5 Sustainable Tea and Coffee Packaging Trends in the UK

Packaging Manager Sarah Martin unveils Finlay Beverages’ sustainable tea and coffee packaging f initiative and highlights five key packaging trends UK retailers should be aware of.

Four years since David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II ignited the “War on Plastic”, consumers are more aware than ever of their plastic and packaging footprint.

A recent Kantar study found that, globally, the top two actions people plan to do more to be more sustainable are using refillables/reusables and buying sustainable packaging. This is driving manufacturers in all categories to find more sustainable packaging solutions. But sustainable packaging is far from easy to design. Some products require lots of protection and sustainable packaging can also mean compromising on shelf life. Significant development work is required to maintain manufacturing speed and efficiency to ensure the formats are as sustainable to the business as they are to the planet.

Having launched our UK sustainable packaging plan two years ago, we’ve learnt a lot about overcoming these complexities. So, what does all this mean for tea and coffee? Here are five key retail packaging trends to have on your radar.

  1. Plastic wrap-free boxes

Removing single-use plastic outer wraps is a priority for the tea sector and more solutions will be coming to market this year. For us at Finlays, this involved a complex redesign of the cardboard tea caddy, but the effort was worth it. By removing outer wraps, Finlays alone was able to cut out 16 million pieces of single-use plastic a year.

  1. Compostable teabags

Despite some controversy, compostable and biodegradable packaging continues to resonate strongly with consumers. Keep your eyes peeled for suppliers combining compostable paper with redesigned, plastic-free caddies to offer fully sustainable tea packs.

  1. Recyclable film for coffee

Efforts are focused on finding a recyclable film solution for freshly roasted ground and bean coffee packs. This is a challenge, as any new materials need to keep the coffee fresh and work well with packing machines, but progress is promising. At Finlays, we expect to have a solution ready later this year.

  1. Packaging-free emerges

Looking to the future, given strong consumer interest in reuse and refill, we expect to see retailers trialling packaging-free options.

  1. Carbon labels

Only a minority of consumers currently look for carbon labels on food and beverage products, according to Kantar, but awareness is increasing. As the net-zero agenda continues to gain traction, we expect to see growing demand for low-carbon and carbon-neutral claims.

To find out more about sustainability at Finlays visit www.finlays.net/about-us/stronger-on-purpose 

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