Huhtamaki, began an exclusive partnership with one of the largest coffee brands, Nespresso, in early 2021 to innovate a sustainable home-compostable paper-based coffee capsule. The collaboration, used a lean approach to product and process development, accelerating the time to market in record time. A key input was Huhtamaki’s proprietary high-precision technology that allows wood fibers to be molded into intricate shapes with high-precision tolerances to a fraction of a millimeter.
The home compostable paper-based coffee capsule was launched by Nespresso in France on 21 November 2022. It seems a step forward for the circular economy and could also be a leap forward for coffee drinkers around the world who may be able to enjoy using their capsule coffee makers with less guilt in the future. The capsules will initially be piloted with consumers in France and Switzerland in spring 2023 before being introduced more widely.
The paper-based coffee capsules are made from wood fiber, responsibly sourced from European forests. They have been independently certified by TÜV – as home compostable and compostable in food waste collection schemes. The coffee capsules protect coffee quality and freshness while offering the required functionality that delivers the high-quality coffee for which the Nespresso brand capsules are known – with no compromise on the taste experience.
According to Huhtamaki, the proprietary high-precision technology for smooth molded fiber transforms wood pulp fibers into high-performance packing solutions which can be applied to a myriad of different consumer applications. It is part of the company’s ‘blueloop’ brand promise, reflecting its 2030 sustainability ambitions.
“We are delighted to have partnered with Nespresso on a unique home compostable paper-based capsule designed for circularity. This breakthrough innovation is the result of combining fiber, a natural and renewable material, with our proprietary high-precision technology, creating a sustainable alternative for Nespresso lovers. The capsules will be produced in line with our blueloop brand promise, which incorporates our commitment to design for circularity, to be operationally carbon neutral, and to responsibly source our materials in line with our 2030 strategy,” says Charles Héaulmé, President and CEO at Huhtamaki.
Huhtamaki says it sees the technology as a paradigm shift in how to use renewable wood fiber in complex food packaging and says it will be able to replace plastic and metal caps and closures. Other potential applications are trays or containers that require lids that seal directly to the tray and can be opened and re-closed.
Earlier this year, Wouter Kienstra, Process and Product Development manager at Huhtamaki said, “Fiber is the material of the future because it is adaptable, endlessly versatile, and fully recyclable. It is much stronger than you can imagine. To be able to innovate it, you have to acknowledge that fiber works in a completely different way compared to normal metals or plastics.”
More information about Huhtamaki’s proprietary high-precision technology can be found here: Huhtamaki Fiber Solutions – The Future Redesigned