Ensuring your custom coffee bags appeal to an international audience

Holly Szakal
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December 21, 2023
custom coffee bags, custom printed coffee bags, custom coffee bags for an international market, Terbodore Coffee Roasters, custom coffee packaging, custom printed coffee packaging

With every year that passes, the wholesale coffee market becomes more competitive. Notably, the 2022 valuation of the worldwide specialty coffee market reached $39 million. Beyond this, it’s estimated to grow by an additional 55.25% in the years to come. 

In light of this, more brands strive to take their product international to grow the business and increase revenue. Investing in custom coffee bags can be a highly effective way to ensure your product appeals to consumers overseas. 

In the current competitive market, coffee bags have become crucial elements of brand identity. Furthermore, they are a key component of a wholesaler’s marketing strategy, helping a brand stand out and connect with consumers on a personal level.

Packaging is the first interaction consumers have with your brand before they experience the coffee. Therefore, ensuring first impressions are shaped into positive thoughts is crucial to creating a positive brand perception. 

To learn more about how brands can ensure their custom coffee bags appeal to international consumers, I spoke to Hugh Pines, the media manager at Terbodore Coffee Roasters in the Western Cape of South Africa. 

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Breaking into the international specialty coffee market

Packaging design is one of the few forms of advertising a brand is likely to invest in outside of social media channels. Therefore, more brands are using the power of custom coffee bags to tap into a wider global market.

While higher profits and increased revenue often come with challenges, understanding a few crucial elements can help you mitigate their severity. 

Entering the international specialty coffee market requires a comprehensive approach. For example, it will require you to reflect on the early days of researching your local target market – with a few additional things to consider.

Begin by gaining a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the global market you’re attempting to target. This is vital, as cultural sensitivity is crucial when reaching out to an international audience.

This includes understanding global design preferences and trends, as well as the behaviour of other competitors in the space. This term is called ‘internationalisation’ and refers to the creation of a culture-neutral branding message that can be used across many regions.

Beyond this, you should avoid culture-specific slang or phrases, humour, or, in some cases, metaphors. More importantly, you must ensure the brand name or product translates appropriately into the local language – a key detail many forget. 

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How custom printed coffee bags build brand trust

An example of a brand that neglected to consider sound internationalisation is Unilever. The brand introduced its range of Sunsilk Shampoos into the Middle Eastern market. However, in many countries across the region, the packaging design was deemed inappropriate as it did not display a woman wearing a hijab. 

This proved to be quite an obstacle for the brand, which had already spent thousands of dollars and hours on this global approach. That said, the brand adapted its strategy to include such cultural expectations by placing a hijab on the front of the shampoo packet. 

But how could the brand visually communicate the results of the product if the model’s hair is covered? Essentially, it was back to the drawing board, with thousands of dollars invested in a small mistake that could have been avoided through thorough internationalisation.

Effective branding online and in-store plays a vital role in creating awareness and generating interest in your coffee. Custom printed coffee bags can be tailored to cultural nuances and trends to enhance the appeal of your product. 

One coffee business that has successfully broken into the international market from its humble South African beginnings is Terbodore Coffee Roasters. Hugh Pines has worked with the brand for over six years, and says it’s important to “make sure your packaging has a solid, consistent design that is unique but also has mass appeal.” 

Outside of product packaging and marketing messages, the product itself must match the preferences of the target market. For example, consider which flavour profiles are common in the market, and which coffee origins are usually popular. Then you can customise your product to suit the local palate. 

Another factor to consider is the sustainability of your product and its packaging. Global certifications such as Fair Trade or Organic can increase brand credibility and appeal to socially and environmentally conscious consumers. 

For example, investing in custom printed kraft paper coffee bags can instantly communicate your brand’s commitment to sustainability. Kraft paper is one of the primary materials used in the coffee sector. It’s used for everything from pouches to takeaway cups to subscription boxes.

Beyond this, research shows customers strongly prefer paper packaging over plastic and would choose a retailer offering paper over one that doesn’t. Due to the nature of kraft paper, it’s more likely to satisfy customer concerns and encourage them to recycle. Customers are more likely to recycle packaging when they’re confident it will be turned into something new, as is the case with kraft paper.

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Designing custom coffee bags for international audiences

Research shows well-designed packaging that conveys a story and catches consumer attention is key to delivering brand value and gaining more customers. One survey reveals 72% of American consumers say a product’s packaging design affected their decision to buy. 

Furthermore, three out of ten businesses claim they observed a significant increase in revenue following packaging improvement. Hugh says that working with a packaging designer is key. “Use true professionals. They know what they’re doing and what catches a consumer’s eye,” he adds. “The bag must also sit nicely on the shelf and be easy to open and use if resealable.”

Terbodore Coffee uses flat-bottom coffee bags that are fitted with a resealable zipper. The bags come in a variety of bright colours and designs that differ depending on the coffee and profile. The brand has an array of packaging options for each of its products, helping it appeal to various consumers. More so, the brand has ensured each form of packaging has superior barrier properties to ensure the product is fresh when it reaches overseas consumers. 

Understanding your international target market’s visual preferences can yield big results in return and deepen the consumer-brand connection. MTPak can help you create custom brand packaging that ensures your reach into the international market is successful. 

We offer multilayer flexible coffee pouches for a range of products, including roasted, ground, ready-to-drink (RTD), and cold brew coffee. Our flexible coffee packaging options can be fully customised to your specifications, including shape and size. 

More so, our custom coffee bags offer high-barrier protection, while being made from biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable materials that will help reduce your carbon footprint. Choose to include sustainable components such as resealable zippers, tin ties, spouts, and degassing valves to preserve product freshness. 

Images courtesy of Terbodore Coffee Roasters

For more information on custom coffee bags, contact our team

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