How to create coffee boxes for every occasion

Tori Taylor
June 5, 2024
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As the global coffee subscription market is set to soar to $1,565.3 million by 2030, it’s crucial for businesses to find ways to stand out. Custom coffee boxes offer a unique opportunity to create a more personalised customer experience, fostering a deeper connection with the brand. This can be a significant competitive advantage in a market where consumers are increasingly seeking unique and engaging experiences. 

Studies show that consumers tend to trust a brand more when the product arrives in premium packaging. Durable boxes allow coffee roasters to package, store, and ship products quickly, all while boosting brand awareness without additional costs.

Beyond this, brands can take customisation one step further by creating coffee boxes for specific occasions. This can include coffee boxes for holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the festive season. 

To learn more about how brands can create custom coffee boxes for special occasions, I spoke to Rebecca Zaynidinova and Paul Farmiga, of Penstock Coffee Roasters in New Jersey, US. 

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The benefits of offering coffee boxes for special occasions 

The specialty coffee market is fiercely competitive, with new businesses entering constantly. For existing coffee roasters, it can be a challenge just to stay afloat, while new ones often find it difficult to get things off the ground and make themselves heard. 

Seasonal and limited-edition coffee packaging is an increasingly popular tactic for stealing mindshare, pique consumer interest and staying ahead of the competition. Defined as limited edition packaging often associated with seasons or certain holidays, this custom coffee packaging helps create a sense of excitement around products while pushing a brand to the forefront of consumers’ minds.

In the coffee industry, leading brands such as Starbucks, Costa, and Nescafé are well known for their seasonal packaging, which has become something of an annual talking point among customers.

Penstock Coffee Roasters offers its consumers direct-trade, single-origin coffees. Rebecca, the brand’s green coffee buyer, explains that Penstock Coffee often reserves its custom coffee boxes for special releases and bundles rather than subscriptions.

“We love coffee boxes! They are the easiest way to bundle our favourite items and present them in a way that is fun and feels special, premium, and exclusive,” she says. “The nice thing about coffee boxes is that they don’t just have to contain coffee; the possibilities are endless. We’ve bundled coffee equipment, chocolate, mugs, stickers, candles, and other goodies before.”

For example, last year, the brand’s holiday box included coffee from the same farm, processed in two variations: Hacienda La Papaya Natural and Oak Barrel processes. Penstock Coffee then named one bag ‘Merry’ and the other ‘Bright’: a unique opportunity to have a bit of holiday fun with its customers.

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When should you offer custom coffee boxes?

Coffee boxes can be tailored to suit just about any holiday or special occasion. While they are most common during popular holiday seasons such as Christmas, Easter, New Year, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day, a brand can decide to implement packaging changes at any time. 

In fact, many brands will often adopt seasonal packaging to celebrate milestones in their own stories. For example, Starbucks released its “Anniversary Blend” coffee packaging in 2020 to mark the company’s 50th anniversary. 

In 2023, Penstock Coffee offered a curated Valentine’s Day coffee box, which turned out to be a major hit with customers. Alongside the coffee bag was a candle, which was an exclusive partnership with a small local business. The candle reflected the characteristics of the coffee inside, which had notes of cream, peach, citrus, and white blossoms. 

Paul and Rebecca believe coffee boxes allow coffee brands and their consumers to build relationships with and support smaller businesses. 

“And, of course, the fun, unexpected, and delightful combinations of products make really special gifts,” Paul adds. “Finally, it’s worth it to reflect your brand identity and aesthetic on your coffee boxes; people reuse them at home after.”

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Ways in which custom coffee boxes can boost your business

It may seem as though the adoption of custom coffee boxes is just an excellent way of celebrating different events in the year – but in the majority of cases, it carries crucial marketing benefits for brands.

Steal mindshare: Coffee businesses need to stay relevant and put themselves at the forefront of consumers’ minds to keep ahead of the competition. However, even if the coffee is high-quality and the branding is attractive, consumers will always be on the lookout for the “next best thing.”

This attitude is only increasing among the younger generations: a recent survey revealed that as little as 9% of millennials identify themselves as brand loyalists. Seasonal coffee boxes are an effective way for coffee businesses to steal mindshare from competitors and generate excitement among consumers. They give brands extra publicity and prevent products from becoming overly familiar or “stale.”

Boost sales: Scarcity creates an illusion of value, making homogenous products seem more desirable. Therefore, when coffee businesses launch a range of coffee in limited edition seasonal packaging, it helps create a buzz around the products, which inevitably leads to higher sales. For instance, each year, Taylors of Harrogate releases its limited edition “Christmas Blend,” complete with its own distinct packaging. Typically designed in a luxurious style, such as using black and gold lettering, it prompts consumers to buy from the range before it sells out.

Try new products: New types of coffee appear all the time for a number of reasons, from experimental processing methods to innovative growing techniques. For coffee roasters, the beans are often significantly different from their traditional line of products, which means they need to be marketed differently. As customers may be unsure about trying something they’ve never heard of, an effective way of launching them is under the guise of seasonal packaging. 

Custom coffee boxes are a highly effective way for specialty coffee roasters to gain mindshare, stay ahead of competitors, and stir excitement among consumers. However, it’s essential that designs are not only eye-catching but also consistent with the coffee roaster’s normal branding so as not to confuse.

At MTPak Coffee, we understand the importance of a memorable customer experience when it comes to specialty coffee. We offer corrugated coffee subscription boxes made from 100% recycled cardboard. With their high level of strength, durability, and weather resistance, coupled with our wide range of size options, these boxes are the perfect solution to support your subscription service.

We also offer a range of 100% recyclable coffee packaging options made from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining. These will fit perfectly into your coffee subscription boxes.

Article header image courtesy of Penstock Coffee Roasters

Reach out today to create your custom coffee boxes.

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Tori Taylor
Tori Taylor

Victoria is a highly experienced content creator, writer, and editor based out of South Africa. With the experience gained by working in newsrooms and writing for lifestyle magazines, she is now focussed on creating insightful and relatable content for the specialty coffee community.

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