Why certified coffee packaging is so important 

Mounir Afkir
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June 7, 2024
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Coffee bags today often showcase several certifications to indicate various attributes> these may range from the quality of the coffee itself to the sustainability and ethical practices associated with its production and packaging. 

Certified coffee packaging plays a crucial role in shaping consumers’ choices and influencing the coffee industry. These credentials provide valuable information about the origin, production methods, and environmental impact of both the coffee and its packaging. Certifications are accredited, accessible, and effective ways to inform customers that the business and its practices are truly ethical. 

Beyond this, certified coffee bags help create 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. 

To understand the importance of certified coffee packaging and how it can affect sales, I spoke to Susan Rodriguez, an environmental and social development specialist, and John Thompson, the Director at Pressed Craft Coffee

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Understanding the importance of certified coffee packaging 

Several studies show that packaging design can provide visual cues that‌ play an important role in influencing customer purchase behaviour. 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. 

Certified coffee packaging can help to: 

  • Boost consumer confidence: Transparency fosters a sense of confidence in the product, encouraging repeat purchases.
  • Promote sustainability: Certifications such as Fair Trade, Organic, and Rainforest Alliance promote sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in coffee production.
  • Showcase ethical practices: These credentials emphasise ethical considerations, guaranteeing fair treatment for workers involved in the coffee production process. 
  • Reduce environmental impact: Certifications for packaging materials address concerns related to the environmental impact of packaging. 

It’s important to note that some certifications may be challenging to obtain. This is particularly true for smaller businesses or those with financial constraints. Obtaining and maintaining certifications can be a complex and costly process for both coffee producers and packaging manufacturers. Small-scale farmers or businesses may find it challenging to meet the stringent requirements.

Additionally, some certifications may create market access barriers for producers who are unable to meet the criteria. This can limit the participation of certain coffee producers in the global market, hindering their economic growth.

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Which certifications should you focus on?

Pressed Craft Coffee in South Africa caters to pop-ups and events and offers services such as coffee machine rentals and white labelling. Director John Thompson highlights the role of certifications in consumer education. 

“Certifications are an effective communication tool,” he explains. “They simplify complex topics like sustainability and ethical sourcing, making it easier for consumers to make informed choices. This education fosters a sense of loyalty because customers feel connected to a brand that shares their values.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common certifications for coffee beans and packaging materials.

  1. Fair Trade Certification: This ensures that the coffee has been produced under ethical conditions and promotes fair wages and sustainable farming practices. It empowers farmers and encourages environmental responsibility, making it a popular choice for conscientious consumers.
  2. Organic Certification: This indicates that the coffee is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilisers. It guarantees that the coffee has been cultivated using environmentally friendly methods that contribute to preserving soil health and biodiversity.
  3. Rainforest Alliance Certification: This certification focuses on environmental conservation and social responsibility. Coffee bearing this seal signifies that it has been produced in a manner that promotes biodiversity, supports local communities, and adheres to sustainable farming practices.
  4. UTZ Certification: This emphasises responsible and sustainable coffee farming. It ensures that the coffee has been produced with consideration for the environment, workers’ well-being, and efficient agricultural practices.
  5. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): This certification indicates that the paper or cardboard used for coffee packaging comes from responsibly managed forests, promoting the sustainable use of forest resources.
  6. Recyclable or Biodegradable Certification: Coffee bags labelled as recyclable or biodegradable signal a commitment to reducing environmental impact. These certifications ensure that the packaging can be disposed of in an eco-friendly manner to mininmise waste.
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How can certified coffee packaging boost sales?

In the competitive landscape of consumer goods, certifications have emerged as powerful tools not only for establishing product credibility but also for nurturing customer loyalty.

It’s important to remember that transparency builds trust. Certified coffee packaging serves as a beacon of transparency, offering consumers a clear view of a product’s sourcing, production methods, and ethical considerations. 

When customers see recognisable seals or logos, such as Rainforest Alliance, on a product, they are assured of a commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. This transparency builds trust by showcasing a brand’s dedication to meeting specific standards and aligning with consumers’ values.

Certifications can also provide consumers with insights into the pricing structures and sustainability efforts of a brand. For instance, Fair Trade certification guarantees that farmers receive fair compensation for their labour, educating consumers about the social and economic impact of their purchase decisions. Through certifications, consumers become more aware of the environmental footprint and ethical considerations associated with a product, influencing their loyalty to brands that align with their values.

As an Environmental and Social Development Specialist, Susan highlights that certifications offer a tangible way for consumers to validate a brand’s claims

“When customers see that a product has been independently verified, it adds a layer of credibility that fosters long-term loyalty,” she says. 

As consumers increasingly prioritise ethical and sustainable choices, brands that invest in reputable certifications are not only meeting current market demands but also fostering a loyal customer base that values integrity and responsible business practices.

MTPak Coffee’s kraft paper and PLA packaging are certified by TÜV Austria as OK compost HOME and OK compost INDUSTRIAL. Our range of sustainable packaging solutions also aligns with ABA Home Compostable certification and other environmentally friendly certifications. Plus, 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.

For more information, reach out to our team. 

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Mounir Afkir
Mounir Afkir

Mounir is a Belgian living in Panama. After saying goodbye to a successful corporate career, he turned his passion and knowledge for nutrition, Chinese medicine, phytotherapy, and writing into his full-time focus. Mounir is also passionate about wine, and even more about speciality coffee and is the proud owner of Mounelli Specialty coffee-bar in Boquete.

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