As we prepare to exhibit at the London Coffee Festival, we are reflecting on the latest trends in hot beverage packaging, from the fresh green shoots of innovation to the powerful upward trajectory of established, deep-rooted trends.
What we need to know first
Hot beverages include drinks such as coffee, tea, tisanes, infusions, and hot chocolates, which are available in a range of preparations from loose leaf, fresh, dried, powdered, ground, and whole coffee beans. As such, these products have a broad range of potential packaging requirements and diverse product protection needs. Dried leaf tea, for instance, requires packaging that will preserve its freshness with barriers to aroma, gas and moisture; keeping flavour locked in and extending shelf life.
Coffee, especially fresh roasted beans, has similar needs; however, an additional barrier against UV light is required to prevent tainting. With such high barrier demands, flexible fresh coffee packs have traditionally been made from thick multi-material plastic laminates. These complex plastic packs can come in different bag or pouch applications that are suitable for nitrogen flushing for freshness and are fitted with a one-way valve; preventing oxygen from getting in whilst releasing carbon dioxide produced by the beans. Thick multi-material plastic packs tend to be non-recyclable and a heavy drain on fossil fuel-based resources, and there is a growing move away from these types of packs – keep reading for more information on how!
When it comes to packaging, teas, coffees, and other hot drinks are available to purchase in a wide range of application formats. Dried tea leaves in teabags might be wrapped in an envelope or sachet, boxed, with an over-wrap; freeze-dried coffee may come in stick packs, while fresh coffee grounds come in convenient pods and bags, and beans in larger quad seal bags or stand-up pouches. Packaging applications always factor in product protection but a growing number of other considerations, do too.
What’s fresh for hot beverage packaging?
Convenience is a long-term trend of the hot beverage market, as is extended shelf-life, stand-out shelf appeal, and even improved packing line efficiency. However, there is one overarching trend that is infused throughout all applications and products: Sustainability.
Let’s start with single-use plastics. Many hot beverage producers are striving to reduce or remove single-use plastic packaging from their portfolio. This can mean removing overwrapping or switching out non-recyclable virgin materials for recycled content and recyclable materials.
Sustainability and ethical brands: many hot beverage companies are committed to ethical and fair-trade practices, with a growing trend towards B-Corp Certification. As such, these organisations are required to meet high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. Sustainable packaging is, therefore, essential to ensure they achieve their high environmental performance targets. For this reason, numerous brands are moving towards renewable and compostable solutions, like Dark Woods Coffee, a speciality coffee roaster based in West Yorkshire, UK. Dark Woods Coffee has chosen home compostable packaging from Parkside for its range of hospitality and B2B supplied coffee beans, making them one of the first companies to adopt 100% compostable coffee packaging for the hospitality sector.
The ground-breaking flexible packaging consists of a home-compostable bag from our Park2Nature™ range and an industrially compostable valve. The industry-leading solution is set to enhance Dark Woods’ formidable ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) credentials following its B Corp certification. Other trends in compostable solutions include compostable coffee pods, coffee pads, and compostable bags for tea, such as our packs for Bird & Blend.
In addition to reducing single-use plastics and switching to renewable and compostable alternatives, many brand owners continue to reduce their overall packaging carbon footprint by using light weighted packs that are lighter to transport, lighter on resources, and can be used in conjunction with the growing trend towards refillable and reusable containers.
Want to know more?
Don’t forget we will be participating at the London Coffee Festival on the 20th – 23rd April, where we will showcase our range of sustainable solutions for hot beverages, including compostable Park2Nature™ packs, accredited for home composting within 26 weeks; Recoflex™ recyclable mono-polymer ultra-high barrier metallised PP or High Barrier PE packs that can be recycled at storefront soft plastic collection points; and our Recoflex paper recyclable solutions that are not only excellent barriers to grease and moisture but designed to fit with current paper recycling guidelines.