The addition of fragrance has become a significant factor in marketing toys, especially those toys in the plush and girls’ jewelry segments. Over the past decade, the popularity of scented toys has grown, creating a strong market that many manufacturers want to enter.
Auracell®, a scented natural polymer by Rotuba (www.auracell.com), the developer and the industry leader of scented polymers used for toys, gifts and home air care products, has seen its sales of fragranced polymers to the toy industry triple over the past five years. This reflects greater acceptance and demand for scented products in a growing cross-section of the toy industry.
“Fragrance provides added value for many toys, creating a competitive edge that leads to greater sales,” said James Stern, Director of Marketing for Auracell at Rotuba Extruders, the Linden, N.J. the company that developed Auracell. The company has become masters at creating fragrances that are safe, long-lasting and authentic.
“Kids are very astute so exactly matching a scent to the persona of a toy and having a wide range of readily identifiable scents is key,” said Stern. “And the fragrance must be long-lasting so it is still effective after months of shipping, storage, shelf time and especially when a customer and their child is toy shopping.”
Auracell’s base resin is Cellulose Acetate (CA), an environmentally friendly and sustainable plastic polymer that is derived from wood or cotton pulp instead of petroleum. The fragrance is thoroughly absorbed into the material and ‘breathes,’ enabling the scent to remain active for at least six months, and often for as long as two years.
“Humans can detect more than 10,000 different scents and remember nearly 35% of what they smell,” said Adam Bell, CEO of Rotuba. “It is paramount that we recreate a multitude of scents that people can detect so a toy can transport a child’s imagination to a donut shop, beach or forest. This type pf sensory feature helps enhance the story-telling experience.”
According to Bell, strawberry, bubble gum, cotton candy and cupcake are, by far, the most popular scents for toys. Fruit and candy scents are most popular overall, but new food aromas like French fries, pepperoni pizza and other comforting smells are the ones that kids especially love.
Scent is a key selling proposition for a popular line of plush bears whose sales literature proclaims how it’s “stuffed with sweet strawberry scent.” Other plush toys might smell like different foods including gummies, popcorn, chips, pretzels, cookies, soda, juice and cereal, which enhances the pleasure and excitement created by the product.
Beyond plush, a growing number of toys and novelties products are scented. A popular line of scented backpack clips sells well with pre-teens and tweens, with strawberry the most popular, followed by donut and cupcake.
Safety is a chief reason that many of the largest U.S., European and multinational toy marketers rely on Rotuba for their aromatic offerings. “Fragrance adds another level of toy safety compliance and Rotuba invested heavily in developing and testing a material that strictly adheres to ever-changing International Fragrance Association (IFRA) toy criteria and EU Allergen directives,” says Bell.
If you’ve seen a plush product from a major toy company in recent years, there’s a good chance it contains an Auracell scented natural polymer. A small sampling of companies that have successfully used Auracell inlcude Wild Republic, Maya Toys’ Foodie Roos, Elizabeth Arden, Claire’s, Pillow Pets and Kellytoy’s Squishmallows.
Founded in 1948 by Walter Bell, Rotuba is a privately owned, third-generation company with headquarters and manufacturing locations in Linden and Garwood, NJ. It is the largest independent global custom compounder of Cellulosic – a wood-based polymer.