How to prevent your coffee beans from being damaged in transit

Jane Merchant
February 4, 2022
coffee packaging transit

Online shopping for at-home consumption is increasing the demand for specialty coffee. This trend is allowing roasters to reach a wider market than before.

The compound annual growth rate for coffee is projected to increase by 4.28% by 2026. Undoubtedly, roasters will be looking for ways to capitalise on this growth.

This may require roasters to have an intermediary deliver coffee directly to consumers. However, once the coffee leaves the roastery and begins the journey to the consumer, it is largely out of the roaster’s control. 

However, by choosing the right multilayer flexible packaging, roasters can improve the chances of their coffee arriving in peak condition. 

Read on to find out how multilayer coffee packaging can prevent damage to your coffee beans during transit.

coffee delivery

Why is it important to protect your coffee in transit?

As a roaster, you may need to shift the delivery of your coffee to a third-party service provider. This means your coffee could pass through more touchpoints than it would during a traditional retail transaction.

On average, an ecommerce package is dropped 17 times en route to its destination, while over a third of online products are returned due to damage. When it comes to coffee, where contamination is a concern, the number of returns may be higher.

The cost of replacing a damaged product is more than a financial one. Even if your business is not directly responsible for the damage, it can impact repeat sales, customer loyalty, and your brand image.

It also has a negative impact on your sustainability efforts, as you will have to dispense the same order again with additional packaging.

roasted coffee

How can the conditions in transit affect your coffee?

Bumps and jolts en route can be a problem, as can the rough handling of packages by delivery people. This may result in chipped or broken coffee beans, and increase the likelihood of presenting your customer with an unusable product.

Many delivery companies place the responsibility on business’ to protect their products against external elements While it is important to ensure your coffee is properly protected, you do not want your product packaging to be damaged either.

Not only could it obscure important information printed on the label, but a scratched or torn package will not present your brand in the best light.

sustainable coffee bags

How can you protect your coffee en route?

First, choosing the right-sized packaging is essential. Ideally, you want a pouch that can house the required volume of coffee while also allowing headspace.

Headspace refers to an air-filled gap that sits above the coffee beans. It protects the coffee by providing a small cushion while giving the beans space to degas. This helps create a carbon-rich environment that prevents the coffee from losing freshness too quickly.

Second, if you choose to package your coffee immediately after roasting, bags equipped with degassing valves are the best option.

These one-way vents allow the coffee to slowly release carbon dioxide (CO2), and other gases. They also prevent oxygen from entering the package and altering the coffee’s flavour.

If the packaging does not have a degassing valve, the gases cannot escape and the bag may swell or split.

Additional components 

Flexible pouches are lightweight and have a better product to storage ratio. This type of multilayer packaging does not take up as much space as rigid packaging.

This improves space efficiency during transit without increasing your costs. Furthermore, flexible pouches can be packed upright, so they can be easily stacked in larger boxes for transportation.

Adding resealable zippers to flexible pouches can help preserve the coffee’s freshness during transit.

These seals are a press-to-close zipper style where interlocking pieces snap into place. This prevents the zipper from opening.

As this packaging can be used more than once, this further highlights your commitment to sustainability. Additionally, resealable features on packaging provide a more convenient product for customers.

recyclable coffee bags

Size and materials of packaging

Generally, packaging is different depending on whether it’s for retail or ecommerce.

For ecommerce, it’s important that bags can easily fit through the average letterbox. A letterbox-compatible coffee bag will reduce the risk of damage if forced through a small opening.

It may also prevent the product from being left on a doorstep, where it will be exposed to the elements or stolen.

Materials are another important factor to consider.

If you do not want to use plastic packaging for long-haul transit, numerous multilayer coffee packaging options are available. These combine materials such as kraft paper and PLA to create a fully compostable product.

Packing coffee bags

The best way to ensure your coffee does not move around during transit is to ensure it is easy to stack. This can be done by packing your coffee bags into large boxes.

To further protect your product, you can choose to pad the boxes with strips of recyclable cardboard or biodegradable packing peanuts.

In the past, packing peanuts were commonly made from expanded polystyrene foam, which made them harmful to the environment.

However, biodegradable peanuts are now readily available. These are made from natural, nontoxic sources such as wheat and corn starch.

Additionally, they can be dissolved in water and further used as compost. However, this option comes at a higher cost, as biodegradable packing peanuts weigh more than those made from polystyrene.

sustainable coffee packaging

Choosing the right packaging is essential to protect your coffee while it is in transit.

It involves selecting the correct size, shape, and materials. It will also involve integrating additional components such as degassing valves and strong resealable zips. 

On top of this, you want to ensure your packaging looks good and gives consumers the right impression of your brand. 

MTPak Coffee has years of experience in supplying roasters with sustainable coffee bags for ecommerce use. Our range of sustainable coffee packaging features a number of different sizes and materials, all of which are recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable.

We also use sustainable printing methods, such as UV printing, while our water-based inks are fully recyclable.

For more information on our sustainable coffee bags, contact our team.

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