What Information Should You Include On Your Coffee Label?

Nick Sebas
December 17, 2020
coffee labels

On specialty coffee packaging, you only have a limited amount of space on which you can convince consumers to buy your product.

That means you need to make sure everything you include has value, whether it’s promoting your sustainable values, describing the characteristics of the beans, or providing instructions on how best to brew the coffee.

Labels are a great tool for conveying this information in a clear, concise and visually appealing way. However, determining what to focus on and what to leave out can be difficult for coffee roasters.

To learn more about how to make the most of coffee packaging labels, I spoke with Laura Fornero from Producer Roaster Forum.

See also: Should Packaging For Single Origin Coffee Be Different To A Blend?

coffee cherries

Transparency & Traceability

With the number of specialty coffee consumers growing all the time, transparency and traceability in the coffee industry have become more important than ever. 

The third-wave coffee culture brings with it a greater focus on the provenance of coffee, which means it is no longer enough for coffee to simply taste good. Buyers also want to know the “story” behind the coffee, such as where it’s grown and how it’s roasted.

For roasters, labels on coffee packaging present a great opportunity to provide this information to consumers in a clear and accessible way.

According to Laura, this is especially important for single origin coffee, in which the beans are from one specific place, rather than a blend, where beans from different farms or locations are used.

“For single origin coffee, including the name of the farm, cooperative, or producer on the label communicates the roaster’s acknowledgement of the people behind the coffee,” she says. “It helps represent the brand, and provides the consumer with a greater level of transparency.” 

Yet while it’s clearly important to provide traceability on labels for single origin coffee, studies suggest that greater transparency and traceability in the coffee supply chain as a whole translates into more trust, confidence, and fairness across the industry. This is true for both single origin and coffee blend. 

“As a minimum, specialty coffee roasters should look to include the roast date, country or farm of origin, or the name of a blend,” Laura adds. 

sustainability certifications on coffee labels

Communicating Sustainability On Coffee Labels

Similar to traceability is the growing demands of coffee consumers for more sustainable practices across every step of the supply chain, including packaging. 

And while the adoption of biodegradable materials, such as kraft paper and PLA, is an effective way to show commitment to reducing environmental impact, these materials are not always best for preserving freshness. Roasters may prefer to go for LDPE or aluminium foil lining, which do not offer the same sustainable benefits as kraft paper or bioplastics.

In these cases, specialty coffee roasters must use the opportunity labels afford them to communicate their commitment to environmental sustainability in other ways.

“As consumers are increasingly aware of the negative impact packaging can have, labels should also clearly state how to dispose of the bag,” Laura explains. “This could be with a symbol of recyclability or compostability, or instructions as to where they can take their empty pouches.”

Some coffee businesses, such as UK-based Modern Standards Coffee Roasters, offer a collection scheme for their LDPE coffee packaging, in which consumers are encouraged to collect their used bags and return them periodically for a discount on their next order. Including this information on a label is an effective means of demonstrating a commitment to reducing waste, even if the material used is not biodegradable.

Advice such as this can help attract a large audience of consumers who share your eco-friendly values. They help promote your brand as the go-to for those looking to buy coffee with a low impact on the environment.

If you have any sustainability certifications, we recommend you include them on your coffee packaging labels. Sustainability certifications are an effective way of demonstrating to consumers that you are genuinely committed to the wellbeing of the environment. There are many companies that state their concern without taking any real action, and a certification dispels this notion.

Find out more about sustainability certifications for specialty coffee roasters

coffee packaging

Appealing To Your Target Market

When consumers are shopping for coffee, your brand only has a few seconds to attract attention and make an impression. That means it’s essential for specialty coffee roasters to make their packaging label as informative as possible without overloading the consumer with information.

Laura tells me there is no maximum or minimum amount of text a label should carry, but rather that the information should be relevant to the target market. 

“If you are targeting European consumers in supermarkets, for example, you might want to focus on displaying sustainable certifications, such as Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, or organic,” she explains.

Another important point to consider is how experienced your customers are in specialty coffee. 

For frequent specialty coffee drinkers, you should focus on specific information such as origin, altitude, flavour notes, and variety. Whereas, for newcomers, you should include practical information, such as instructions on how best to brew it. 

Honing in on specific qualities of the coffee when deciding what to include on your label is an effective way of catching the attention of consumers, and helps them to make quick decisions about the product. If they’re forced to wade through information to make a choice, they might opt for a competitor who lays out the information more clearly. 

The font and colour scheme can also have a significant influence on the way in which information is conveyed to customers. A 2012 journal on type font characteristics found that the type font you choose has a marked effect on brand personality perceptions, highlighting the importance of taking time and care when deciding on the design of your labels. 

coffee packaging labels

At MTPak Coffee, we offer fully customisable labels so that you can include the most relevant and appealing information for your customers. We can help you with everything, whether it’s font type, colour schemes, or placement. 

With our labels, you can communicate your commitment to sustainability, as well as promoting important details such as the flavour, aroma, and origin of your coffee.

Our experts can also help you with all visual aspects, offering advice on everything from fonts to colour schemes.

To discuss options for labels on your coffee packaging, contact our team.

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