Modern packaging has allowed sensitive products such as coffee to be enjoyed in many different ways rather than just freshly ground at the coffeehouse. Choices of method are now many: whether from a cafetière using ready ground beans, using ‘pods’ or capsules in one of the modern machines, or in the cup using singleportion sachets of freeze-dried ‘instant’. With every method alufoil plays animportant role. For many years tea was mainly shipped in wooden ‘chests’ or boxes lined with aluminium foil for protection. Now aluminium foil plays a big part in retail packaging – bringing fresh, aromatic teas to the discerning public.
In addition other powdered or ‘instant’ drinks such as drinking chocolate are enjoyed in perfect condition despite a sometimes long storage period thanks to alufoil.The availability of aluminium foil, which combines total barrier protection with flexibility, as well as attractive appearance and compatibility with other materials, is one of the keys to enabling consumer enjoyment of all types of coffees, teas and chocolate-based drinks.
Brand owners and retailers now offer coffees and teas for every occasion in both single-serve and family packs. In the workplace, in catering outlets and ‘on-the-move’ dispense points cover every moment. Preparation processes for instant coffees through to specialist varieties for cafetières, filter and espresso machines, plus single serve systems are adding to the multitude of consumer choices. This diversity, coupled with the need for product protection, has led to a large number of packaging alternatives featuring alufoil.
More detailed information about the LCA of "Coffee" can be found here.
This format combines lightness and high protection thanks to the alufoil layer. It can be used as an ‘eco-refill pack’ for instant coffee, as well as a regular presentation for ground coffee and for the pods used in coffee machines. There are now easy-open and reclosable versions, adding convenience to full product protection. The latest ultrasonically welded valve systems are easily incorporated.
Fine printed effects combining reverse printing, which exploit the gloss of the outer film laminate with the luxurious metallic effect of the aluminium foil substrate, can be used to convey high levels of quality and appeal.
An established high-barrier format, this is used particularly for ground coffee. Scientific study* has demonstrated that a vacuum pack laminate, which incorporates a layer of aluminium foil, achieves the best performance in stopping the loss of vital aromatic properties of coffee.
Cylindrical alufoil/board cartons featuring a tabbed ‘pull-out’ alufoil membrane will ensure total protection of tea. Reclosure, that can be provided by a plastic cap, will allow use over an extended period and can give the container a useful ‘second life’ as highly protective storage.
The alufoil sachet is a familiar packaging format, bringing instant one-cup convenience to tea and coffee drinkers. The latest version – the ‘stick’ format– offers an easy-open system whether using laser scoring or slits in the outerfilm layer. A similar shape and convenience has been extended into the sachets used for instant chocolate and malt-based hot drinks.
Alufoil laminate sachets are also in widespread use for the protection of individual coffee pods and single-serve coffee filters.
Domestic coffee making has reached new levels of sophistication with the growth in ‘home espresso’ systems. One uses an advanced combination of aluminium foil capsules (small smoothwall alufoil containers with alufoil lids) and machine technology with a unique extraction system. The attractive capsules are colour-coded according to coffee type – demonstrating creativity can be combined with excellence in performance.
The metal in the alufoil capsules is fully recyclable.
This unique format uses the mechanical properties of aluminium foil to create a rigid perforated container for the tea. Alufoil’s ‘deadfold’ characteristic, heat resistance and conductivity, food safety and compatibility with its contents and its decorative appearance are all combined. The alufoil Stick Tea format also has the advantage that the tea can be removed cleanly from the individual glass or cup as soon as the desired strength has been reached.
*Verpackungs-Rundschau1/96 Technisch-Wissenschaftliche Beilage 48 (1996) No. 1 AROMA changes incoffee vacuum packed using different packaging materials: A. Lindner-Steinert,M. Zou; Fraunhofer-Institut für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung(Fraunhofer Institute for Food Technology and Packaging), Munich, Germany.