The art of custom coffee bags: MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards

Holly Szakal
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December 7, 2023
custom coffee bags, MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards, custom printed coffee bags, Trailhead Coffee Roasters

Traditionally, coffee bags were merely used to transport roasted coffee. However, customisation has transformed how specialty coffee roasters and cafes around the world approach their coffee packaging. Today, custom coffee bags have become one of the most effective ways for brands to stand out and communicate with customers around the world. 

In today’s marketing landscape, specialty coffee wouldn’t be the thriving industry it’s become without the branded packaging to suit. Custom coffee bags have become a major focus for brands looking to influence consumers’ buying decisions and boost brand awareness. 

In a recent survey, 72% of respondents admitted that the aesthetic of a product’s packaging significantly affected their choices when making a purchase. 

To learn more about the importance of investing in custom coffee bags, I spoke with Charlie Wicker, the owner of Trailhead Coffee Roasters in Portland, Oregon. 

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Custom coffee bags: The importance of packaging design

The use of custom coffee bags can be highly beneficial for coffee roasters and cafes. Custom coffee packaging can be tailored to the brand and product, making it instantly recognisable and alluring to customers.

“I think coffee packaging has always been a reflection of the producer,” explains Charlie. “Packaging always tries to answer the question of what the coffee tastes like and who is making it.


“Custom packaging that reflects what you’re doing in the coffee space is often the only way to communicate with a potential customer,” he adds. “Conveying your message with an elegant and thoughtful design that resonates will drive coffee drinkers to your brand. Will they buy a second bag? That depends on what’s inside.” 

Traditional methods of printing on packaging, such as flexography and rotogravure, have been around for decades. However, the modernisation of digital printing and sustainable packaging has made it easier for coffee roasters and brands to add a bit of spark and brand character to their coffee bags.

As digital printing can combine the four base colours of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, it can match any colour required. Additionally, it can use up to seven toners to create better colour coverage. It’s this creative flair that communicates a brand’s personality to customers and helps to build a relationship. 

Developing a connection with a brand requires consumers to form an emotional connection, which is ‌influenced by the perceived trustworthiness and dependability of the brand.

A 5% boost in customer loyalty has the potential to enhance profits by as much as 95% over time. Loyal customers are more inclined to embrace new products and actively want to stick around for the long haul, thus boosting profits.

Beyond this, specialty coffee roasters can use custom coffee bags to convey brand values and the company ethos. Additionally, custom packaging can reflect information around sustainability, fair-trade coffee, or ethical wages. Creative coffee bag design plays a pivotal role in building a long term customer-to-brand connection.

custom coffee bags, MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards, custom printed coffee bags, Trailhead Coffee Roasters

Custom printed coffee bags boost impulse sales

Notably, studies show attractive and creative packaging design is the number one driver of impulse purchases. Additionally, up to 40% of purchases made in supermarkets are impulse buys.

“Your coffee packaging is a marketing vehicle that can influence customers,” Charlie says. “And, seemingly minor details, such as its colour, can influence whether they purchase your coffee.” 

“For example, the block bottom design is most popular because of how nicely it sits on the shelf,” he adds. “Instead of leaning or tipping over, it stands robustly, like an architecturally robust building. Moreover, choosing recycled and compostable packaging speaks to the ethos and sustainability of the business.”

Trailhead Coffee Roasters uses coffee bags made from plant-based materials, which make them and their degassing valves home compostable. Compostable coffee packaging boasts a 500% reduction in carbon emissions compared to traditional plastic coffee bags.

“We’ve given packaging a lot of thought,” Charlie reflects. “Trailhead is pivoting from compostable to recyclable plastic as a strong ecological move.” When asked why, he explains that most composting programmes do not accept these bags, and even in areas where they are accepted, most consumers end up throwing them into landfill-destined waste. 

“Compostable items in landfills generate methane, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas, making compostable bags the most planet-harming option. Part of our ethics is sustainability, and choosing the most sustainable packaging is a big part of it,” he says. 

custom coffee bags, MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards, custom printed coffee bags, Trailhead Coffee Roasters

Submit your custom coffee bag design and WIN!

“At MTPak Coffee, we help create thousands of bespoke coffee packaging designs. We wanted to give our clients, and other specialty coffee roasters around the world, an opportunity to showcase the artistry of their packaging,” says brand founder, Mark Zhou, when speaking about the newly launched MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards

As the specialty coffee industry continues to boom, coffee bag design has emerged as a valid form of art for the modern world. The 2023 MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards are designed to champion coffee bag design excellence in the specialty coffee industry.

If you believe that your coffee bag design is the cream of the crop, and effectively draws in your customers, we encourage you to submit your entry. 

The grand winner of the 2023 MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards will win $5,000 cash to continue building their business and setting an example for the coffee industry. Alternatively, the winner can opt for $15,000 in credit that can be redeemed on MTPak Coffee packaging and cups.

The final winner and all finalists will also receive the coveted MTPak Coffee Packaging Design seal as an acknowledgement of their success. This seal can be added to your coffee bags, marketing materials, and website to highlight your packaging’s honoured position. 

Applications for the awards are open to specialty coffee roasters from around the world. Entries for the competition will close at 11.59PM on 2 January 2024. Entries for the MTPak Coffe Packaging Design Awards are restricted to one entry per person. 

In order to be considered for the prize, entrants must please fill in the entry form in its entirety. Entrants must include 3 images with their entry. All images must be uploaded in JPG form. 

Submit your entry now!

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