The UK’s Favourite Food Scents 

Whether it’s fresh pastries, fried bacon, or a Sunday roast, we all love the smell of freshly made food wafting from our kitchens. But what are the UK’s favourite food scents?

We decided to find out, by combining survey data and expert knowledge to nail down the nation’s favourite foodie scents – we’ve even broken the data down by city to see if there’s any differentiation between regions ranging from Birmingham and Belfast to Carlisle and Cambridge! 

The UK’s top favourite food scents

Fresh Bread (36%) – It probably comes as little surprise, but the simple and seductive scent of freshly baked bread straight from the oven has captured hearts and noses around the nation – it came out on top as the UK’s favourite kitchen smell!

Coffee (31%) – The smell of roasting coffee beans is not just reserved for the likes of Starbucks! Coffee came in a close joint second alongside Bacon in our survey.
 (31%) – In classic British fashion, the savoury scent of sizzling bacon on the hob has the UK under its spell, so much so that it also came joint second in our survey!

Fish and chips (26%) – Another British favourite is the humble meal of fish and chips, and a fresh fish supper with salt and vinegar has a lot of noses twitching in the UK.

Roast chicken (23%) – The alluring scent of freshly roasted chicken, whether for a delicious Sunday dinner or to accompany a mid-week meal, has great sway with the British public, and comes in fifth in our survey. 

Favourite food scent by city

We wanted to uncover the scents that different areas of the UK find to be the most alluring, so we split our survey data into different cities across Britain:

Birmingham (30%), Bristol (38%), and Brighton (44%) love the aroma of basic fresh bread, while 43% of people from Cardiff, 41% of Glaswegians, and 32% of our Manchester respondents are all big fans of the classic smell of sizzling bacon, whatever the time of day! 

Liverpool had the most caffeine lovers, with nearly half of all respondents (49%) claiming that coffee is their favourite smell. Norwich, home to many an early riser working the fields or commuters heading to London, also came in a close second for coffee as their favourite smell, with 42%. 

39% of respondents from Edinburgh claimed that fish and chips is their favourite smell, as is fitting for this coastal city. And finally, only Belfast had roast chicken as their favourite scent, with 34% of our Northern Irish respondents claiming it as the best. 

Why do Brits love these smells?

We were left wondering why these smells are so popular with so many people across the nation, since there are so many different cultures, religions, and lifestyles packed into the UK. After all, not everyone drinks coffee, so why would so many of us like the smell of it enough to rank it as our favourite kitchen smell?

Well, it’s a scientific fact that our olfactory senses (the ones that can identify smells) are also closely connected with the areas in our brain connected to memory and emotion – so, it’s likely that many of us have strong positive associations with the smells of coffee, bread, and bacon, coupling them with thoughts of pleasant mornings and relaxed breakfasts with family and friends. The same can be said of fish and chips, and roast chicken – it’s likely that we have positive connotations of these meals with pleasant memories, such as a loving Sunday dinner or a really enjoyable summer trip to the beach. 

It’s also true that the chemical makeup of these foods likely contains lots of aromatic compounds that make them smell irresistible to us. A lot of these foods have added extra molecules, which kickstart chemical reactions that make the food smell incredible to human noses. This effect is caused by the Maillard reaction, which is when sugars and amino acids combine with melting fats to create that desirable smell and taste that we know and love. 

Have we got your tastebuds tingling? Perhaps this would be a great time to head to the kitchen and whip yourself up a tasty treat to satisfy that craving! Check out our incredible range of kitchens to explore top of the range appliances that’ll make those tasty treats that much more tempting, or, for even more inspiration, check out our range of delicious recipes!

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