A coffee capsule that combines compostability and oxygen barrier has been launched by European food packaging producer Flo in partnership with NatureWorks.

Called Gea, the capsule is the result of a two-year joint development process between the Italian company and biopolymer producer NatureWorks, which is based in Minnesota, USA.

Erika Simonazzi, marketing director for Flo, said: “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. 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 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 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.

“A fully compostable capsule provides an elegant and simple system for delivering the valuable used coffee grounds to industrial compost,” said Steve Davies, commercial director for NatureWorks Performance Packaging. “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 Gea capsules address market requests for material ageing stability in an industrially compostable format, says NatureWorks.

“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.”

Initially targeting the demanding requirements of high pressure, single serve coffee systems, the Gea capsules will be available on the market starting in October 2018.