Gold on coffee packaging: How to strike a balance

Nuvin Sithanen
August 22, 2023
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Few aspects of coffee packaging have more of an influence on consumer behaviour than colour. It plays a pivotal role in marketing strategies, as colours can make people feel happy or melancholy, alter perceptions of flavour, and even compel consumers to make purchases.

One colour that often stands above the rest is gold. Often associated with success, affluence, and happiness, gold on coffee packaging has the potential to elevate a brand’s image and create a sense of sophistication. 

That said, specialty coffee roasters must weigh the impact of using gold on packaging to avoid unintended negative impressions. Gold is anything but modest, and too much may come across as arrogant or smug. 

To learn how to strike the ideal balance when using golf on coffee packaging, I spoke with David Katrňák, Chief Operating Officer at Coffeespot in Babice, Czech Republic, and Frederik Dreyer, co-founder of Gegrond Coffee in South Africa.

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Gold: The colour of success?

Both as a mineral and a colour, gold has a rich history of symbolising prosperity and luxury – making it a powerful colour choice when packaging premium products. 

In colour psychology, gold is commonly associated with positive emotions, often evoking feelings of warmth, joy, and happiness. This connection can create a positive emotional response from consumers. Additionally, it can make them associate the product with success and fulfilment. 

Research studies have consistently shown that colour plays a significant role in consumer behaviour. One study shows approximately 62% to 90% of snap judgments made about products are based on colour alone. 

Incorporating gold elements into coffee packaging can evoke an aspirational response from consumers. Furthermore, it can position the product as one that signifies success and an elevated experience.

However, the use of gold elements requires careful consideration. While gold is associated with luxury and prestige, some consumers may perceive excessive use of gold as ‘kitsch’ or ‘gaudy’. This impression could potentially tarnish the brand’s image and deter discerning buyers. 

A study by the Journal of Business Research found consumers tend to perceive luxury packaging as excessive and less environmentally friendly. Therefore, a delicate balance must be struck to harness the positive attributes of gold while avoiding any adverse connotations.

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Using gold elements on coffee bags

Several specialty coffee roasters have successfully employed gold elements in packaging design to create a memorable and visually captivating experience for consumers. For instance, embossed gold logos add a tactile dimension to coffee packaging. This can give the product packaging a sense of exclusivity and craftsmanship. 

Onyx Coffee often uses gold embossing on its custom coffee boxes, creating a sense of luxury and enticing the consumer to explore its contents further. The brand couples its use of gold with subtle complementary colours, such as black, coal grey, royal blue, and burgundy. 

Another example is Pacandé Kaffeerösterei, which custom-printed cream-white coffee bags feature gold illustrations. Each detailed illustration represents a region from where the brand sources its coffee. 

Coffeespot recently revealed the packaging design for its festive coffee offerings. The recyclable, resealable coffee bags feature three Christmas tree illustrations on a metallic gold background. The contrasting white and black colours of the simple illustrations stand out against the eye-catching background. 

“We used a local manufacturer to create this exclusive packaging,” David explains. “The gold colour instantly caught our attention, and we’re delighted with the outcome.” By posting an image of the custom coffee packaging on Instagram, Coffeespot has ensured its consumers know what to look for when the festive season arrives. 

The use of gold accents can also draw the consumers’ attention to essential aspects of the coffee, such as awards. “The gold seal we add to our coffee bags is the golden medal Gegrond received when we took first place in the ‘A Shot In The Dark Roasting Competition’,” Frederik explains.

Held annually in South Africa, the competition is hosted by Coffee Magazine and Genio. “The seal symbolises our commitment to quality and educates the consumer on our recognition received within our own industry.”

Understanding consumer emotions is vital for effective packaging design. For some demographics, the allure of gold may reinforce a sense of reward for hard work, making the product more appealing and resonant. 

Essentially, gold’s association with success and prosperity can create a subconscious connection between consumers’ personal aspirations and the coffee product itself.

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What to consider when using gold on coffee packaging

While the use of gold elements can be impactful, coffee roasters must be cautious of potential pitfalls to ensure brand alignment and customer appeal. 

  • Brand consistency: Roasters must ensure the use of gold aligns with the overall brand identity. Inconsistency across coffee packaging and branding may lead to confusion and weaken the brand’s positioning.
  • Target market perception: Roasters must research and understand the preferences and values of the target market. Consumer demographics and cultural nuances can influence the perception of gold elements in coffee packaging.
  • Sustainability concerns: In the era of increasing environmental consciousness, consumers are mindful of excessive packaging and non-recyclable materials. Therefore, roasters should explore eco-friendly alternatives or sustainable packaging solutions to align with consumers’ values.

Gold elements on coffee packaging hold the potential to create a captivating and emotionally resonant experience for consumers. When used thoughtfully and strategically, gold can elevate a brand’s image, attract discerning customers, and reinforce the product’s premium positioning. 

As consumer preferences evolve, it is crucial for roasters to leverage colour psychology and design principles to create packaging that resonates with their audience. Plus, that packaging needs to set their coffee products apart in the competitive market. 

With a thoughtful and balanced approach, gold elements can be a powerful asset for coffee roasters seeking to leave a lasting impression and build strong brand loyalty.

At MTPak Coffee, our team of expert designers has decades of experience creating custom-printed coffee bags that reflect brand identity and stand out on the shelf. We use innovative digital printing technology to ensure your colour coffee bags are consistent across all marketing channels. 

We can help you select from a range of sustainable materials and additional components to design the perfect packaging for your needs. We offer a choice of 100% compostable or recyclable packaging options such as kraft paper or rice paper. Both options are natural, biodegradable and compostable. Additional choices include PLA and LDPE coffee bags. 

For more information about custom coffee packaging, contact our team

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