Spot UV: The latest trend in customised coffee bags?

Hayley Osbourne
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February 16, 2023

Packaging such as coffee bags are high-touch objects and are often handled by several people.

To prevent smudges and fingerprints from compromising the design of the coffee bag, some roasters choose to use a spot UV finish. 

Also known as spot gloss or spot varnish, spot UV has become a popular coating technique in the coffee industry. It involves applying a clear, shiny coating to certain areas of a design in order to create an eye-catching contrast on the coffee bag. 

While a spot UV coating will protect the surface it covers, its primary function is for decorative effect. Light bouncing off the coated section of the coffee bag can be a highly effective way to capture a consumer’s attention. 

As a result, more roasters are using this effect on their packaging to help increase the perceived value of their coffee. 

Read on to find out how spot UV is being used on customised coffee bags and whether it will suit your brand. 

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What is spot UV on coffee bags?

Essentially, spot Ultraviolet (UV) is the finishing touch on a printing project. 

It is a coating that can be applied to different marketing materials. It is often found on magazine covers, business cards, brochures, and packaging, such as coffee bags and boxes.

Spot UV is a tough, clear coating of polymer that is applied in liquid form and spread across a die-cut film template. 

This template is then placed over the packaging material to ensure only the required elements of the design are coated. The area is then exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, which bonds and dries it instantly. 

Spot UV is often used when a roaster may only want the logo on the coffee bag coated with spot UV, ensuring it is the first thing customers see.

The technique has appeared on the packaging for several specialty coffee roasters, including the German-based roastery, Wild Kaffee.

The brand uses spot UV to bring attention to its brand name and certain design elements across the coffee bag.

For example, the brand’s bag of El Salvador Espresso features a spot UV finish on the red moon illustration – ensuring it stands out on its black background. 

An image of spot UV used on compostable coffee packaging made from kraft paper, spot UV customised coffee bags in an article on spot UV on customised coffee bags

Benefits of using spot UV on coffee packaging

Using a spot UV coating on coffee packaging comes with several benefits.

For instance, it is a highly effective way to convey premium quality through branding. Keeping the design simple, and using spot UV on a particular area of design can create a sophisticated, luxurious-looking product.

Offering a luxury product can help widen a company’s appeal to a new market of customers and help create a more recognisable coffee product.

Additionally, the texture of spot UV can be tailored to a brand’s preference.

While a high gloss and smooth texture of commonly used, other textures that resemble the feel of wood, sand, and even cloth are also available.

This variety allows brands to choose a texture that suits the brands personality and branding.

More so, humans are genetically designed to respond to touch. Therefore, coffee packaging with spot UV helps to engage the senses and reinforces sensory recall – an essential part of the coffee-drinking experience.

Sensory marketing uses the texture, text, colour, and imagery on packaging to positively impact a customer’s purchasing decisions. 

Some of the strongest and most relevant senses to coffee would be sight and touch. Research shows when a product catches a customer’s attention, they are likely to want to touch it as well. 

Furthermore, as spot UV sets as a hardened layer, it is able to offer additional protection to the coffee bag’s design, and its contents.  

As well as protecting against wear and tear, it may help extend the coffee’s shelf life by helping keep moisture and dust out of the bag.

While spot UV may appear as an added and unnecessary expense, it can provide roasters with more value for their money: it helps extend the product’s shelf life while increasing its aesthetic appeal.

An image of a black coffee bag with a spot UV finish, spot UV customised coffee bags, in an article on spot UV on customised coffee bags

Is spot UV on coffee bags environmentally friendly?

Spot UV is an incredibly versatile printing finish that can be used on several packaging materials.

The technique is commonly used on compostable and biodegradable substrates, such as kraft paper and recycled cardboard.

More so, the process of applying spot UV to packaging is considered an environmentally friendly process.

Without the need for mercury lamps to dry inks, the process requires less electricity. Notably, the LED lamps used instead may last up to 10 times longer, as they switch off between uses, reducing energy consumption.

Additionally, the majority of the varnishes used for spot UV printing are free of harmful chemicals 

It is important to note that UV-coated materials are now included in the “mixed waste” category of recycled stock. 

MTPak Coffee understands the need to offer high-quality, attractive coffee packaging that is also sustainable. 

Our range of packaging options is made from renewable materials. Our coffee boxes are made using 100% recycled cardboard, while our sustainable coffee bags are made using kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining

Our coffee bags and coffee boxes can be customised to reflect your brand’s characteristics, as well as vital information about your product.

MTPak Coffee offers a wide range of customisation techniques, including spot UV with a glossy, satin, or matte finish, embossing and debossing, as well as hot foil stamping in a variety of colours.

We also offer our clients a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time in addition to low minimum order quantities (MOQs) for those looking to remain agile while showcasing a commitment to the environment.

For more information on how you can use a spot UV finish on sustainable coffee packaging, contact our team.

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Hayley Osbourne
Hayley Osbourne

Hayley is a writer for MTPak Coffee and is very passionate about her craft.

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