Flo Collaborates with NatureWorks for New Coffee Capsules

European food packaging producer Flo has announced the launch of an industrially compostable coffee capsule created in partnership with NatureWorks.

Flo’s Gea capsule is the result of a two-year joint development process that created a compostable capsule aimed to deliver on the high-performance requirements of the most demanding roasters.

“Gea represents a new generation of capsules, designed to meet the needs of coffee roasters and coffee lovers, but also to address environmental issues related to the management of waste,” says Erika Simonazzi, marketing director of Flo. “As food packaging producers, we are very careful to study the right materials for their use, based on environmental requirements and the dictates of the new rules of the circular economy.”

Gea is said to be entirely composed of Ingeo PLA, which is a renewably sourced polymer that is certified for industrial composting systems according to global standards such as EN-13432 (EU) and ASTM D6400-04 (USA).

The new capsule technology platform is fully approved for food contact and is now in final testing by TÜV Austria and the Italian Composting and Biogas Association (CIC) for compostability certification.

“A fully compostable capsule provides an elegant and simple system for delivering the valuable used coffee grounds to industrial compost,” says Steve Davies, commercial director, NatureWorks Performance Packaging.

“Thanks to the collaboration with Flo and their unique capability and dedication to developing improved packaging technologies, we are proud to support the commercialisation of the first compostable coffee capsule made from 100% Ingeo. The results demonstrate that delivering a superior taste and brewing experience to the consumer does not have to sacrifice sustainability.”

Compared to compostable capsules currently on the market, the new Gea capsules are believed to address market requests for material ageing stability in an industrially compostable format. “Being able to count on a capsule that does not show signs of ageing in a few months, but is shelf stable for years, is a huge value for coffee roasters,” explains Erika Simonazzi.

“Roasters should be focused on their coffee, not the packaging it is packed in. NatureWorks’ unique analytical and engineering capabilities together with Flo’s know-how in thermoforming technology, were critical to developing this solution.”

Gea capsules also are an excellent barrier to oxygen, which protects the organoleptic qualities of the packaged coffee. The taste and aroma of the coffee are preserved, satisfying the needs of coffee roasters while ensuring an enhanced brewing experience for consumers.

Initially targeting the requirements of high pressure, single serve coffee systems, the Gea capsules have successfully passed the industrialisation and filling tests at Flo’s major partner coffee roasters and will be available on the market starting in October 2018.

To learn more about the technology behind the new Gea coffee capsules, join Flo for its presentation at Innovation Takes Root, NatureWorks’ Advanced Biomaterials Forum, in San Diego, CA, September 2018.

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