How sustainable coffee bags elevate the consumer experience

Sam Shipiti
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April 19, 2024

Unless consumption and waste management habits undergo rapid change, the planet could accumulate almost 12 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste by 2050. This is according to a report by the United Nations (UN). Therefore, it’s unsurprising that environmental concerns around single-use product packaging have taken centre stage in the minds of consumers.

The specialty coffee industry is no stranger to modern consumer expectations. Notably, the sector has rapidly evolved with several new sustainability efforts, such as opting for eco-friendly materials in-store and beyond. Throughout this shift, the industry has become abuzz with discussions centering on the adoption of sustainable coffee bags.

Made with renewable, natural packaging materials, sustainable coffee bags appeal to a growing number of eco-conscious consumers. They also have a lower carbon and water footprint and ultimately contribute much less to landfills. 

So, how can you ensure your sustainable coffee bags highlight your brand ethics while elevating the consumer experience? I spoke to Ben Charalambous, the founder of RiSE Coffee Box, to find out. 

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Why the consumer experience is critical for brand success

In essence, the customer experience refers to the overall impression a brand creates in the minds and hearts of its customers. It extends further than the product or service to include every interaction and touchpoint the customer has with the brand. 

Reports indicate that companies that excel in customer experience management (CXM) increase sales at a rate of between 4% and 8% higher than the market average. This is because a stellar experience can create strong brand loyalty and convert consumers into promoters. 

Ben and Alice emphasise the significance of the customer experience in building trust, loyalty, and emotional connections. Their combined marketing backgrounds drive an obsession with the end-to-end customer journey. “Every single touchpoint is an opportunity to make the customer feel not only good about your brand but fiercely loyal to your brand,” Ben explains. 

RiSE Coffee Box in the UK recently revamped its subscription box packaging to embody the brand’s vibrant colours and compelling story. “When a customer opens the box, it feels instantly inviting with bright colours and a welcome message where we share our founder’s story,” Ben adds. 

In a conscious effort to minimise environmental impact, RiSE Coffee Box invested six months in finding a packaging supplier capable of creating home compostable packaging for their house coffee options. 

The result is packaging that not only aligns with their brand aesthetic but also uses plant-based materials. This commitment to sustainability extends to the brand’s subscription boxes, which are 100% recyclable and FSC-certified.

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Sustainable coffee bags that appeal to consumers

Predictions show the coffee packaging industry will exceed $991.6 million by 2027. Notably, the paper and paperboard packaging segment is expected to dominate the market during that forecast period. Primary drivers behind this growth are the coffee industry’s consumption-driven expansion, increased consumer demand for sustainable packaging, and an uptick in the adoption of recyclables, especially paper. 

Those looking to invest in sustainable coffee bags should study these trends to make packaging material choices that align with company values. For instance, the following packaging materials are highly likely to appeal to eco-conscious consumers:

  • Kraft paper is a highly durable, versatile, and cost-effective material for coffee bags, making it one of the most commonly used within the specialty sector. Kraft paper coffee bags are also moisture—and temperature-resistant and compostable, as they’re made from at least 80% wood pulp.
  • Rice paper is made from the rice paper plant, as well as quintan tree bark, hemp, or bamboo. It provides the flexibility and strength needed to package coffee beans, and the material is highly tear resistant.
  • Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a recyclable, cost-effective thermoplastic commonly used in coffee bags. This packaging material is thin, lightweight, and flexible, with the ability to withstand temperatures of up to 80°C.
  • Polylactic acid (PLA) is made from fermented carbohydrates from resources such as maize, cornstarch, and sugarcane, making it significantly more eco-friendly than its petroleum-based counterpart
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Ensuring sustainability beyond the roastery 

What happens to packaging once it has been used is often out of a coffee roaster’s control. For many types of packaging, it can be difficult for the end-user to know how best to dispose of it. For instance, when recyclable or compostable materials end up in the wrong waste bin, it can lead to a whole batch of recycled pulp having to be discarded.

Furthermore, adding disposal instructions to coffee packaging may be difficult, as this essential space is often used for branding and marketing purposes. Additionally, any other available space is typically used to convey tasting notes, brew ratios, and recipes.

Technology can be exceptionally beneficial here. Introducing a quick response (QR) code to a website or coffee packaging can help provide consumers with instant access to vital information. QR codes can guide consumers to how-to guides or video tutorials, which could show them how to dispose of coffee packaging properly. Coffee roasters can also use this as an opportunity to teach consumers more about the business’s sustainable practices. 

At MTPak Coffee, we understand the need to offer high-quality, attractive coffee packaging that is also sustainable. Our range of packaging options is made from renewable materials. Our coffee boxes are made using recycled cardboard, while our sustainable coffee bags are made using kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining.

Our coffee bags and coffee boxes can be customised to reflect your brand’s characteristics, as well as vital information about your product. MTPak Coffee offers a wide range of customisation techniques, including spot UV with a glossy, satin, or matte finish, embossing and debossing, as well as hot foil stamping in a variety of colours. We also offer our clients a quick turnaround and shipping time in addition to low minimum order quantities (MOQs) for those looking to remain agile while showcasing a commitment to the environment.

For more information on custom printed coffee bags, contact our team

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Sam Shipiti
Sam Shipiti

Born and raised in Kenya, a country famous for growing top grade coffee, Sam’s unique perspective is deeply rooted in his heritage. His writing journey has seen him contribute to magazines and coffee blogs, and work for global marketing agencies, honing his craft and establishing a strong voice in the industry. He now focuses on uncovering the unique stories and innovations fuelling the specialty coffee revolution.

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