STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 3, Number 1

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Page 56 of 75

STiR tea & coffee industry international 57 One example of a unique product line they've assisted with is Nature's Coffee Kettle. The package itself provides a way for people to brew gourmet coffee on the go and is designed for camping. Flair worked closely with the coffee company to come up with a package that reflected the client's vision and provided the functionality needed by using full-coverage graphics, an inte- grated handle and pour spout, a built-in filter, and a design that stays cool enough to handle even when full of hot coffee. The finished package is more than a vessel to contain a product; its very design tells what the company values. Flair states that they "pride themselves on the ability to creatively offer solutions that fit individual products with consumers in mind." In a move toward environmental sensitivity, even printing will get a new look. Hot stamp printing transfers foil to packages, re- ducing the pollution of the printing process as it does not use inks or solvents. For those who prefer the look of ink, soy-based inks are gaining favor. New shape When looking at structural changes emerging in coffee packaging, the Block Bottom Bag has been an important addition to the mar- ket. Howley of Pacific Bag believes these packages have excellent advantages because they can square up on a shelf like a box, stand up cleanly with expansive panels for printing, and offer opportu- nities like zippers and other reclosure options, rather than tradi- tional tin ties. Once again, they also send a message. Because it is a package that does not lend itself to automatic filling, it allows the smaller companies a way to distinguish themselves from the mega-packers. Block Bottom Bags will grow in usage, especially as better reclosure alternatives are developed, but for now cost is an important consideration. They run at about a 20% premium, depending upon the volume ordered. Materials Because sustainability is a goal of an increasing number of cof- fee companies, packagers are making strides with earth-friendly materials. Innovia Films has generated buzz with their triple-layer compostable packaging. Most flexible coffee packaging uses a three layer form: an exterior polypropylene film, an interior foil or metallized PET, and an interior polyethylene film. All of these materials are oil-based products. Innovia has developed a product called NatureFlex™ that re- places some of these fossil-fuel based products with renewable versions that make use of hardwoods like eucalyptus to produce cellulose films. It is also GMO-free. A reverse printable film can be made for the outside and a robust bio-sealant layer can add the necessary protections inside. The middle layer is constructed from a metallized NatureFlex™. The triple layer packaging is compostable in industrial systems. If an organization is primarily working in foodservice situations where turnover is quick, a single film layer can be used and that product is certified for both home and industrial composting. NatureFlex™ films were used to make packaging for South Africa's Caturra Coffee, which earned the "Certificate of Excel- lence - Most Innovative Product" at the Green Expo in Cape Town. Innovia is currently working with partners to develop compostable button valves that would give the entire finished package greater recyclability. They are also exploring partnerships with specialty paper companies that offer greater flexibility in package look. Printpack Coffeepods New Life for Coffee Capsules Printpack's polypropylene coffee capsules are an innovation that begins to address concerns about the billions of spent capsules entering the waste stream. In the past, consumers have taken matters into their own hands, removing the foil caps, putting the grounds in their compost heaps, and wash- ing and reusing the polystyrene cups. The hope of Printpack's global business development manager Dave Foster is that by moving toward polypropylene, the cups can be put into the recycling stream where they can find new life as toothbrush handles or park benches. If there is wide enough adoption and an FDA-approved system can be approved to keep the stream clean, there could even be a closed loop where the pods can be transformed into new capsules. Nespresso uses an aluminum and plastic capsule to lock in the 900 aromas of its cof- fee. Members of the online Nespresso Club are encouraged to return spent capsules to the company's boutiques in major cities. Simply melt- ing recovered fragments restores the properties of the original metal with very little energy. It takes only 5% of the energy re- quired to extract the same quantity of metal, according to the company. Once recovered the metal is used to create casings for the company's PIXIE Nespresso machine. "There is no better way to walk the walk: the cute PIXIE machine, which was already energy efficient, is now a real-life illustration of the benefits of collecting capsules," according to the company.

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