to inhale. I believe it’s time to start calling for a ban like cigarette smoke. Allergies are so prevalent and I believe it’s because of these chemical fragrances. In the meantime, Food Babe, you really might consider developing a product that fits unobtrusively in your nose to filter these odors out. I’ve seen some made in China that are sold on Amazon. Why not develop your own or sell them here. Good for us, good for you. Luv what you are doing.

  40. It’s everywhere indeed. Wanna sell your house? Bake cookies. I teach. I wear vanilla scented perfume. It’s one of the ways I get them to do requested tasks. They are absolutely fascinated that I smell like cookies/ice cream. It catches their focus when speaking directly and they listen more.

  41. Unfair, you tell what companies such as Cinnabon achieve by putting their ovens near the entrances to entrance customers into there stores and then you do the same thing by placing entrancing photos of your self on your front page of yourself. It maybe partly due to the good food you eat but I was irresistibly drawn into your first article that I saw. What I found was a glorious group of articles exposing the rotten money grubbing morals of so many of our food producers. If they had to pay for the extra health care costs their products cause, almost no one would be able to afford them and you would be out of a job.
    Keep up your great work and keep adding new photos of your self.

  42. Oh Dear, This scent business is as old as the hills. Why are people soooo surprised about any of this??!! Like it’s some secret happening just being discovered. Until people start questioning all ingredients, advertising, marketing, doing their own research, etc., this stuff will continue to live on. in the world. And people will continue to be sick, obese, lazy. Until each one of us takes responsibility for our lives, the status quo will continue. Plain old common sense wins every time..

  43. Oh Goodness! I am disappointment at Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Rolls store/ mall in Silver Spring, MD or Virginia. I brought two large boxes of Cinnamon rolls when I was in college in Washington D.C. OFTEN !!!! I ate toxic cinnamon rolls by a fool dishonest harmful company! I love desserts. I should not have eat toxic food. All the food should be be real food/ ingredients ! Now, I have a lot of allergic!
    It is time of us people to speak up to each company to remove toxic. FYI ! I found the heavy cream have ingredients and disappoint that I ate Carragneean ! I make whip cream by heavy cream. I thought it was natural ingredients! I will call that local company to ask to remove carrageenan. I have to do! I lam learning how to read and hope to avoid not to buy toxic products/ food! I hope all of you, too.
    We can sign up the petitions to ask to remove the toxic to many companies ! against toxic to Please remove toxic chemicals. Can we ask you Vani to do the petitions? We need to push !
    Like: – some have petitions.
    We need all companies/whoever must put real honestly NON toxic chemicals in food/products for our health sakes! No more junkies/killers.
    Remember what we put food in our mouth ! Healthy or Toxic. You choose!

  44. One of the oldest tricks known to get people to buy food.
    Carnival carnies used to fry up onions so the scent would make you hungry
    For something like a burger/hot dog.

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