The packaging industry is constantly evolving, with new shapes, materials and designs hitting the market each year.
Keeping on top of packaging trends can add value to a roaster and coffee shop offerings, and ensure their products stay relevant to customers.
Next year will be the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, where several countries are free to operate as usual as lockdown restrictions are lifted.
As a result, roasters and coffee shops can expect to see an influx of sales. As the value of the food packaging industry is predicted to reach over $478 billion by 2028, it has never been a better time for roasters to integrate these trends to connect with customers.
To find out more about which coffee packaging trends will boost brand awareness in 2023, I spoke with MTPak Coffee founder, Mark Zhou.
Coffee packaging trends to expect in 2023
Over the last few years, the coffee sector has paid more attention to the environmental impact of packaging.
The emergence of innovative design options and advancements in printing technology shows roasters are always looking for new ways to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market.
“Factors such as quick turnaround times and low minimum order quantities have made it easier than ever for roasters and coffee shops to stay agile with packaging trends,” Mark explains.
Low MOQs can help businesses avoid being tied into vast packaging orders.
While applying trends can help a roaster or coffee shop stand out, Mark cautions against blindly implementing them.
“It’s always better to analyse market trends in relation to your brand and its values, and plan accordingly to ensure that changing it is worth the investment.”
E-commerce-ready packaging may become more popular
As life after the pandemic settled into a new normal, many assumed customers would return to in-person shopping and move away from placing online orders.
Research shows online shopping is here to stay, with e-commerce sales expected to account for a quarter of all retail sales worldwide by 2025.
Coffee businesses can expect customers to continue ordering online, which will ultimately affect the choice in coffee packaging.
For roasters and coffee shops who have not customised packaging for online sales, there are many factors to consider.
For instance, the packaging materials will need to withstand both postal and courier delivery. Additionally, the shape of the coffee bag may have to cater to sizes of letter boxes in the area.
If coffee bags are unable to fit into letter boxes, it may result in damaged packaging, which customers are likely to send back.
A 2020 report revealed the average e-commerce package is dropped an average of 17 times while on route. Furthermore, 34% of packaging-related returns are due to product damage due to ineffective packaging.
The coffee packaging is the first face-to-face encounter customers have with a brand. Therefore, it is essential the bag makes the right impression, or it may persuade customers not to make a repeat purchase.
A return to paper packaging
As plastic packaging continues to fall out of favour, more brands are turning to paper packaging.
Single-use plastics make up 50% of current global waste – most of which is created by the food and beverage packaging industry.
Recently, the Canadian government announced plans to ban plastic packaging by 2023, joining dozens of other countries who intend to do the same. Additionally, many other countries have implemented heavy taxes or fines on non-compliant businesses.
Paper is an affordable and easy to recycle alternative to plastic. That said, its successful implementation depends on many factors.
Roasters must ensure their chosen paper packaging is designed to be recycled, in terms of its labelling and choice of printing inks. More so, the packaging must do this without compromising on its performance or ability to preserve the coffee inside.
It is also essential for roasters to ensure the paper packaging is not contributing to deforestation by selecting Rainforest Alliance-certified paper sources.
Mark advises roasters who have invested in paper packaging to consider accessorising it with eco-friendly additions.
“Degassing valves have always been an important component,” he says. “However, the quest for a genuinely compostable valve is a visible trend in the coffee industry.
MTPak Coffee offers fully recyclable degassing valves, which, when added to a recyclable coffee bag, make it easier for consumers to dispose of correctly. This helps to ensure it ends up being recycled rather than going to landfill.”
A strong focus on anti-counterfeit packaging
Consumers are becoming more interested in where their specialty coffee comes from, and whether their purchases benefit its producers.
Knowing that their coffee has been sustainably and responsibly sourced is becoming increasingly important to more consumers.
Therefore, helping verify the origin of a coffee can help roasters protect their brand and add origin information in a novel way.
Usually, anti-counterfeit packaging that prevents tampering is reserved for more high-value items, such as medication or cosmetics. However, roasters can affordably verify their coffee using tools like QR codes.
Custom-printing QR codes on coffee bags allows roasters to communicate a large volume of information on a coffee to customers without having to invest in costly printing packaging.
This information can include the coffee’s origin, variety, processing method, and tasting notes. QR code information is also easier to update, and eliminates unnecessary contact points, which can be helpful when operating with reduced staff.
Eliminated best-before dates
Food waste has long been a concern across the food and beverage industry.
Recently, more customers are looking for tangible ways to address it, as it is estimated over $1 trillion worth of food is wasted annually. In most cases, much of this ends up in landfills after disposal.
Coffee differs slightly from traditional food products, as it does not spoil to the extent that it cannot be consumed safely. Instead, the quality of its taste degrades.
Many businesses are trying to address the problem of food waste by eliminating “best before” dates on their product packaging.
Some roasters may not include “best before” dates on coffee packaging at all, or choose to use a roast date as a guide instead.
More so, roasters can educate customers on how to enjoy the coffee at its best by encouraging them to purchase smaller volumes, or invest in a coffee subscription.
Additionally, roasters can provide customers with clear storage instructions for roasted coffee, such as placing it in a cool, dark area.
Educating customers on coffee tasting is another way to encourage them to enjoy coffee at its best, so they can better rely on their palate instead of a printed date.
“A big focus for MTPak Coffee has always been on helping roasters and coffee shops minimise their environmental impact,” Mark says.
No matter which trend you’re considering integrating, MTPak Coffee can assist you – and we can help you balance your practical requirements with your sustainability efforts.
MTPak Coffee offers offers a range of sustainable coffee packaging made from eco-friendly materials, such as kraft or rice paper with a LDPE or PLA lining.
Our team is happy to work alongside roasters to design and custom-print coffee bags with our digital printing technology to ensure their coffee packaging remains on trend and relevant to customers.
We have a quick, 40-hour turnaround time and a fast 24-hour shipping time, allowing us to offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) of packaging, no matter what size or material.