NuZee produces compostable tea bag format for coffee with acclaimed roaster

The private label partner in the coffee space said it’s the first to introduce a packaging style like this — available to retailers for store brand development — amid other eco-friendly initiatives.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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NuZee, a leading coffee co-packing and coffee pouch producer for private label, has introduced an eco-friendly at-home coffee bag format through a popular roaster, adding to the company’s eco-friendly initiatives.

The coffee brew bags are available to retailers to develop under their private label lines, as a new option for at-home consumption of coffee. Additionally, just a few weeks ago, NuZee worked with the roaster Tony’s Coffee out of Bellingham, Wash., to introduce single-serve, nitrogen-flushed, ready-to-brew coffee bags. It’s a “tea bag” format of consuming coffee at home, where the bags are ready to brew, simply add hot water and steep them for four to six minutes. Tony’s is an acclaimed roaster that had its retail products on shelves of stores such as Sprouts Farmers Markets. It was named the 2021 Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine.

The coffee brew bags are compostable, a major topic at the recent Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages that ran last week and is available to watch on demand. In a keynote session, Rhodes Yepsen of BPI and Susan Thoman of CMA, discussed how the coffee and tea category add to the growing need for compostable products.

“By having this product, retailers are able to provide their customers with a more sustainable way of drinking coffee that tastes great and is simple to use,” Masa Higashida, NuZee’s CEO and founder, told Store Brands. “With single serve, you can promote responsible and mindful consumption, as the filter is industrially compostable and the format helps consumers reduce food waste, which is a problem that you can address by brewing only what you need. This is a new way of drinking coffee, it can help position private labels or coffee categories in general, as being in the forefront of innovation."

A spokesperson for NuZee told Store Brands that the U.S. Department of Agriculture slates America as having the highest coffee consumption in the world with more than $80 billion generated annually, and added that the “at home” segment of coffee drinking continues to dominate consumption, with 81% of volume consumption attributable to the at-home market. 

"This is a new way of drinking coffee, it can help position private labels or coffee categories in general, as being in the forefront of innovation."
Masa Higashida , NuZee’s CEO and founder

The spokesperson also said that single-serve coffee brewing machines are the second most popular at-home brewing system, and while consumers have been purchasing single-serve coffee machines, there has been an increased focus on sustainability and demand for eco-friendly products. 

The compostable coffee brew bags, which the company has produced for a couple years, join other eco-friendly initiatives from the company such as recyclable foil wrappers and boxes. The company also promotes the use of renewable energy at its production facilities and has certifications through The Safe Quality Food Institute, Fair Trade, Kosher, USDA Organic, and Rainforest Alliance.

NuZee, based in Plano, Texas, said it works with companies of all sizes to help them develop within the single-serve and private label coffee category. Earlier in the year, the company hired a new sales and supply chain leader, bolstering its strategy.