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The importance of certified cold brew coffee packaging

The new age of specialty coffee brings with it increased demand for sustainability and ethical practices. This is particularly relevant for brands offering cold brew coffee, which has become a massive success among younger consumers. Notably, it’s these consumers who are at the forefront of this movement and are steering the course toward a more environmentally conscious future. 

Studies show that some consumers are willing to pay a premium of up to 16% for sustainably packaged products. This increase in eco-conscious consumers has driven the need for sustainable and certified cold brew coffee packaging. However, buzzwords such as “organic” and “eco-friendly” have become common generic terms used in several marketing strategies. 

Beyond this, consumers are consistently faced with greenwashing or misleading environmental claims for profit. Certifications on cold brew coffee packaging provide brands with a credible, accessible, and impactful way of assuring consumers of its genuine ethical practices. 

To learn more about the importance of certified cold brew coffee packaging, I spoke to Krzysztof Barabosz of Hard Beans Coffee Roasters, and Darleen Scherer, the co-founder of Chairlift Coffee Lab

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The importance of certified cold brew coffee packaging

By 2025, the cold brew coffee market is expected to increase by $1.37 billion, according to research. Easy-to-spot certifications on cold brew packaging can help to build trust between brands and consumers, which benefits the overall success of a business. Certified cold brew coffee packaging signifies that a brand has chosen to adhere to voluntary standards regarding environmental welfare, sustainability, and ethical issues. 

Credible, independent organisations such as TÜV SÜD consistently monitor and review these standards. Packaging that is compliant with global safety regulations earns the certification. “In a competitive market, certifications can help a brand stand out by demonstrating its commitment to environmental responsibility,” explains Krzysztof, who is the CPO and Head of Coffee at Hard Beans in Opole, Poland.

“As environmental concerns continue to rise, many consumers [look for] products with eco-friendly certifications. Certifications provide consumers with assurance that the packaging meets certain environmental standards,” he says. “Many consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of products they purchase and are more likely to choose products with certifications [that indicate] sustainability.” 

Beyond this, certifications show that packaging and products have undergone rigorous assessment and meet the established standards for environmental responsibility and safety. It’s this transparency that cultivates trust and loyalty in consumers. Studies show that even a modest 5% increase in customer loyalty can yield a staggering 95% boost in profits. 

Furthermore, research indicates that existing customers are 50% more inclined to invest in products compared to new customers, underscoring the significance of fostering lasting relationships.

Importantly, Krzysztof notes that “in some regions, certain certifications may be required by law or industry standards. Having the necessary certifications ensures compliance with regulations, avoiding potential legal issues and penalties.”

What certifications are available for cold brew packaging? 

Several certifications are available for cold-brew packaging. More importantly, each comes with its own set of standards and specific criteria. Nevertheless, opting for a globally recognised certification enhances recognisability and credibility. 

Some of the most recognised certifications include: 

  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): This ensures the materials were sourced from responsibly managed forests that promote biodiversity and conservation, particularly in the packaging industry.
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI): Similarly, this verifies that the materials used in the provided packaging originate from sustainably managed forests that promise to focus on environmental, social, and economic benefits. 
  • BPI-Certified Compostable: This indicates the packaging materials are compostable according to established standards. Plus, they break down into organic matter without leaving behind harmful residue. 
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What do these certifications mean for your cold brew packaging?

The FSC and SFI certifications assure consumers of the responsible source of the packaging materials. Compostable certifications, on the other hand, can provide consumers with peace of mind when it comes to choosing brands that are committed to reducing pollution and promoting a circular economy. 

Some studies indicate customers tend to prioritise materials that can be reused and repurposed, or easily degradable. Darleen Scherer is the co-founder of Chairlift Coffee Lab, an agency with 20+ years of industry experience helping those with coffee businesses thrive amidst the constantly changing consumer landscape.

“Research indicates certifications on packaging can boost cold-brew coffee sales,” she says. “Highlighting ethical, sustainable, and quality certifications attracts buyers who value transparency and responsible sourcing in specialty coffee. These consumers associate certified labels with higher quality and make purchase decisions based on that trust and association with the brand.”

However, she only recommends pursuing organic certifications if doing so authentically aligns with the roaster’s brand’s core positioning and values. “For brands where it does fit, certification can have several benefits,” Darleen continues. For example, she says it can: 

  • Reassure customers that products are produced sustainably, which boosts brand trust.
  • Justify higher pricing compared to uncertified products for the commitment to eco-friendly, fair production. 
  • Distinguish a brand as a leader in supporting coffee communities and environmental stewardship. 
  • Organic USDA certification makes products eligible for partnerships with specialty retail stores focused on sustainability.

Obtaining certifications and investing in sustainable packaging solutions can help cold brew coffee brands differentiate themselves in a highly competitive coffee market. Beyond this, certified cold brew packaging builds trust with consumers, and can drive positive change within the industry. 

As expectations for sustainable packaging rise alongside demand for cold brew coffee, certified packaging represents not only an opportunity for enhanced loyalty but also a moral imperative for brands seeking to thrive in an increasingly conscious market. 

At Cold Brew Pak, our cold brew packaging solutions are certified as compostable, sustainably sourced, and recyclable. Our biodegradable or compostable packaging products are in compliance with the European certification standard (EN 13432). Our certification is issued by Din Certco.

Cold Brew Pak was founded on the belief that we should be able to enjoy our favourite things without damaging the environment. We are fully committed to promoting a circular economy model and furthering its uptake across the coffee industry. This means rejecting a take-make-waste approach in favour of one that keeps products in use for as long as possible.

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About the author

Holly Szakal is a Melbourne-based copy and content writer and is deeply immersed in her city's vibrant specialty coffee culture. She infuses the rich aromas of the specialty coffee scene by delivering compelling narratives on the industry's current events.