For millions of people, the Covid-19 pandemic changed typical daily behaviour, including how they consume coffee.
A report from the National Coffee Association (NCA) shows that since the outbreak of Covid-19, 85% of respondents have at least one cup of coffee at home a day.
In an article, NCA President William Murray explains consumers are experimenting with new coffees, and even trying to replicate their favourite beverages at home. This increase in home consumption and experimentation has caused a surge in coffee sales via ecommerce.
As a result, roasters selling products online have had to adapt the size of their packaged coffee. For many reasons, one of the most popular sizes for roasters appears to be 350g (12oz).
Read on to find out what makes this the ideal size for many, and whether this option would suit your business.
Why is coffee sold in 350g (12oz) volumes?
Roasted coffee is sold in 350g or 12oz volumes for a number of practical reasons.
The various global lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted traditional shipping, packaging, and retail channels. As a result, roasters have become reliant on selling retail-sized coffee bags directly to consumers.
Selling roasted or whole bean coffee in 350g (12oz) retail bags can make purchasing and production easier to plan and manage.
A pound of green coffee results in around 350g (12oz) to 370g (13oz) after roasting. While brewing preferences will differ between consumers, it is useful to understand how many cups 350g (12oz) can make.
Assuming a consumer brews a single cup using a medium grind of two tablespoons (around 10g or 0.37oz) per cup, it works out to around 16 cups of coffee per retail bag. With the average consumer drinking about two cups a day, this works out to roughly a week’s worth of coffee.
Typically, ground coffee has a shelf life of between three to seven days, while whole beans can stay fresh for significantly longer.
This means those who are unfamiliar with specialty coffee, and do not have grinding equipment at home, can buy and enjoy a 350g (12oz) bag before the coffee begins to go stale.
Furthermore, it is especially beneficial for consumers who want to experiment with a new blend or origin of coffee before committing to it.
Square Mile Coffee Roasters in the UK uses these ideas as guidelines when packaging their coffee.
The website states that during their travels, founders Anette Moldvaer and James Hoffmann found 250g (9oz) was too little to become familiar with the coffee’s profile, especially in the case of espresso.
“We identified the 350g (12oz) size as common in the US, and our ideal ratio. Not too little, not too much, we rounded it up to 350g for an even metric,” the website reveals.
Additionally, this size is compatible with most European letterboxes, making it perfect for online sales and coffee subscriptions. A 350g coffee bag is lightweight and less likely to incur damage when pushed through a letterbox.
It can also have environmental benefits as consumers won’t have to place orders as frequently. This reduces not only packaging materials, but carbon emissions involved in the transport of the coffee from the roastery.
Choosing the right size for your customers
While 350g (12oz) bags of coffee have their advantages, they may not be the right choice for all roasters.
For example, roasters may find they have a staple coffee that is in constant demand. In this case, it would be more beneficial to offer this product in larger volumes, such as in 1kg (35oz) bags.
On the other hand, 350g coffee bags are the perfect size to debut new coffees and special occasion coffees, such as those released for Easter or Christmas. This way, consumers can sample the product without committing to 1kg (35oz) of coffee.
An additional concern about moving over to 350g bags is how it will affect the freshness of the coffee. For consumers who drink just a few cups of coffee a week, it could take a while to get through a full 350g bag.
As such, the beans may have started to become stale and lose their flavour by the time they reach the end of the coffee. In this way, smaller sizes, such as 200g (7oz) or 250g (9oz) may be better suited.
This also raises the question of whether switching to 350g bags requires investing in high-barrier packaging, which will naturally raise costs for roasters. This is because, for the most part, low-barrier materials such as unbleached kraft paper aren’t sufficient to protect the coffee over a long period of time.
Multilayer packaging options offer better protection against exposure to sunlight, heat, moisture, and oxygen. These include aluminium-lined bags which will keep the coffee fresher for longer.
Therefore, it is important to gauge the demand for 350g coffee bags before making any substantial commitment. Specifically, roasters must calculate whether they can sell the volumes required to make a profit.
Selecting the right sized coffee bag is important, but not at the expense of your coffee’s quality and its impact on the environment. Recyclable coffee bags can not only boost your businesses sustainability efforts, but show consumers that you have carefully considered the environmental impact of your business.
At MTPak Coffee, we have years of experience helping specialty roasters package their coffee for retail sales and delivery. Whether you are looking for letterbox-sized bags made from kraft paper or larger bags suited for wholesale purchases, we can help you.
Our range of sustainable coffee bags includes recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable options made from renewable and environmentally friendly materials. Plus, we have a variety of packaging structures to suit your business needs, including stand up pouches and quad seal pouches.
Whether you’re looking for all natural solutions or high-barrier multilayer options, we can help you design and package any volume of coffee to your exact preferences.