As a specialty coffee roaster, you may think offering a high quality product will be enough to make it attractive to consumers. Unfortunately, in such a saturated market, this can be difficult.
Instead, roasters must ensure their packaging is doing everything it can to capture the attention of coffee consumers. Not only should it jump off the shelf, it should also reflect your brand and provide enough information to keep consumers interested.
To learn more about how you can make your packaging stand out from the competition, I spoke with Manuel Barsallo, Head Roaster at Paddle Coffee Roasters in Panama.
The Power Of Uniqueness
Manuel Barsallo is Head Roaster at Paddle Coffee Roasters, a specialty coffee shop in Panama. He explains that for coffee packaging to stand out on the shelf, coffee roasters must analyse what competitors are doing before settling on a design.
“First, you should have a look at what your competition is doing. Make an assessment of their packaging, and then sneak in with a novel design,” he says.
“For example, when I started out, the majority of my competitors’ coffee bags were either black, red, grey, green, or gold. I realised that I had to avoid these colours if I wanted my coffee to look different on the shelf.
“I opted for a white bag with a blue paddle, which automatically stands out when you view it alongside the competition,” he adds.
At MTPak Coffee, we offer a range of customisable packaging designs to help make your product unique. After conducting your market research, we can offer you a whole selection of colours and materials to provide the best fit for your brand.
Determining Your Target Market
Although consumer interest in the specialty coffee sector has grown in recent years, the level of specialised coffee knowledge will differ from one person to the next.
While consumers will look for essential information, such as roast profile, variety, origin, and roast date, Manuel tells me that roasters targeting more experienced demographics can afford to choose simpler packaging.
“If the consumer is already well-informed, roasters need only include the most relevant information on their packaging,” he says. “They can then include links to social media pages or websites for those who want to find out more information.
“This creates a dynamic that encourages pre-existing specialty coffee consumers to invest time in learning more about a coffee brand without overwhelming them with too much information.”
However, for first-time buyers of specialty coffee, roasters should take a different approach. Manuel explains that because these customers don’t tend to know much about coffee yet, it’s important to provide them with a more comprehensive overview on the packaging.
“When targeting first-time buyers, the more information you provide them with, the more knowledgeable they will become,” he says.
“For these customers, I recommend including variety, origin, process, producer, batch, and even instructions on how best to prepare coffee. Correct brewing is one of the biggest challenges people have when they start buying specialty coffee, so including it on the packaging is a good idea,” Manuel adds.
Communicating Your Brand
A strong brand identity will help your specialty coffee stand out on the shelf because it helps shoppers immediately recognise your product. However, make sure you consider how you want consumers to view your brand before designing your packaging.
“You have to be very clear about what you are selling first,” Manuel explains. “”For example, communicating details about a robusta will be different to the way you present a bag of specialty arabica beans. For specialty coffee, [I think] communication should have a more ‘elegant’ feel.”
Uniformity across your product range is also key for building brand recognition. Manuel recommends adopting similar styles, fonts, and colours to allow customers to become familiar with your brand.
“By maintaining consistency, whether it’s a coffee bag, postcard, book, or café, customers will learn to recognise your brand whenever they come across it.”
That being said, deviating from your style once in a while can be an effective way of stealing mindshare from competitors. Brands often do this in the form of a “limited edition” range, which helps draw in customers, and keep your brand at the forefront of people’s minds.
“I recommend breaking the pattern every so often, so that people realise you’re not just a linear brand,” Manuel says.
Whether you’re targeting experienced coffee brewers or first-time buyers, appealing to specialty coffee consumers is much easier if you have a clearly defined brand identity.
As a roaster, you only have a few seconds to make an impression on shoppers. As such, you should dedicate time and research to choosing packaging that grabs consumers’ attention and accurately reflects the product inside. It’s also important to create a consistent brand identity across a range of products that allows them to immediately spot your brand on the shelf.
At MTPak Coffee, we can help you find the right packaging for your specialty coffee that communicates the essence of your product, catches the attention of shoppers, and inspires people to make purchases.