The Single-Serve Coffee Pod Teeter-Totter: Eco-Friendly vs Convenience

September 29, 2015

Have you had your morning coffee yet? Did it come in one of those handy little “K” cups that brews a fresh cup of joe for you in just a few seconds? We can wait, because you’re going to want to pay attention to this blog and those single-serving cups play an important role …

There is a constant battle in the minds of consumers between wanting to be environmentally ethical but not wanting to sacrifice convenience or price. The teeter-tottering between these two forces can be a struggle for food and packaging manufacturers who try to stay ahead of consumer demand.


Risks exist for being associated with being too slow or being too quick to adapt. You can’t chase every little shift in buying patterns, but you also can’t afford to miss out entirely on the big ones. It’s like being stuck between the rock and a hard place.

Take for example K-cups and the entire industry of single-serving brewing companions. Consumers love them! They love them so much that if you took all of the pods used in 2014 and lined them up one-by-one, you could circle the Earth seven times!

Then again, from an ecological perspective the amount of pods put in landfills could also circle the Earth seven times as well. Good for consumers, bad for the earth. That is why Keurig and other companies are having many, ahem, sleepless nights trying to find a way to manufacture a more earth-friendly cup lid (the cause of all the issues).

So food and food packaging manufacturers have three choices:

  1. Miss out on a huge consumer shift to single-serving coffee cups and hurt your bottom line.
  2. Jump into the market and potentially hurt the environment as well as open yourself up to negative impacts on your brand as a result.
  3. Change the game and innovate something new, like Club Coffee is doing with its upcoming launch of a fully compostable coffee pod.

The challenge is on the material manufacturers and package designers to create ways for consumers to have the best of both worlds. With the rise of conscious consumer, in part driven by the Millennial generation, brands that do not take environmentally-friendly efforts seriously are losing face with 64% of consumers who think sustainability is an important part of packaging.

Learn how Ernest Packaging Solutions’ team of innovative designers and packaging wizards can create your new packaging to deliver a high impact on consumers with a low impact on the environment. Contact us today to get started.