Could takeaway offerings help coffee shops during the energy crisis?

Hayley Osbourne
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March 24, 2023
An image of an espresso machine filling a takeaway coffee cup in an article on how coffee shops can use takeaway coffee to survive the energy crisis.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, takeaway offerings became one of the few ways for several coffee shops and roasteries could earn a profit. 

Several brands adapted quickly and managed to survive the restrictions that saw many other businesses close. However, a factor roasters and coffee shops could not predict was an energy crisis. 

Current energy supplies cannot meet demand, and energy prices are higher than ever. These price hikes are affecting not only the living conditions of individuals but entire industries, including specialty coffee. 

Discover how takeaway coffee offerings could help businesses reduce overhead costs during the energy crisis. 

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How the energy crisis is affecting the coffee industry

The global energy crisis began in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortages in the oil, gas and electricity markets have affected most of the world. 

The situation escalated in the wake of the Russo-Ukraine conflict in 2022. Top energy companies left Russia, forcing them to write off billions of dollars in assets. 

As energy is a shared situation globally, this has had a knock-on effect worldwide

The global crisis has affected coffee farmers in numerous ways. One of the fundamental changes has been to their farming methods. 

Due to pandemic-based labour shortages, manual farming methods were no longer feasible, as they would take longer. Therefore, farms using these methods had to switch to mechanised processes. 

The mechanical equipment required to do this runs on fossil fuels, which are currently running low. 

Fossil fuels are “nonrenewable”, which means they are in limited supply. Once a renewable resource is used up, it is gone for good. 

The increasing costs of these fossil fuels have led to inflated coffee prices, making it less affordable for many consumers. 

This means the farms’ outgoing costs are steadily rising, but sales are unable to increase to the same level, leading to gaining a smaller profit.

An image of baristas working the cashier in a coffee shop in an article on how coffee shops can use takeaway coffee to survive the energy crisis.

How can coffee shops survive the global energy crisis?

Coffee shops can navigate the crisis by retaining customers and optimising energy efficiency.  

One of the most effective ways to start is by upgrading to energy-efficient machinery. This is an investment that could save a company a significant amount of money over time. 

For instance, a flat white or a latte has a carbon footprint of 250 grams. This amount includes everything along the supply chain, from transporting the coffee to brewing the cup. 

Therefore, coffee machines used in cafes and restaurants are responsible for some of the footprint. 

Espresso machines use the most amount of electricity out of all types of coffee machines. They heat water and pressurise it to pressure far higher than single-serve coffee machines, which gives the espresso its distinctive flavour.

While technological upgrades to espresso machines, such as shot timers and scales, have made them more effective, they are yet to become more energy efficient. 

Notably, research shows infrequently used espresso machines use up to 5,000 kWh per year – twice as much as the average home in the UK. 

More so, a moderately busy coffee machine uses around 10,000 kWh per year and is responsible for carbon emissions of 2,920kg. This accounts for more than an average return aeroplane flight. 

Investing in a coffee machine that uses less electricity can save coffee shops a lot of money while helping to reduce the business’s carbon footprint. 

This is not only a financial benefit but also an effective selling point when attracting customers who prioritise sustainability. 

According to statistics, indoor lighting accounts for 20% of global energy use, with it set to increase to 40% in the coming years. 

Businesses can save money and reduce energy use by investing in automatic lighting that only turns on when motion is detected in the area. 

This form of lighting can be particularly useful in low-traffic areas, such as bathrooms and warehouses.

Additionally, water-efficient toilets can help coffee shops reduce costs. An effective example is the Roca eco-friendly toilet and sink

The sink is designed to sit on top of the toilet’s water tank. This allows the internal system to capture water from the sink. 

This water is then filtered and used to fill up the tank so it can be used to flush the toilet. It is a sustainable solution that saves both water and money. 

An image of a barista handing a coffee consumer a cup of takeaway coffee, a takeaway coffee cup made from kraft paper in an article on how coffee shops can use takeaway coffee to survive the energy crisis.

How can takeaway offerings help coffee shops?

Takeaway options helped businesses stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are likely to help coffee shops survive the energy crisis. 

For example, Starbucks Korea experienced a sales increase of 32% from January to February 2020 because of takeaways, compared to the same months in 2019. 

This is because takeaway coffee is extremely convenient for consumers. Notably, the global takeaway coffee market was worth $37.8 billion in 2022.

Particularly prevalent in large cities, takeaway coffee is beneficial to the public as it provides the ease of getting a barista-made, high-quality beverage while commuting, running errands, or socialising. 

Furthermore, coffee shops exclusively offering takeaway coffee can reduce their water use, as there is no need to wash cups. 

Takeaway coffee cups and food packaging made from sustainable or biodegradable materials such as bamboo fibre, polylactic acid (PLA), or kraft paper, can help companies become eco-friendly and save on overhead costs.  

MTPak Coffee can provide you with sustainable, custom-printed coffee packaging, takeaway coffee cups, cup sleeves, and takeaway packaging made from sustainable materials, such as kraft paper, or PET with a PLA lining.

In addition to being 100% compostable, our cups are strong, waterproof, and lightweight. Our design team is also able to work with you to custom print your takeaway coffee packaging to your specifications.

At MTPak Coffee, we use innovative and eco-friendly digital printing technology with sustainable water-based inks that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are highly resistant to abrasion, heat, and water.

Our range of cups is available in different sizes: 4 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, 12 oz, and 24 oz. Each one is available to order as either single or double wall, while customisable sleeves are available for all three sizes.

We also offer a range of low minimum order quantity (MOQ) options. This means you can order as few as 500 fully customised units in just five working days.

For more information on how to customise sustainable takeaway coffee packaging, contact our team.

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