Should coffee roasters invest in automatic label applicator machines?

Jane Merchant
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March 31, 2022
automatic labelling machine

An eye-catching, effective label can highlight many unique details about a coffee, either enticing a consumer or causing them to turn away.

Roasters often use labels on their packaging to inform consumers about a coffee’s origin, processing methods, or tasting notes. Additionally, an attractive label design can help differentiate the coffee and help it stand out on the shelf.

Choosing to use labels instead of printing directly onto coffee packaging is a cost effective and flexible option for many roasters. However, it is important for businesses to evaluate how they label products in order to keep the process streamlined.

While automatic label applicator machines may require a financial investment, they can help roasters meet demand and ensure labels are accurately applied to coffee packaging. They also reduce the need for manual labelling, freeing up time to focus on other, more important areas.

Read on to find out whether an automatic label applicator machine is the best option for your business.

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automatic label coffee

Why label your coffee?

Consumers often purchase products without knowing how it is made, where it comes from, or how it is transformed into the item they buy.

Coffee is one of these products, as it has a longer supply chain than many other consumable items. As a result, roasters often use labels to educate consumers about the coffee supply chain.

Labels provide consumers with information, such as where the coffee was grown and who grew it. Additionally, labels can give consumers instructions on brewing times and how to dispose of used coffee packaging.

More so, roasters can use labels to address consumer concerns about ethical and environmental issues surrounding coffee production.

This information can help consumers understand the cost of producing coffee, as well as the work involved. This is likely to motivate them to pay a premium for it.

Coupled with vital information, labels often contain logos and certifications that associate a brand with trustworthy third-party certifiers.

For example, roasters can highlight that their coffee is Fairtrade or the packaging is manufactured using Forest Stewardship Council approved kraft paper.

Interestingly, a Harvard University research paper reveals sharing this information can have positive effects on a product’s sales and market share.

label coffee

Should you switch to an automatic label applicator machine?

Unless a roaster has started with a large amount of capital, many will begin by manually labelling their coffees as it is the most cost-effective option.

It allows roasters to invest in uniform coffee bags and use labels to differentiate between roast profiles and coffee origins.

As they can be changed quickly, any mistakes on a label can be easily fixed. Additionally, roasters can keep label runs short to change information when necessary.

Furthermore, placing a label on coffee packaging is easy and can be done by any member of staff in a roastery, helping to keep initial packaging production costs low.

With an increased need to reduce delays in the production process, roasters must try to maximise their material and resource consumption, and make it more efficient.

Over the last two years, Covid-19 has prompted the widespread move to automatic machines, particularly in the face of staff shortages. While they still need to be operated by someone within the roastery, they allow production to continue despite illnesses or social distancing measures.

This is especially important for roasters who need to meet high volume demand. Some automatic label applicator machines operate at a speed of three seconds per label, with a placement consistency and accuracy of 0.1mm.

Not only does this maintain the brand’s reputation in the eye’s of consumers, it also reduces the number of bags disposed of due to labelling errors.

An automatic label applicator machine can also help prevent staff from developing repetitive strain injuries from repeatedly applying labels to packages.

coffee packaging label

Factors to consider before making a final decision

While automatic label applicator machines have an obvious advantage over manual application methods, they require a financial investment that some roasters may not be able to afford.

To make an informed decision, roasters must calculate the labelling speed and accuracy achieved from manual labelling on an hourly basis. Then, they must compare this to the labelling required to meet orders.

Roasters should then compare this to the hourly output of the labelling machine they are considering investing in. Another key point is to factor in the price of the machine, and the cost of training staff to use it.

Furthermore, roasters may offer a variety of coffees in different sized packaging. If there is a high demand for numerous offerings, manual labelling may result in the incorrect label being placed on a package.

However, an automatic label applicator machine may reduce the risk of this human error, lowering the chance of a consumer returning a product. In turn, this lessens the amount of packaging waste.

recyclable coffee bags

All of the above can help roasters determine if making the switch to an automatic label applicator machine is financially feasible and the best option for the business.

To make the most of an automatic label applicator, roasters will have had to first invest in quality labels and packaging materials.

At MTPak Coffee, we specialise in coffee packaging for specialty coffee roasters and can help you brand and package your coffee to your specifications. We offer a range of sustainable packaging options, including recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable bags, all of which are fully customisable.

Our dedicated design team will work with you to design attractive and meaningful packaging that allow you to showcase the unique flavours of your coffee.

In addition, we use sustainable water-based inks that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are also highly resistant to heat, water, and abrasion, while being compostable and easy to remove for composting.

These inks can be used on both the inside and outside of our coffee bags to maximise brand space and improve mindshare for your business. Furthermore, they can be used on labels to help your roastery demonstrate its attention to detail as well as your commitment to the environment.

For more information on our sustainable coffee bags, contact the team.

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Should coffee roasters invest in automatic label applicator machines?

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