Club Coffee launches compostable coffee pods

Developed at the University of Guelph, the PürPod 100 is made of bio-based materials

Mark Cardwell for Canadian Grocer April 15, 2015

Club Coffee is launching what it says will be the world’s first completely compostable single-serve pod this fall.

Club-Coffee-PurPodBut analysts are still brewing over the breakthrough potential of the new product. Can it be a solution to the ongoing pollution problem plaguing North America’s fast-growing, multibillion-dollar single-serve coffee market?

“The amount of used single-serve pods sent to landfills last year could have circled the earth 11 times,” noted Club Coffee chief executive officer, John Pigott, on Apr. 8 during the announcement of PürPod 100 at the company’s headquarters in Seattle, Wash.

“That’s not acceptable. As a large manufacturer and distributor of packaged coffee, we have a responsibility to our customers, and to society, to reduce the environmental impact of our activities,” said Pigott.

Pigott called the PürPod 100-a pod that will be certified as 100-percent compostable, and can be converted to useful compost- “the most viable solution” to the environmental pod problem.

Infographic_rev19_clubized-img01Developed by researchers at the University of Guelph, the PürPod 100 is made of bio-based materials that, as its name implies, are fully compostable. According to the company, which was founded in 1906, all parts of the pods are designed to be both digestible and accessible to bacteria. That includes the ring of the pod, which is made using coffee chaff, the skin that comes off coffee beans during the roasting process.

The pod continues to undergo testing to meet U.S. and international composting standards.

However, the company expects it to be certified, in production, and on store shelves in both Canada and the U.S. by the fall.

Compatible with most Keurig brewing systems, including the new Keurig 2.0 brewers, the PürPod100 will roll out under Club Coffee’s Kauai Coffee, Chock full o’Nuts and Hills Bros. brands.

For management and strategy expert Dirk Matten, developing new products like the PürPod100 is a smart move for a coffee company in a mature market like Canada where innovations that help with the environmental impact of pods and single-serve cups is key to driving volumes higher.

“They have clearly smelled the coffee on this issue,” quipped Matten, who is Hewlett-Packard Chair in Corporate Social Responsibility at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto. ”I think a fully compostable pod is a very interesting idea.”

Matten believes market success for the PürPod100 will hinge on whether consumers can and will actually compost them, and on whether municipalities will accept them in their compostable recycling boxes.

“This new product raises questions that will need to be answered,” said Matten.

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