Creating custom coffee bags that grab consumer attention

Holly Szakal
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May 16, 2024
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Amidst the increasing competition in specialty coffee, one brand is going above and beyond to capture the eyes of target consumers through its custom coffee bags. A finalist for the 2024 MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards, Salto Coffee has built quite a reputation for craftsmanship, sustainability, and community ethos through its custom coffee bags. 

In highly competitive markets such as specialty coffee, where choices are multifaceted, brands must work hard to make their products stand out. They must convince consumers that their product is the best option while leaving a lasting impression. Investing in custom coffee bags may be the most cost-effective way to do so. 

The ability to recognise the subtleties of packaging psychology has become a strategic necessity for coffee roasters striving for visibility in a crowded market. Notably, a recent study saw 81% of consumers experiment with a new product solely because its packaging captured their attention. Additionally, 30% of businesses have noticed a surge in consumer interest by prioritising packaging design. 

It’s not just about catching the eye; it’s about triggering emotions, building connections, and seamlessly aligning with the cognitive processes that steer consumers toward or away from a product.

To learn more about Salto Coffee’s design philosophy and the profound impact it has on both brand identity and consumer perception, I spoke to the brand’s roaster, Rob Langone. 

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Custom coffee bags that prioritise sustainability

Based in Colorado, Salto Coffee began its journey in 2012 with one vision in mind: to craft exceptional coffee experiences that reflected the mountainous landscape it was surrounded by. Inspired by the vibrant hues of the aspen trees and tranquil alpine lakes, the small brand wanted to encapsulate the essence of its locale into its custom coffee bags.

The landscape doubles as the foundation of the brands’ unique design philosophy: to provide consumers with packaging that not only prioritises freshness but also serves as a visual ode to its natural surroundings. This visual ode to nature brought with it high expectations to address consumer concerns about sustainability, particularly regarding single-use packaging.

In today’s world, the expectation for brands to meet sustainability concerns has become paramount in fostering the consumer-brand relationship. 

A recent study by the Financial Times reported that in 2024, sustainability will remain a primary concern for both consumers and corporations of any size. Additionally, over 60% of consumers worldwide continue to express major concerns about sustainability.

Salto Coffee is fully committed to eco-conscious practices to appeal to a growing number of eco-conscious consumers. The brand’s coffee packaging ethos revolves around recyclable materials: minimising its carbon footprint and showing it is aligned with consumers who care about the environment. 

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A design that grabs consumer attention

Salto Coffee’s structural integrity of its packaging was a paramount concern in preserving the freshness of its product. Therefore, the brand has invested in flat bottom coffee bags that boast degassing valves and resealable zipper seals. These features not only maintain freshness but also combine functionality with aesthetic appeal. 

This meticulous attention helps enhance the consumer experience while reinforcing the brand’s commitment to craftsmanship.

The brand recently launched its new custom coffee bags, after working alongside designer Daphne Karagianis. The new coffee bags feature a repeated series of geometric shapes. Rob, who heads up the brand’s coffee roasting programme, reflects on the design process. 

“Over time, the cafe has become a community hub in our small mountain town, which sits at 8,200 feet, he says. “Daphne came up with various patterns that represented the vibe and energy of Salto.

“She used the surroundings as a backdrop and came up with a creative set of icons and patterns that were used across Salto’s brand and marketing efforts. Each bag’s colour and pattern will respectively hold our signature blends, seasonal blends, decaf, and single origin offerings, as well as limited or reserve lots.” 

The designer’s shapes serve as visual cues, inviting consumers to embark on a sensory journey that resonates with each blend and every sip. The use of shapes in coffee packaging goes beyond mere aesthetics. It reflects the brand’s multifaceted sensory offerings. 

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How to leverage the design psychology of custom coffee bags 

Research continues to show how shapes and colours in packaging can influence taste perception and anticipated enjoyment. For example, round shapes, bright colours, and low saturation suggest a mild taste. Alternatively, triangular shapes, dim colours, and high saturation indicate a sharper taste. A round shape evokes the highest level of liking.

Using shapes in custom coffee bags can also influence consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions. As these visually stimulating bags adorn the shelves, they serve as silent ambassadors, beckoning coffee enthusiasts to embark on a sensory adventure with Salto Coffee. Additionally, shapes and colour palettes can foster a deeper connection with the local community, which is especially important for roasters who rely on local support.

“We created a unique set of patterns that represent the vibrancy, movement, and energy at Salto. Paired with our refreshed colour palette that reflects our surrounding mountain town colours of aspen trees, alpine lakes, and granite rock, we chose this design because it best showcases the Salto culture and brand in a distinctive, thoughtful, and unexpected way,” explains Rob. 

“We are all about connection: to community, to each other, and to the surrounding mountains,” Rob adds. “When we watch people come together over great food or the perfect espresso… our cup is full.”

Learn more about the finalists of the 2024 MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards. Check out our winners, or read our exclusive interview with Birdy Coffee Co., about how the brand uses shapes to create iconic illustrations for its coffee packaging. 

Images courtesy of Salto Coffee

For more information on bespoke coffee bags, contact our team

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Holly Szakal
Holly Szakal

Holly Szakal is a Melbourne-based copy and content writer and is deeply immersed in her city's vibrant specialty coffee culture. She infuses the rich aromas of the specialty coffee scene by delivering compelling narratives on the industry's current events.

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