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What to consider when investing in bag-in-box for cold brew coffee

The ease of online shopping has made the buying experience more convenient than ever. In the specialty coffee sector, more consumers want products that deliver exceptional taste and offer convenience. Alongside this, the demand for cold brew coffee continues to grow, with the market value estimated to reach $3105.5 million by 2030.

This burst in popularity is likely fuelled by the drink’s smooth flavour profile and ready-to-drink (RTD) convenience. As a result, more brands are turning to bag-in-box packaging as a reliable way to meet consumer expectations. Bag-in-box packaging is the ideal solution for brands wanting to cater to these consumers while maintaining product integrity.

A packaging technique borrowed from the wine industry, bag-in-box for cold brew coffee allows brands to maintain the beverage’s unique flavour profile while making transport and storage easier. 

But what should brands consider before investing in bag-in-box for cold brew coffee? I spoke to Krzysztof Barabosz, the head of coffee at Hard Beans Coffee Roasters, to find out. 

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How effective is bag-in-box packaging for cold brew coffee?

One of the most distinct benefits of bag-in-box packaging is its ability to preserve the integrity of the liquid inside. Unlike many other packaging methods, bag-in-box boasts an airtight and opaque design. This effectively shields the coffee inside from factors such as light and oxygen,  which degrade flavour and aroma.

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. This opening is sealed once the bag is filled, either by a simple cap or with a dispensing tap.

Freshness is paramount when offering cold brew coffee. The intricate flavour nuances and aromatic compounds, which are responsible for delivering the mellow and smooth taste, are expected in every sip. For consumers, enjoying cold brew at its freshest is a priority.

As the co-founder of Hard Beans Coffee Technology HUB, Krzysztof reveals the advantages he’s seen since switching to BiB.

“Bag-in-box packaging preserves the quality of cold brew coffee by creating an airtight seal that prevents oxygen from degrading the flavour and aroma,” he says. “Additionally, the opaque cardboard box shields the coffee from light exposure, which can alter its taste.”

Beyond this, the fitted hermetic seal on the internal bladder ensures that each serving of cold brew is as flavourful and aromatic as the very first pour. Essentially, BiB packaging is a cost-effective, efficient way to provide consumers with a consistent drinking experience every time. “This combination of protection against oxygen and light helps maintain the unique flavour profile and freshness of cold brew coffee over an extended period,” Krzysztof adds. 

BiB’s compact and lightweight design makes it an ideal option for storage and transportation, reducing logistics costs and environmental impact. For example, the collapsible design minimises the required headspace, while the external box provides protection for the internal bladder during transport.

“Bag-in-box packaging is convenient for storage, transportation, and dispensing, making it a practical choice for both manufacturers and consumers,” Krzysztof says. 

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Factors to consider before investing in a bag-in-box

Before fully committing to BiB for cold brew, brands must conduct a thorough evaluation process to ensure a seamless, hassle-free transition. This will ensure this packaging structure aligns with not only business needs but also consumer expectations. Factors such as feasibility, sustainability, and overall cost-effectiveness must be considered. 

It’s also vital to ensure the compatibility of BiB with a brand’s existing production and packaging processes. This involves assessing current equipment and facilities and determining whether they can accommodate the implementation of BiB technology. It will also extend beyond physical needs. Brands must consider the operational aspects of the roastery or coffee shop, such as production efficiency, workflow integration, and quality control measures.

More so, with the rise of sustainability consumer considerations, it’s critical to evaluate factors such as recyclability and material sourcing. Prioritising eco-conscious decisions when adapting new operations can help brands enhance environmental stewardship and resonate with environmentally conscious consumers.

Beyond this, it’s worth conducting market research to understand consumer preferences, behaviours, and dynamics related to using bag-in-box for cold brew. For instance, for those in wholesale, would the switch benefit the client’s coffee shops? As a coffee shop owner, would the switch allow for faster service times? It’s essential that brands insight and act on their findings. Market intelligence enables businesses to tailor their approach to find a better solution for consumers.

When investing in bag-in-box, it’s vital to evaluate cost-effectiveness across the entire supply chain—from production and storage to transportation and distribution. While BiB offers advantages such as reduced packaging material costs, enhanced product shelf life, and logistical efficiency, brands need to assess the total cost of ownership and weigh it against potential benefits. This cost-benefit analysis must take into account factors such as equipment investments, packaging material expenses, labour costs, and supply chain optimisation efforts.

Krzysztof recommends a simple checklist when considering making the jump to bag-in-box packaging. 

  • Material Quality: Evaluate the quality and suitability of the bag and box materials for preserving cold-brew coffee.
  • Compatibility: Ensure compatibility with production, filling, and dispensing processes to avoid inefficiencies.
  • Storage and Transportation: Consider logistical aspects, such as space requirements and stacking capabilities for storage and transportation.
  • Cost Analysis: Conduct a comprehensive cost analysis, including equipment, materials, and operational expenses. 
  • Consumer Perception: Assess how consumers perceive bag-in-box packaging compared to other formats and its alignment with brand image and target market preferences.

Switching to bag-in-box packaging can help brands keep up with the growing demand for cold-brew coffee amidst a crowded market landscape. However, successful adoption of this packaging requires consideration of various factors, especially sustainability. With 78% of consumers admitting that sustainable decisions are vital to them, there’s never been a more critical time to ensure your business keeps up with these eco-friendly demands.

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.