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STir January/February 2014: Toward a Simpler Coffee Packaging Future

Kelle Vandenberg

By Katrina Ávila Munichiello

How does a company make coffee packaging that stands out among an ever increasing number of SKUs on the shelf? In the past, the answer was brighter colors, flashy graphics and slick package features. In 2014 there is a change in attitude. Packagers are exploring simple design elements that communicate a more rustic feel and an ongoing commitment to sustainability.

“There’s a wave that’s coming with specialty coffee people focused on creating a new experience in coffee,” says Pacific Bag c.e.o. Mark Howley. “They are using packaging as one of the mediums to convey that message.” This emerging approach in the coffee packaging sector will have an impact on design, structure and function.

Color and style
Looking strictly at color and style, packagers will lean more heavily toward earth tones. Printing will be matte, rather than glossy and the overall effect will be minimalist. “What we’re seeing in the marketplace,” says Innovia Films market developer Neil Banerjee, “is a desire for more of an artisan, natural look and feel.” Coffee producers want packaging to reflect their brand image. Flair Flexible Packaging is a company that is in the thick of this movement. Flair offers a wide variety of custom printing for coffee packaging as well as private labeling. Their program allows smaller companies to create bags with big design and small minimums.

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 integrated 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, reducing 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.

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