Air Up: Transforming Flavor Perception Through Science and Design

Air Up: Transforming Flavor Perception Through Science and Design

Air Up Compatible Flavor Pods

Lena Jüngst and Tim Jäger, two innovative German university students, founded Air Up after being inspired by Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters, a book by neuroscientist Gordon M. Shepherd. This groundbreaking book challenges traditional beliefs by highlighting the significant role of the sense of smell in shaping flavor. This revelation ignited Jüngst and Jäger's creativity, leading to the development of their first Air Up prototype. Their mission? To unite neuroscience and design and address the global health issue of poor nutrition, particularly inadequate hydration. This revolutionary water bottle is compatible with 15 unique Air Up flavor pods and is available in both plastic and stainless steel versions, allowing for personalization with an array of colorful accessories.

Air Up Compatible Food Grade Flavor Pods and Bottles: Sipperment

How Air Up works

Embark on a sensory journey with Air Up, where scents and tastes intertwine. Air Up emphasizes the significance of olfactory receptors, capable of discerning more than 1 trillion scents. The brand elucidates:

"Retronasal smelling is the art behind Air Up, allowing us to infuse plain water with 'flavored' air from our pods. Our bottles enable you to savor this 'flavored' air with every sip, and your nasal receptors work their magic, turning it into taste. Surprisingly, your water remains refreshingly plain, but your palate experiences an explosion of flavor, all thanks to your sense of smell."

With Air Up, you'll explore a world where scent and taste become inseparable.

Learn how to infuse your water with delightful scents using Air Up. Begin by filling your water bottle to the designated line and attaching the mouthpiece and straw. Place the circular pod over the mouthpiece, confirming activation. As you sip, revel in the journey of scent-flavored air bubbles through the straw, transforming into a flavorful experience.

Air Up Compatible Food Grade Flavor Pods and Bottles: Sipperment

How we tested Air Up

At the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Innovation Lab, water bottles are a frequent subject of examination. We rigorously evaluate them for performance, durability, and user-friendliness. However, when the Air Up water bottle came onto our radar, we knew it was time for a unique testing approach.

Our dedicated 11-person testing panel, consisting of consumers, dietitians, kitchen equipment experts, engineers, and chemists, embarked on a comprehensive journey. This endeavor resulted in over a hundred data points and invaluable feedback, encompassing taste perceptions, comfort during usage, and shifts in hydration habits.

In our Lab, we didn't skimp on testing. We conducted drop and leak tests on both plastic and stainless steel Air Up models. Our assessment extended to nine distinct flavor pods, which we

meticulously rated for flavor quality, longevity, and strength. We also examined the water bottle's ease of use, considering aspects such as filling, carrying, drinking, and cleaning.

Air Up Compatible Food Grade Flavor Pods and Bottles: Sipperment

What is in the flavor pods?

Air Up's flavor pods are a result of their dedication to natural ingredients. They craft these pods using natural flavors extracted from plants, fruits, and spices, although specific intellectual property details remain closely guarded.

The brand boasts a wide variety of 15 flavors available on their website, ranging from the classic apple to the intriguing basil-lemon and the indulgent orange-vanilla. You can explore these scents through variety packs or stock up on your top picks with three-packs. Additionally, each water bottle starter set includes an assortment of flavor pods.

During our testing, personal preferences influenced the results, with no single scent emerging as a unanimous favorite. Testers provided insights into scent strength and flavor experiences.

Air Up Compatible Food Grade Flavor Pods and Bottles: Sipperment

How long do Air Up pods last?

Air Up asserts that each of its pods can enhance approximately 1.3 gallons of water with delightful scents. Furthermore, the company recommends checking the "best before" date on each pod, as the scent's intensity may diminish over time, delivering the most satisfying experience when the pod is freshly opened. Keeping the pods in their original packaging is essential, as they cannot be cleaned and should only be unsealed just before attaching them to your water bottle.

In our investigations, we noted that if the pods remained affixed to the water bottle for an extended duration without being used, the fragrance gradually faded, resulting in a milder "flavor" for the water. Given the per-pod price and the current online-exclusive availability, our experts expressed a desire for pods with a more prolonged lifespan.

Air Up Compatible Food Grade Flavor Pods and Bottles: Sipperment

Does the Air Up water bottle work?

Do Air Up water bottles truly deliver on their promise? Our extensive testing journey revealed that they do indeed succeed in transforming water into flavorful experiences with their pods. The mango-passionfruit pod, in particular, stood out with its juicy and delightful "flavor." However, opinions on the orange-vanilla pod were mixed, with some finding it somewhat artificial.

As we delved into the data and the feedback from our testers, it became evident that personal preferences and scent perception played a significant role. Scent perception is a highly individual matter, influenced by personal associations and the nuances of each person's olfactory sensitivity. Some testers did not envision incorporating the Air Up water bottle into their daily routine after testing, while others regarded it as an innovative addition.

One tester noted, "Inhaling the scent didn't enhance the flavor for me," while another commented, "This is no mere gimmick. On days when plain water doesn't appeal to me, the Air Up bottle adds a layer of enjoyment to hydration." Ultimately, your interaction with Air Up is intimately tied to your sensory perceptions.

Air Up Compatible Food Grade Flavor Pods and Bottles: Sipperment

Additional Lab and tester notes

In our in-depth analysis of the Air Up water bottle, we've examined its durability, weight, and comfort characteristics. We've explored how the lightweight plastic version compares to the heavier stainless steel model in terms of weight.

Through rigorous drop testing, we've assessed the bottles' ability to endure repeated falls onto hard concrete, revealing their individual strengths and vulnerabilities. These real-world trials provide valuable insights into their resilience.

Our leak testing procedures scrutinized the bottles' capacity to remain leak-free when positioned horizontally with tightly sealed lids. Discover the variations in leak resistance between the plastic and stainless steel options.

Additionally, we delved into the comfort aspect of the Air Up water bottle, focusing on the mouthpiece and ease of sipping. Cleaning and maintenance considerations, including the advantages of the stainless steel variant, are also explored.

Air Up Compatible Food Grade Flavor Pods and Bottles: Sipperment

So, is the Air Up water bottle worth it?

When it comes to the Air Up water bottle, the question arises: is it worth it? This innovative bottle is tailored for those who relish flavored water and find it easier to stay hydrated with a dash of flavor.

Stefani Sassos, M.S., R.D.N., C.S.O., C.D.N., NASM-CPT, the Nutrition Lab Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, suggests, "People who struggle with staying hydrated would enjoy this bottle, especially those who find plain water unappealing." If you're pressed for time and can't infuse your water with fresh produce, Air Up might be the solution you need.

However, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. For those who consume a lot of water and require a larger bottle capacity, the Air Up's 22-ounce (plastic) or 28-ounce (stainless steel) options might fall short. One tester expressed, "I wish it came in different sizes to reduce the need for frequent refills."

Additionally, consider your budget when factoring in the cost of purchasing flavor pods regularly. A three-pack of pods, which flavors approximately 3.9 gallons of water, can add up. Despite these considerations, seven out of our 11 testers endorsed Air Up, making it a winner for the majority.

Air Up Compatible Food Grade Flavor Pods and Bottles: Sipperment

ref: Air Up Water Bottle Review: We Tested the Water Bottle That "Flavors" Water Via Scent

Reading next

Air Up: Where Flavor Science and Innovative Design Converge
Air Up: A Fusion of Science and Design for Better Nutrition

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