Picking the perfect packaging for your coffee involves making many choices. Branding elements are most visible, so it’s natural that you’ll focus on these first.
However, you’ll also need to choose the right packaging material. Kraft paper has long been a popular option, and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Roasters choose it as it’s strong and durable, and customers prefer it as it has a lower carbon footprint and can be recycled.
Your choice of packaging shape is equally important, as it can also influence a customer’s purchase. Customers want packaging that’s easy to carry, use, and store.
Flat bottom pouches are a popular choice as they allow for material layering, ample storage space, strength, and plentiful printing space. Paired with the benefits of kraft paper, you have yourself one formidable combination. Here’s how to determine if it’s the best option for your needs.
Why is packaging shape so important?
According to a recent paper on packaging’s influence on consumer expectations and judgments of specialty coffee, shape helps customers identify and classify products.
It can also help your brand gain an advantage over competitors, while influencing a customer’s emotions, attitudes, and buying behaviour.
Shape will also determine how long customers will use it for when they take it home — and how well they’ll remember your brand once all the coffee has been enjoyed.
While coffee packaging comes in all shapes and forms, a few particular types have become popular. Most of these are rectangular and resealable, with various options regarding the shape and size of the base.
Bags with rounded bottom gussets don’t lie flat, as the sides of their gussets are curved and attached to the pouch’s front and back supporting walls. They are, however, relatively stable when storing light products weighing a maximum of 0.5kg (1 pound).
K Seal bottomed bags offer more storage volume than rounded bottom gusset bags. The bag base attaches to the front and back supporting walls at a 30 degree angle, reducing the pressure placed on the side seals. This guides the product towards the pouch’s centre and bottom, making this a more suitable choice for fragile products.
Corner seal or plow bottom gusset bags are constructed from a single piece of material and have no bottom seals. This works well when storing products weighing over 0.5kg (1 pound).
In general, side gusset bags are more compact than bottom gusset bags, but offer less storage volume.
The role of packaging materials
When it comes to packaging materials, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, preferences are constantly being shaped by what consumers want from their products.
Research shows that customers prefer recyclable packaging and are willing to pay more for it. Recycling is a socially desirable behaviour, so customers are more likely to do it to impress others or imitate popular behaviours.
While plastics and bioplastics remain popular coffee packaging materials, kraft paper is more easily recyclable and compostable. Many plastics or bioplastics must be recycled at industrial facilities or require special collection, while kraft paper breaks down with little human intervention.
In addition to these qualities, kraft paper is also lightweight. This means that it won’t significantly add to your weight based transportation and storage costs.
Research from the International Journal of Scientific Research and Management Studies shows that packages that are easy to carry, use, and store perform better in the market, which is yet another reason why consumers might prefer kraft paper to plastic.
What are the pros & cons of using kraft paper flat bottom bags?
Flat bottom bags and kraft paper both have their unique pros and cons. Using them together to package your coffee means you should be aware of how they interact together, so that you can adjust your packaging options as necessary.
A flat bottom bag usually has five sides, offering advertising space at every angle. Its rectangular base makes it sturdy when placed on shelves. Furthermore, its larger opening makes it easier to open and close, and it requires significantly less material to manufacture compared to traditional standing bags.
Because it has a larger storage capacity, a flat bottom coffee bag could stand out when shelved with coffee bags that appear smaller. Additionally, the simplicity of its shape will make it seem larger than it actually is, adding to its “value for money” appeal.
On the other hand, a potential disadvantage of using flat bottom bags is that they cost more, and are therefore less economical to use for smaller coffee volumes. However, when paired with a material like kraft paper, these higher costs could potentially be offset.
Although relatively new to the market, this particular combination has quickly become a popular choice for many roasters.
As mentioned, kraft paper is more easy to recycle and compost, which can add to its customer appeal. However, it also offers less barrier protection qualities compared to plastics and bioplastics, which means it might need to be layered or lined to adequately protect your coffee from external elements.
Ultimately, this could impact how and where it can be recycled. However, with five packaging sides to choose from, flat bottom bags offer more than enough space to communicate these crucial details to customers, ensuring that they dispose of the packaging correctly.
Providing this kind of information — and honestly, transparently explaining why you chose kraft paper in the first place — can positively impact a customer’s purchasing decision, keeping them loyal to your brand in future.
With many different packaging shapes and materials on the market, choosing the perfect combination for your coffee and business can seem like a momentous task.
By turning to a specialty coffee packaging expert like MTPak Coffee, you can select an option — like flat bottom kraft paper bags — that balances exactly what you need from your packaging with what will appeal to the customer, and what is practically possible for both.