A Complete Guide To Side Gusset Coffee Pouches

Janice Kanniah
February 23, 2021
side gusset coffee bag

Used to provide greater space and flexibility, side gusset pouches have become increasingly popular among specialty coffee roasters. Not only are they lightweight and cost-effective, they also offer lots of space and strength, making them ideal for long periods spent in transit.

When combined with a flat bottom base, side gusset pouches can be effectively stored upright, while extra components, such as degassing valves and resealable zippers, can be added for ease-of-use. 

However, perhaps the greatest advantage of side gusset pouches is their additional branding space: five sides maximise the opportunity for coffee businesses to communicate their brand message and connect with customers.

Read on to find out more about side gusset pouches and their benefits for specialty coffee roasters.

See also: A Complete Guide To Flat Bottom Coffee Pouches

side gusset coffee packaging

What Is A Side Gusset Pouch?

Put simply, a gusset is a piece of material that adds space and flexibility to packaging. It’s a panel that folds flat, but will open out when items are placed inside.

Gussets can be added to the sides of packaging to increase flexibility and space, or the bottom of packaging to improve stability.

A side gusset coffee pouch, therefore, is one that has gussets along both sides, forming a box-like shape when fully opened and expanded. When combined with a flat bottom, side gusset pouches form a sturdy, flexible, and spacious packaging option for specialty coffee roasters.

To make a side gusset pouch, packaging manufacturers pass the chosen packaging material through plows that fold its base into a W-shaped gusset. They make vertical seals on each side and seal the pouch’s bottom folds to hold the W gusset together at both ends. 

Next, they cut the pouch vertically through the centre of each side’s seal to create a containment area. Once filled with coffee, the packaging is sealed with a zip, spout, or fastener before adding a final seal on top. Sometimes a notch is added.

Side gusset pouches can be made from a range of sustainable materials, from kraft paper and polylactic acid (PLA), to rice paper and low-density polyethylene (LDPE).

flat bottom pouch

The Benefits Of Side Gusset Pouches For Specialty Coffee Roasters

For specialty coffee roasters, it can be difficult to decide on the perfect packaging for their product. While preserving freshness and protecting the coffee inside may be at the forefront of their minds, it is also important to consider how their packaging will look once it’s on shelf.

According to a recent consumer survey, almost a third of all purchasing decisions are based on packaging. Yet with consumers exposed to more than 40,000 different brands on the average supermarket trip, attracting attention can be a challenge.

Side gusset pouches offer specialty coffee roasters a great opportunity to stand out from competitors and communicate brand identity thanks to their ample branding space. When filled with coffee, the side gussets expand, revealing extra room on which roasters can connect with customers and showcase the quality of their product

This additional advertising space can be used to include information on the coffee’s origin, the people behind its production, the way in which it was processed, and its flavour notes in the cup. Some roasters may also choose to include brewing instructions to ensure customers get the best from the coffee.

In a blog post on their website, brand design agency Salad Creative write: “In its simplest form, product packaging is an advert for your brand. Given the right packaging, a consumer may be more likely to leave a product on their kitchen worktop, or carry it proudly on their commute. It’s what makes a brand and product recognisable, while also serving as part of the storytelling aspect.”

In addition to their branding potential, side gusset pouches are also among the most sustainable types of packaging used for coffee. Their design means that although they can hold significant quantities of coffee, they are incredibly lightweight to transport and take up little room in containers. Over time, this contributes to a lower carbon footprint.

A 2019 survey led by Hotwire found that 47% of consumers had ditched products and services from a brand that violated their personal values. With the protection of the environment at top of that list, it’s key for specialty roasters to adopt packaging that limits their environmental impact.

side gusset

What To Remember When Choosing Side Gusset Pouches 

While side gusset pouches present a reliable option for specialty coffee roasters, they do have certain drawbacks.

Corina Ye is Senior Account Manager at MTPak Coffee. She says that before choosing side gusset pouches for their packaging, roasters should be aware that its structural benefits are only present when the pouch is full – as the coffee is consumed, it becomes less sturdy. For packaging that stays upright regardless of the amount of coffee inside, roasters may prefer stand-up pouches.

She also adds that you also can’t seal it with a conventional pouch zipper. A zipper needs both sides of a package to join together, and side gussets make this challenging. Spouts and other reclosable or resealable openings like tin ties are usually preferred for this type of packaging. 

Once roasters have filled the pouch with coffee, top or bottom horizontal heat sealing will keep it airtight until a customer opens it. However, once it’s opened, a tin tie won’t keep it completely airtight – although it will keep your coffee fresh and prevent spillage. This might make side gusset pouches unsuitable for bulk packaging.

Corina advises that to prevent a loss of freshness and ensure your coffee is enjoyed at its best, degassing valves should be considered. Degassing valves are one-way vents that allow the carbon dioxide (CO2) to escape without letting oxygen enter. 

Although they’re not vital for all coffee pouches, their inclusion provides added flexibility for consumers, while eliminating the risk of the bag bursting due to a buildup of CO2.

coffee packaging design

Side gusset pouches offer roasters the best of both worlds. If you’re looking for an affordable coffee packaging solution that lets you store more coffee using less material, this option is for you.

To make sure that you end up with the size, design, and dimensions that you’re happy with, partner with an expert in coffee packaging. MTPak Coffee has helped roasters from around the world select the perfect package for their branding and coffee products. 

Let us guide you on your next step towards selecting the perfect packaging for your needs.

For more information on our sustainable packaging solutions, contact our team here.

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