What certifications should biodegradable coffee bags feature? 

Tori Taylor
May 6, 2024
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A recent analysis of the coffee packaging market shows it is expected to see significant growth within the next five years. Alongside this growth, packaging manufacturers are focused on providing sustainable, eco-friendly materials and products that adhere to sound recycling initiatives.

Beyond aesthetics and its ability to preserve coffee, a growing number of consumers expect coffee bags to be sustainable. Over time, eco-friendly alternatives, such as biodegradable coffee bags, have become a popular option among coffee roasters because of their sustainability, affordability, and overall durability. 

Studies show that some consumers are willing to pay a premium of up to 16% for sustainably packaged products. This increase in eco-conscious consumers has driven the need for sustainable and certified coffee packaging. 

So, what certifications can brands showcase on their biodegradable coffee bags to give consumers peace of mind? To learn more, I spoke to  John Wilt, the owner of Maiden Coffee Roasters in New Jersey.

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Biodegradable coffee bags: The certifications you need

In recent years, growing demand from consumers for eco-friendly products has made biodegradable packaging more of a necessity than a choice for specialty coffee roasters. Notably, the biodegradable packaging market has proliferated over the past few years and is estimated to reach $809.9 billion by 2032. 

Certifications on coffee bags are an accredited, accessible, and effective way to inform customers that the business and its practices are truly ethical. Certification creates transparency within every stage of the supply chain while demonstrating that the business adheres to voluntary standards regarding environmental, social, ethical, and food safety issues. 

For many coffee businesses, packaging certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is a desirable accolade. Notably, BPI-certified coffee packaging is one of the most robustly tested and instantly recognisable accreditations in commercial compostability.

The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is the leading North American authority on compostable packaging materials. It provides a BPI certification scheme as a third-party verifier for businesses wanting to promote environmental credentials on product packaging. In addition to providing certification, the BPI supports progress and innovation in compostability in several ways and is a proud advocate for compostable packaging

Alternatively, the Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) Home Compostable certification can also effectively communicate a commitment to environmental protection to customers. The ABA is an industrial body that supports and advocates for bioplastics and businesses adjacent to the bioplastic industries in Australia and New Zealand. It is an international partner of its North American and European counterparts: the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and European Bioplastics respectively.

The ABA works closely with the Australian composting industry, Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA), and the Organic Materials Sector Group from WasteMINZ in New Zealand to ensure the activities of bioplastic industries have a minimal impact. The organisation supports research and innovation in lowering the impact of production and end-of-life disposal of sustainable plastics.

This includes supporting the use of an ever-widening range of renewable, plant-derived materials in the manufacture of bioplastics. Furthermore, the ABA advocates for broadening the infrastructure for the collection and processing of bioplastic products that can no longer be reused, ensuring they are disposed of in optimal conditions.

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Why your business needs biodegradable coffee bags

A recent poll found that 72% of consumers say packaging design influences their purchasing decisions. These figures show how essential custom packaging has become in setting a brand apart and boosting sales. Adding certifications to custom coffee bags shows the packaging aligns with the integrity and ethics of the business, which promotes trust and confidence in consumers. 

Certifications can also help a product stand out and attract customers who share the brand’s values. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO): “Coffee certifications can demonstrate to consumers that coffee has been produced sustainably and can increase its market value if there is sufficient demand”. 

Beyond this, certified coffee bags can influence how customers perceive the product’s value. Notably, a recent study found that consumers are willing to pay a premium of €1.481 per 250g for the Fairtrade label and €1.379 per 250g for the UTZ label. 

Notably, research shows that overall trends in coffee packaging are shifting towards paper. A 2023 consumer survey from Two Sides Europe provides essential insights into this trend. The survey questioned over 10,000 consumers in 16 countries across the world to “provide an assessment of consumers’ attitudes and beliefs towards the paper industry and its products.” 

The results compare consumer’s preferences for paper/cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal across a range of environmental, visual, and physical attributes. The survey revealed consumers showed a preference for paper in 10 out of the 15 attributes in the survey. Notably, respondents favoured paper/cardboard for environmental factors such as home compostable (76%), better for the environment (55%) and easier to recycle (49%).  

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The move towards biodegradable coffee packaging

John explains why, in addition to eco-friendliness, he thinks biodegradable coffee bags have become the go-to choice of packaging for several coffee roasters. 

“Biodegradable packaging is definitely becoming more popular in the coffee industry as time goes on,” he says. “This is, in part, because consumers are becoming more involved in what they are ingesting and how it affects their bodies. Materials in plastic packaging often break down into microplastics.”

Defined as fragments of any type of plastic less than 5 mm in length, concerns around the impact of microplastics on the planet have heightened in recent years. It’s estimated that more than 42,000 tonnes of these small fragments are deposited into the environment each year, causing problems for wildlife and ecosystems around the world.

“Modern consumers are taking a deeper look into their eating habits and how hormone disruptors, such as microplastics, affect their overall wellbeing,” John explains. “In my experience within the specialty coffee industry, trends that start here are usually the canary in the coal mine for what’s to follow in the general sector of news.”

MTPak Coffee’s biodegradable packaging goes a long way to providing a solution to this pressing issue. And, with 53% of European consumers stating that they are concerned about the current level of plastic waste, it should have widespread appeal to your customers.

Our biodegradable coffee bags are certified by Din Certco in complete compliance with the European certification standard (EN 13432). Our packaging also proudly carries the Seedling logo, a registered trademark owned by European Bioplastics. This logo communicates that a product is certified industrially compostable by their standards.

Our biodegradable coffee bags are made from the following sustainable materials:

  • Kraft paper
  • Polylactic acid (PLA)
  • Rice paper

We guarantee that all our paper-based coffee packaging, including our kraft paper-spun bags, is sourced from forests that have been certified by the FSC.

Invest in biodegradable coffee bags today!

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