|Winner Food Valley Award 2015
We collaborated with an innovation partner to develop a more sustainable alternative to Nespresso capsules. Its new capsules and seals are made of polylactic acid (PLA), a biobased compostable material. The coffee inside the capsules is climate-neutral, organic, fair-trade, and made from high-grade Arabica coffee beans. To make this application a success, we had to refine the PLA material to ensure the capsules remained functional when in contact with very hot water. The seal was perforated in the right way under water pressure inside the machine. Another challenge was guaranteeing that the capsule’s oxygen barrier properties were good enough to preserve the coffee’s special taste and aroma.This innovation was made possible through close collaboration between several parties. We had to deal with a large number of patents and find renewable alternatives with the same functionalities as plastic and aluminum. We rose to the challenge, however, and developed a capsule that can be thrown into the compost bin after use.The new capsule is a timely innovation aimed at the rapidly-growing market for coffee capsules. There are many plastic alternatives on the market and the mountain of garbage they create is growing.The new capsule is compostable and offers a cradle-to-cradle alternative.