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Why bag-in-box is perfect for cold brew

Bag-in-box packaging is an invaluable innovation generously handed down from the wine industry. It has become an incredibly versatile, efficient, and cost-effective solution for storing and shipping beverages with unique flavour notes and temperamental expiry dates. 

Developed in 1955 by William R. Scholle, the bag-in-box was originally used as a safe way to transport battery acid to automotive repair shops and gas stations. Today, however, in addition to carrying liquid chemicals, bag-in-box is used to package cocktails, milk, water, and more recently, cold brew coffee. 

Bag-in-a-box packaging provides several benefits, such as the ability to maintain flavour profiles and prolong product shelf life. Beyond this, it offers strong protective barriers during transit and storage. 

To gain a better understanding of why bag-in-box is the ideal packaging solution for cold brew, I spoke to John Goerke, the founder & CEO of Bona Fide Nitro Coffee & Tea.

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What exactly is bag-in-box packaging? 

Bag-in-box, also known as BiB, comprises an internal aseptic bag made of a robust multilayer polymer encased within a sturdy cardboard box. Each bag has a plastic-framed opening sealed to it during the manufacturing process. This opening allows the liquids to be introduced into the bags safely and hygienically.

After filling, the opening is sealed either by a simple cap or a dispensing tap. This innovative box packaging system ensures the preservation of liquid contents such as coffee or wine. Beyond this, the bag and tap combination acts as a formidable barrier against external elements such as oxygen, microbes, and sunlight. 

The resilient cardboard box not only shields the internal bag from potential damage but also streamlines the transportation process. Additionally, it offers businesses a board canvas for branding and customisation. Overall, the internal bag’s robust construction paired with the cardboard’s durability provides protection and convenience throughout the supply chain.

Why invest in bag-in-box for cold brew coffee?

As previously mentioned, bag-in-box is often used in the wine industry. The intent is for each pour to retain the beverage’s unique flavours and expected quality. Therefore, the industry had to address challenges related to oxidation and spoilage

To mitigate these issues, the bag is designed to collapse as the wine is poured. This means there’s no residual air in the bag to oxidise the wine. Additionally, the seal is air-tight with only trace amounts of oxygen getting through. This slows down the oxidation process and helps keep the wine fresh. This innovation has seen bag-in-box spark mass interest amongst other industries, including the cold brew coffee sector. 

Bona Fide Nitro Coffee & Tea was launched in 2015 with a vision to be the premier kegged nitro coffee and tea solution for offices and food service outlets. John admits that the brand “initially resisted the idea of bag-in-box because there wasn’t a wide range of compatible dispensing systems when we started producing nitro coffee and tea kegs 10 years ago.”

That said, he believes “consumers are no longer ‘put off’ by the idea of bag-in-box packaging for wines, coffees, teas, and other upscale products. Bag-in-a-box has been around for long enough that consumers consider them to be trustworthy containers. For example, bag-in-box wine is [all] the rage in Europe,” he adds. 

John reveals that Bona Fide recently started production of BIB draft coffee and tea products, and expects a positive response from its business-to-business (B2B) customers and web store patrons. “Many of these customers already use kegs and some of them will undoubtedly be interested in converting to BIBs.” 

For both corporate events and day-to-day office settings, the convenience of bag-in-box packaging for cold brew shines. Its effortless dispensing system allows the consumer to pour their beverage seamlessly. 

Another significant advantage of bag-in-box for cold brew coffee is its ability to extend shelf life without compromising on quality. The combination of the interior bladder and exterior box shield cold brew from external elements such as air and light, which are known to impact flavour and freshness.

For coffee businesses, the benefits of bag-in-box packaging extend well beyond convenience to cost-effectiveness and sustainability. This packaging can be packed flat which drastically reduces transportation and storage costs. Beyond this, BiB is easy to recycle, which means it’s a guaranteed hit with eco-conscious customers.

“The obvious factors are total sustainability and shipping and handling costs,” John explains. “Kegs, bottles, and cans are heavy and expensive to manufacture and transport. These hard packages also take up the same amount of space in a factory whether they are full or empty. BiB packaging is lighter, and the packages are stored flat until they are filled. Those factors all have a substantial impact on the final beverage cost.” Furthermore, the ability to control portion sizes through the tap system minimises in-store waste.

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What to consider when investing in bag-in-box

Demand for cold brew shows no sign of slowing down. Notably, the cold brew coffee market is predicted to reach around $944.16 million by 2025. Switching to bag-in-box packaging can give brands a strategic and aesthetic edge. 

Collaborating with packaging experts who are experienced in flavour preservation and shelf-life allows brands to tailor materials and techniques to the needs of cold brew coffee. This will need to include optimising barrier properties and controlling oxygen transmission rates. Beyond this, it must include packaging design that ensures the product’s integrity from production to consumption.

Cold brew coffee brands need to align packaging strategies with consumer expectations. More customers are admitting they factor in sustainability practices when choosing which brand to stay loyal to. 

The cardboard used for the outer layer is often 100% recyclable in a majority of recycling plants, and the internal bags can be separated before recycling. Alternatively, they’re composed of recyclable materials, such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and polylactic acid (PLA).

At Cold Brew Pak, we offer fully customisable bag-in-box cold brew packaging solutions. With our ergonomic on-tap dispensing system, our innovative bag-in-box packaging will dispense almost every drop of your product to ensure customer satisfaction. The interior bag has a highly resilient film structure, while the corrugated kraft paper box provides unparalleled drop protection and ease-of-use.

We can make sure you stand out in a crowded market by offering typically refrigerated beverages “on-tap” in unique, multi-serve packaging with extended freshness and longer shelf life. 

Interested in the subject? Check the article below.

Custom Cans

We offer a range of 100% recyclable aluminium cans for cold brew, as well as clear cans made from food grade 100% plastic PET.

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.