Understanding which coffee bag structure is right for you

JP Blignaut
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March 6, 2023
An image of a coffee consumer holding an armful of coffee bags, in various structures, in an article on coffee bag structures

Coffee packaging today has become a powerful marketing tool for roasters and coffee shops worldwide.

Packaging has the power to influence how customers perceive a brand, which is a crucial aspect of building brand loyalty.  

Therefore, determining the ideal coffee bag structure and design can have a significant impact on your business, its brand, and its ability to be recognised in a highly competitive market.

A key challenge in choosing the right coffee bag structure is functionality. In addition to storing the coffee and keeping it fresh, the bag must be durable enough to handle transit and attractive enough to entice customers.

Read on to discover which coffee bag structure is best for you.

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The significance of coffee bag structures

Several studies show consumers are likely to decide on a purchase within 90 seconds of coming into contact with a product.

Therefore, when consumers lay their hands on your coffee bag, it needs to make an impact instantaneously.

Understanding the importance of coffee bag structures is key. The shape of your coffee packaging has the power to influence both consumer interaction and brand communication,

When determining the right coffee bag structure, there are several factors to consider, in addition to its size.

For instance, you will have to consider the production and shipping costs, as well as how the design and any added accessories will appear on the packaging.

More importantly, you will have to consider what materials the packaging will be made of, its effectiveness, and its sustainability.

This is particularly important as a growing number of studies show sustainable packaging materials can help grow customer loyalty.

As the main purpose of a coffee bag is to keep the roast beans fresh, you will also have to consider how it will be sealed.

Some of the most effective ways to seal coffee packaging are to use resealable zippers or tin ties. Both allow consumers to open and close the bag after each use, without the beans losing aromatics or becoming stale.

The way in which your coffee packaging is sealed plays an important role in the logistics and transportation of your product.

For example, if your bags are being shipped across different regions, they will need to remain airtight at all times to ensure customer satisfaction.

An image of custom printed coffee bags, black multilayer coffee bags with custom hot pink printing, of different coffee bag structures, in an article on coffee bag structures

What are the different coffee bag structures?

While their purpose remains the same, each coffee bag structure is different.

Therefore, it is important to understand how each differs in order to help you make the right decision for your business and customers.

Stand-up coffee pouches

Stand-up pouches are one of the most common forms of flexible packaging seen in the coffee industry.

The design differs from other pouches because it has a W-shaped gusset at the base. When the bag is opened, it forms a sturdy, free-standing bottom. 

Some stand-up coffee pouches have features such as spouts or resealable zippers. Most will use a degassing valve to preserve the freshness of the product inside. 

It is important to note that when packaging coffee, stand-up pouches tend to be multilayered. For instance, the exterior may be made of kraft paper, while the interior layer is often aluminium foil.

Therefore, it is essential that disassembly and recycling instructions are custom-printed on the coffee bag to help consumers dispose of it responsibly. 

Flat-bottom coffee bags

Flat-bottom coffee bags are five-sided, free-standing pouches with a flat, rectangular base.

This form of bag structure has material for greater space and strength, known as gussets, on both the left and right side of the pouch, with a fastener on top. 

They offer a large surface area to communicate brand identity, and can be manufactured from a variety of materials, from kraft paper to polylactic acid (PLA).

Versatile and spacious, flat-bottom pouches are popular among those with a strong brand identity thanks to their large printable surface. On the shelf, they act as an effective marketing tool with a sturdy structure, flat front-facing side, and sufficient space for labels.

Notably, most flat-bottom pouches are made with multiple layers to protect against external factors such as light, oxygen, moisture, and heat.

Quad seal coffee pouches

Quad seal pouches are a traditional yet highly effective packaging solution thanks to their versatility, rigid structure, and branding space.

The quad seal pouch, also known as a block bottom, flat bottom, or box pouch, comprises five panels with four vertical seals.

When full, the bottom seal flattens out completely into a rectangle, providing a stable, rigid structure that prevents the coffee from being easily knocked over. Whether on the shelf or in transit, they hold their shape well thanks to their sturdy design.

Side gusset coffee pouches

A side gusset coffee bag is, essentially, 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.

In addition to their branding potential, side gusset pouches are among the most sustainable types of packaging used for coffee. They can be made from sustainable materials including kraft paper, PLA, rice paper, and low-density polyethylene (LDPE).

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.

Shaped coffee pouches

Of all the packaging types available, shaped coffee pouches offer the highest potential for creativity. 

Shaped coffee pouches can be customised to any shape and colour – which helps them to attract attention and reflect the distinct characteristics of the product inside.

This coffee bag structure does well for several offerings, including whole beans, cold brew coffee, and other ready-to-drink offerings.

Additionally, shaped pouches are extremely versatile as they can be stood upright for display purposes, or laid down for storage. 

That said, there are limits to the size in which shaped pouches are available. More so, unique shapes may drive up design costs.

An image of white, multilayered coffee bags on a shelf to display the different coffee bag structures available in an article on coffee bag structures

What to consider when choosing your coffee bag structure

While it is important to consider your branding when choosing your coffee bag, equally important is choosing the materials from which they will be made.

Traditionally, coffee shop owners and roasters opted for petroleum-based plastic bags, which can take decades to decompose. However, this is no longer a sustainable option.

Therefore, more sustainable alternatives, such as paper and biodegradable materials, have become more popular. 

Several studies show switching to alternative packaging solutions can help reduce a business’s carbon emissions by as much as 70%.

MTPak Coffee can help you find the ideal coffee bag structure for your business – made entirely from sustainable materials

Shop our range of 100% recyclable coffee packaging structures from quad seal bags, stand-up pouches, side gusset coffee bags, and more.

Furthermore, we offer a range of customisable coffee boxes made from 100% recycled cardboard. These are ideal options for roasters who wish to test out a new design without overwhelming customers.

Choose from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining.

We offer a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time, and low minimum order quantities (MOQs).

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

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JP Blignaut
JP Blignaut

JP is a writer for MTPak Coffee and is very passionate about his craft.

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