LBP Manufacturing Inc. (LBP), a leader in sustainable food-packaging technology, today introduced the UpShot Solution – a line of eco-friendly, single-serve filters paired with a flexible production model that helps roasters, brands, and retailers take part in the booming single-serve beverage market.
The UpShot Solution's unique filter design and packaging process allows for greater control over beverage quality, production volume, distribution, and price. The filter is compatible with Keurig and other single-serve brewers. In addition, the UpShot Solution offers a fully recyclable life cycle – a quality that distinguishes itself from other products on the market today. The filter is composed of 100 percent recyclable polypropylene and a fresh (outer) seal that can be made with recyclable materials.
"The ability of roasters to innovate while meeting and anticipating consumer demand will be a big part of how quickly the single-serve market expands," says Jonas Feliciano, beverage analyst for Euromonitor International. "As the category evolves, LBP has positioned itself as a key supplier – offering not just an innovative and sustainable product with the UpShot Solution, but also being able to serve roasters both large and small."
While demand for single-serve coffee continues to soar, many roasters, retailers, restaurants, and hospitality chains have yet to realize the full potential of this thriving category. For smaller players especially, prohibitive cost structures and rigid production standards have been barriers to entry. The UpShot Solution eliminates these concerns and levels the playing field.
"The idea for the UpShot Solution came largely from our customers," says Matt Cook, president of LBP. "By listening closely to them, we came to understand that quality, speed, and flexibility are the watchwords for the single-serve category. Based on the wish lists we heard, we developed a turnkey process that satisfies the needs of many types of businesses."
The UpShot Solution starts with operations, as it gives roasters and brands of all sizes direct control over their product quality and production volume. Now they can ensure quality standards are met every time. Likewise, they can have the ability to rapidly scale capacity up or down in response to marketplace conditions.
The packaging equipment used in the UpShot Solution can be tailored to suit specific needs. Businesses can choose to install machinery that wraps the single-serve filter in rigid thermo-cell or a supple flow-wrap pouch, which are ideal options for retail environments. Alternatively, they can choose packaging equipment that bundles filters into multi-unit pouches, which is desirable for foodservice and office coffee suppliers. In each scenario, the UpShot Solution helps businesses manage inventory at optimal levels.
The UpShot Solution also helps businesses control capital investment related to operations because it is scalable by design. The system includes high-volume packaging equipment for large brands and mid-to-low volume packaging machines for smaller roasters. All equipment options for the UpShot Solution provide hands-on control over year-round production, seasonal offers, and speed-to-market.
LBP does not sell or set prices for packaging equipment; however, the company will help clients' select hardware suppliers who can install or customize equipment to precise specifications. In addition, LBP will assist with equipment configuration plans, set up, and testing as a value-added service.
If roasters wish to limit their capital investment by converting their existing machinery to accommodate UpShot filters, then LBP can connect them with experienced equipment fabricators. If roasters prefer to purchase capacity from businesses that have already installed UpShot packaging equipment, then LBP will help customers make connections with potential partners –then step aside and let them negotiate their own pay-per-use agreement.
Profit potential is another key differentiator of the UpShot Solution. Predictions of sustained, double-digit growth in single-serve have created a kind-of "gold-rush" fervor around the category. Yet, as more players enter the single-serve space, commoditization and price compression are genuine concerns. The UpShot Solution is royalty-free, affording greater margin opportunity.
The UpShot filter's proprietary mesh design delivers a heightened sensory appeal to the brewing process. Consumers can see and smell their favorite coffee or tea from the moment they open the fresh seal. In focus group testing, respondents reported a strong sense of confidence in the quality of their coffee because the sight and aroma immediately conveyed freshness.
Additionally, the UpShot filter is designed to accommodate eight to 12 grams of coffee grinds. This gives roasters the ability to "control the fill" and achieve the optimal coffee- to-water ratio, which results in a consistent brew and desired flavor profile that defines their brand offerings.
The UpShot Solution is designed to help businesses achieve high sustainability and a smaller environmental footprint without sacrificing product quality. The single use filter is made from 100 percent polypropylene (resin identification code number five), which makes it recyclable along with other number five plastics.
"The UpShot Solution opens up new territory for us to promote greater sustainability in a fast-growing market," says Cook. "By introducing new materials to an established platform, we believe we can help significantly reduce the amount of waste that's generated every day from the single-serve category."
To ensure that the UpShot filters can be reprocessed reliably on a large scale, LBP is studying the feasibility and challenges associated with recycling infrastructure and technologies. Comprehensive testing has confirmed that, while it's best to remove as much residue as possible from the filters before recycling (a best practice for all food packaging), an UpShot filter still containing coffee grounds can still be processed into polypropylene pellets for reuse.
LBP recognizes that large scale sustainability has been elusive in the single-serve category. Therefore, the company will continue to partner with leading industry experts to promote best practices for recycling number five plastics and to source end-of-life reprocessing opportunities for UpShot filters.