Australians trending towards sustainable coffee and packaging

Australian consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with sustainable coffee.

Australian’s preference for sustainable coffee and packaging is rising according to a 2018 study by market research company IbisWorld. Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the origin of their products and the companies they purchase from.

“Sustainability has been a big topic of late, with Australian consumers paying much more attention to whether the products they purchase and the companies they purchase them from are environmentally sustainable,” says Daniel Malki, General Manager of Jet Technologies.

Jet Technologies is a supplier of sustainable packaging, specialising in products for the coffee industry.

“On the one hand, the Australian coffee market is being driven by continued growth in demand for premium coffee products, and on the other hand, it’s very apparent that consumer pressure for more sustainable product packaging and use of plastics is well underway,” Daniel says.

The push for eco-friendly practices has led some cafés to phase out plastic straws, promote reusable cups for take-away coffees, and some large food retailers to ban single-use plastic bags. But according to Daniel, this pressure doesn’t mean consumers will accept any decline in coffee product quality, for the sake of a more sustainable packaging option.

The ‘war on waste’ became a national issue in January 2018, when China banned the importation of 24 types of recyclable materials. Prior to this, Australia shipped large quantities of waste to China and paid for it to be recycled.

Australia is now struggling to find solutions to deal with the 1.3 million tonnes of recyclable waste that was previously exported, according to the ABC.

Daniel believes the coffee industry can contribute by moving away from traditional packaging techniques, but the key challenges lie in protecting shelf-life, quality and brand presentation.

“While many coffee businesses are wanting to move towards sustainability in their packaging, they also need to continue to offer the same quality, fresh coffee product and strong packaging that was previously offered in a traditional foil-lined coffee bag, which wasn’t recyclable,” says Daniel.

Coffee and tea revenue in Australia is growing and projected to reach $1.3 billion over the next five years according to IbisWorld’s research. This growing demand for coffee and the consumer preference for sustainability means that finding eco-friendly packaging options is becoming increasingly appealing to businesses.

“Many big-name companies have also pledged to make 100 per cent of their packaging recyclable within the next few years., while others are waiting for recycling infrastructure in Australia to be improved, particularly in relation to the recycling of flexibles, before changing to new packaging materials.” Daniel says.

Like others in the market, Jet Technologies is attempting to cater for the growing desire for environmentally friendly packaging. According to Daniel, the industry hasn’t solved the puzzle yet, but is in a promising position.

“At this stage, there is more work to be done before a coffee packaging option that is biodegradable in landfill is available, which is also truly capable of protecting the quality of coffee product.”

“The good news is that the packaging market is now positioned to deliver recyclable flexible packaging options that are capable of protecting and ensuring the high quality of the coffee product they contain,” Daniel says.

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