Featured image for Club Coffee Developed A Sustainable Alternative To Multilayer Pouch Packaging

Club Coffee Developed A Sustainable Alternative To Multilayer Pouch Packaging

by Chloe Gordon on 02/01/2022 | 5 Minute Read

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Background: Coffee is the number 1 beverage across the US and Canada. The average Canadian drinks 2.8 cups per day and in total more than fourteen billion cups of coffee are consumed across the country each year.

Most consumers are well educated on the need to consider sustainability when it comes to their coffee choices. They know to look for certifications like the Rainforest Alliance seal and the FAIRTRADE mark to ensure their coffee is not grown or procured in a manner that is detrimental to environment or that entails oppressive or unethical business practices.

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Despite this, coffee (including coffee which is mass marketed as sustainable or premium) has until now been packaged in a less than sustainable way.

It has been packaged predominantly in multilayer plastic and foil type pouches, in plastic jars, or in metal or mixed composite cans. Most of these formats present problems for recyclers and so end up in landfill despite consumer concerns about plastic waste.

A growing awareness of this fact amongst consumers has led to a demand for change.

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Requirement: Club Coffee is one of the largest coffee roasters in North America and a key coffee partner for top-selling US brands as well as many of Canada’s leading retailers. The business has a firm commitment to sustainability and has previously pioneered sustainable innovations such as P??rPod100TM - the world’s first certified 100% compostable single-serve beverage pod.

Club Coffee was keen to develop a more sustainable alternative to multilayer pouch packaging and began working with AR Packaging, now part of Graphic Packaging International, to find an answer to its needs. Working as a team from concept to execution, the two partners developed AromaPakTM featuring Boardio® technology.

The AromaPakTM coffee system featuring Boardio® technology delivers a fully recyclable and sustainable paper-based solution for both whole bean coffee and ground coffee. Each pack is made from more than 80% paperboard, ensuring both mechanical strength and sturdiness. This paperboard is widely recycled post-consumer use through existing channels, including curbside collection, helping to reduce waste to landfill.

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The paperboard is also produced using 100% renewable fiber from sustainably managed forests. The high quality of this fiber makes it a valued input for recycled paper products after initial use.

The Boardio® package is the new sustainable choice, even for sensitive products such as coffee which require gas tight packaging. At Club Coffee, the coffee is nitrogen flushed at filling to keep the packed coffee fresh for a longer period. The fiber- based and recyclable container can replace many traditional packaging types, such as tin cans, plastic tubs and glass jars, but also full plastic stand-up pouches.

Coffee is also a demanding product to package. It needs high barrier packaging to prevent oxidization and, in the case of whole coffee beans, breakages. To deliver the required protection, Graphic Packaging developed an innovative material laminate and Boardio® technology where minimal barrier and sealing layers are used without adhesives, glue or hot-melt to reduce material complexity and simplify recyclability.

Specifically, an ultra-thin barrier layer of aluminum foil provides an airtight gas barrier to preserve the coffee’s freshness and extend its shelf life. Minimized layers of polyethylene (PE) provide tight, safe seals. There is no use of harmful chemicals such as fluorinated chemicals and BPA.

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Additional design considerations and benefits: In addition to providing a more sustainable means of packaging coffee, the design of AromaPakTM featuring Boardio® technology delivers many other benefits. This includes:

• A premium feel, enhancing brand perception. • Thanks to its use of paperboard, the package naturally looks and feels sustainable. • The format is ideal for retail shelf ready packs and pallet stacking. In addition, the paperboard employed can accommodate various design and color applications, helping to ensure better on-shelf standout, especially compared to multilayer plastic/foil bags. • Boardio® is designed with the entire consumer experience uppermost in mind. It is sturdy making it easy to handle, open/reseal and store. It also has a convenient, large opening which makes it easier for consumers to pour, measure or scoop ground coffee or beans. • The pack components are shipped flat and formed / sealed during the coffee packaging process. This means that the number of pallets, and consequently trucks, can be minimized and less storage space is needed. As an example, 1 million Boardio® packs of 1.9 liter size would require a total of 3 truckloads for delivery of all components to the filler, while the same quantity and size of packs in the form of tin cans would require 56 trucks. Space and transports are reduced by 95%, which drives down costs and improves the CO2/GHG emissions profile.

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A lifecycle analysis shows much lower carbon emissions (CO2) caused by Boardio® compared to the alternative packaging solutions: • 86% less than metal cans • 78% less than molded plastic canisters

This data is from 3rd part verified LCA and details can be shared on request.

Execution and delivery: Club Coffee has successfully integrated the use of the AromaPakTM packaging system featuring Boardio® technology into its

existing manufacturing facilities. These facilities operate to the very highest standards as reflected by their BRC ‘AA’ certification.

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The coffee is flushed with nitrogen at the point of pack forming and sealing. The AromaPakTM featuring Boardio® technology can withstand the demands of this process as well subsequent transportation conditions.

The AromaPakTM coffee system featuring Boardio® technology began entering the Canadian market in 2021 and is being launched in the United States in 2022.

Following its introduction in Canada, focus groups and home testing have revealed that 70% of consumers prefer AromaPakTM featuring Boardio® technology over traditional bags and cans. They believed it delivers a higher quality coffee experience than other packaging formats on the market today. An impressive 86% also expressed a willingness to switch to this new, innovative and more sustainable pack format.