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Full Ingeo coffee pod for Keurig

Capsule combined with PLA nonwoven filter and multi-layer top lidding.

5th April 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  North America

Industrial, Packaging

NatureWorks has optimised a compostable coffee pod solution compatible with Keurig brewers for the North American market.

Made possible by a multi-year partnership with IMA Coffee, a global leader in the manufacturing of coffee handling, processing and packaging technologies, it delivers high quality brewing performance, can be produced at commercial speeds and is made entirely from compostable, biobased materials.

For the rigid capsule body, NatureWorks was able to combine non-compounded, highly crystalline and heat resistant Ingeo PLA grades with a refined single-stage thermoforming process to achieve production rates comparable to current polypropylene (PP) capsules. The capsule was combined with a nonwoven filter and multi-layer top lidding solution also made with Ingeo.

The use of one primary material through all three components is more cost effective and offers greater consistency when heat sealing them together, better preserving the taste and aroma of the coffee.

 The microleakage detection testing performed at IMA Coffee Lab helped identify and achieve the optimal material sealing parameters and limits for the compostable components to ensure reliable performance. IMA was also able to define the suitable set up of its packaging machines to handle the assembly, filling and sealing of the pods successfully at commercial line speeds.

“This solution removes the burden from brands and roasters who are looking for a compostable pod with a long shelf life that preserves the taste and aroma of the coffee,” said Flavio Di Marcotullio, strategic marketing manager of single serve beverages at NatureWorks. “These Ingeo pods provide a reliable brewing experience for consumers, can be produced at commercial speeds and do not sacrifice expected performance for sustainability.”

A recently published study by Wageningen University and Research concluded that compostable coffee pods made with Ingeo biopolymer are the most sustainable option when considering both greenhouse emissions and material circularity, which included considering the fate of the used coffee grounds inside the pods.

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