The new Prime? Kids ‘demanding’ £30 Air Up bottles – because they can make tap water taste like cola

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The new Prime? Exasperated parents say their children are demanding £30 AirUp water bottles – because they can make tap water taste like cola via a scent pod

A drinks bottle that can make water taste like flavours such as watermelon and cola is apparently the latest craze in UK classrooms.

The AirUp, also popular with gym goers, is reportedly reaching Prime levels of hype with pupils, with one teacher estimating he had ‘£300 worth’ of the bottles brought to class daily.

The bottle, which launched in the UK in 2021, can be filled with normal tap water, but tricks the brain into thinking its contents are flavoured, thanks to aroma pods.

The pods release scents up the nose as you sip, which pass through the throat to the brain where they manifest as taste.

However, the clever technology comes with a hefty price tag…the most basic bottle costs £24.99 with three pods starting at £4.99. A stainless steel version with five pods rings in at £54.99. 

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The new Prime? Kids ‘demanding’ £30 Air Up bottles – because they can make tap water taste like cola

Last month, a teacher known as Mr C shared on Twitter the number of £24.99 AirUp bottles – which can make water taste flavoured using a scent pod – in his classroom, saying: ‘Almost £300 worth of ‘Air Up’ water bottles in my classroom’

The pods come in a range of flavours, including passionfruit, elderflower, coffee, cucumber and cola.

Last month, the drink Prime sparked muggings and near-riots in shops after teenagers tried to get their hands on bottles – with some selling online for up to £100 a bottle. 

An ordinary water bottle costs just a few pounds, but parents on social media have been sharing how their offspring have been putting pressure on them to have AirUps – as the craze spreads in UK schools. 

Last month, one teacher @MrSquires_Y3 shared a photo of the bottles in his classroom, with AirUps dominating.

He wrote: ‘Almost £300 worth of ‘Air Up’ water bottles in my classroom.’

Another teacher, @jonnybid, added: ‘I really hope our school insurance policy covers all the Air Up bottles that are currently knocking about my classroom.’ 

The AirUp's flavour pods trick the brain into thinking the tap water is flavoured, thanks to a concept known as retronasal smell

The AirUp’s flavour pods trick the brain into thinking the tap water is flavoured, thanks to a concept known as retronasal smell

How does it work? 

The flavour pods trick your brain into thinking the water is flavoured, thanks to a concept known as retronasal smell. 

AirUp explained: ‘This is the technical term for a simple process – tasting with your nose. 

‘When you smell something, it passes through the throat to the olfactory centre in the nose and manifests in the brain as taste. Simple. Genius. Mind-blowing. 

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‘80% of the tastes you experience are actually things you are smelling. The tongue may talk the talk, but it’s the nose that walks the walk when it comes to taste.’

AirUp was founded by Lena Jungst and Tim Jager, and arrived in the UK in 2021. 

German entrepreneur Jungst has said of the bottle that it is ‘inviting people to experiment a bit with flavour. It’s a new way of perceiving flavour – nothing like this has existed before.’

The product itself has been widely praised by parents who struggle to get their children to drink water regularly – NHS guidelines suggest children should drink six to eight cups of water a day – because the flavour encourages them to hydrate more. 

@Catherine443 wrote on Twitter: ‘To be fair, if they help children drink water, they are a much kinder craze then many other crazies.’

Others though recoiled at the price of the bottle.  @MsGamiet wrote: ‘The latest craze!!! Someone’s made a fat load of money on it – they’re insanely expensive!’

@Elizabe97613344 added: ‘What an expense. Madness.’

The AirUps’ flavour pods trick your brain into thinking the water is flavoured, thanks to a concept known as retronasal smell. 

AirUp explained: ‘This is the technical term for a simple process – tasting with your nose. 

‘When you smell something, it passes through the throat to the olfactory centre in the nose and manifests in the brain as taste. Simple. Genius. Mind-blowing. 

‘80% of the tastes you experience are actually things you are smelling. The tongue may talk the talk, but it’s the nose that walks the walk when it comes to taste.’

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