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1990 trend: convenience coffee packaging.

1990 trend: convenience coffee packaging

Convenient preparation and packaging are an important trend for the coffee industry for the 90's.

Ten years ago it was coffee in glass jars and then single service packets, ground coffee packaged in bulk, grind your own beans and tin cans. In commercial coffee distribution it was portion control of 20 to 50 cups.

For the 90's, everything points to convenience driving the marketplace. The convenient preparation of a quality cup of coffee is the watchword for the reversal from the general trend of fewer coffee drinkers.

Trends in the convenient preparation of coffee that we see today have been with us for sometime. For example, all U.S. air carriers use a flight service brewing system consisting of a pressure brewer using a heat sealable non-woven porous pouch material. The pouch using a portion-controlled amount of coffee is introduced into a stainless steel brewing basket where water is forced through under pressure to brew a pot of coffee in less than two minutes. Speed, flavor, freshness and fresh brewed coffee prepared in just two minutes is a necessity on airlines.

Other convenience coffee packages are used in commercial pouches for high volume restaurants and hotel service where coffee is placed between two filter packs like a sandwich and sealed on all sides making 10 to 12 cups of coffee.

For the 1990's, quality and convenient coffee service is being brought to consumers as an amenity in their hotel rooms in the form of in-room coffee service programs.

In-room coffee service, the opportunity for guests to brew fresh coffee in their hotel rooms, is one of the hottest new amenities offered to hotel guests, by the hospitality industry. The response from hotel guests has been resounding. In a recent independent survey conducted by Hotel & Motel Management magazine, in-room coffee and tea service was number one of all amenities mentioned. Michelle Fisher of HMM says, "In-room coffee service is the fastest growing hotel amenity. Properties are finding that many travelers are growing to expect it in their rooms. It is a trend that will continue to grow. And, it is the kind of amenity that can give a property an edge with their guests, especially if the hotel promotes it. But it is important that the coffee is easy to make with simple instructions," she said.

Doreen Bell of Lodging Hospitality magazine also feels the trend is increasing, with many more hotels adding the amenity for their guests. "The response from guests has been very good. It is a nice surprise and guests appreciate it. If it is easy to make and tastes good, guests are happy with it. Manufacturers are encouraging hotels to develop a program and the industry is responding and testing different approaches," Bell said.

There are many kinds of guest room coffee programs. They are developed and provided by coffee companies, distributors, roasters and hotel amenity services. Research shows that these sources handle their guest room coffee programs in slightly different ways, providing unique kinds of service, quality, and convenience to properties and to the ultimate customer the hotel guest.

Innovative Coffee Packaging: General Foods

The General Foods foodservice products division has a separate area devoted to hotel in-room coffee programs. The programs began around mid-1988 and utilize two different approaches. In one approach, General Foods provides the coffee packs and also makes condiment packages available to the hotel. In this situation, General Foods recommends the purchase of a 4-cup UL commercial approved Mr. Coffee brewer directly from the Mr. Coffee company.

The other approach uses Amenity Services which offers a total program approach providing all aspects of guest room coffee service and includes a Krups brewer.

The convenience factor of the coffee preparation lies in the General Foods filter pouch. The filter pouch product was originally developed for the foodservice division of General Foods in a 10 cup size for restaurants and offices about five years ago. In the guest room program, the convenience factor is based on a portion controlled pouch of Maxwell House, Brim or Yuban to make four cups of coffee in the four-cup room brewer.

When the hotel coffee program was created, extensive research was carried out to determine what the hotelier wanted in coffee service. Results showed that the hotel wanted a convenient and labor-saving method. Because help is expensive, hotels wanted a product that would not require a great deal of upkeep from housekeeping.

The result was a four cup filter pouch yielding 20 oz. of coffee that was easy to use and clean up. With the use of the innovative filter pouch, problems of messy cleanup after brewing and spilling coffee grounds while brewing are eliminated. The round pouch fits well into the brew basket and provides the best brewing of the coffee.

One of the many hotels happy with the General Foods in-room program is the Embassy Suites Hotels, 97 properties that cater to the traveling business executive. "Our hotels have only two-room suites which include living room, kitchen, bedroom and bath. There is a refrigerator and a wet bar. Management felt that the natural progression was to offer coffee," said Ted Mosher, foodservice manager. "The decision to offer coffee in suites was made about three years ago. In-room coffee service is now a standard," Mosher said.

"Although the hotel offers complimentary breakfast in atrium areas, many guests, particularly business travelers don't have time for it or just want an early morning cup of coffee at their leisure and without leaving their rooms. Guests really like it. One packet of coffee is provided, although more is available at the front desk," Moser said.

One hotel group is so strongly supportive of the General Foods in-room coffee program as such an important amenity, it has backed it with national television advertising.

From Hotel To Home

General Foods has led the way in convenience packaging and coffee preparation by providing the filter pack coffee service to the retail customer in its new Maxwell House Filter Packs for auto-drip coffee makers. The filter packs are sold in containers of 10 packs per square paper can. Each pack makes five cups of coffee with a total of 50 cups of coffee per canister.

The filter pack for both the in-room and retail filter pack is made of a unique heat-sealable nonwoven product from Aldine Technologies, a long-fiber nonwoven manufacturer and developer of customized packaging concepts for the food and beverage industry.

The Maryland Club Foods Program

Maryland Club Foods has an in-room coffee program that was developed at Coca Cola. The coffee division was sold to Maryland Club Foods in March of 1989 and recently sold to Procter and Gamble. Maryland Club Foods is now a wholly owned subsidiary of P&G. Maryland Club's program has been in effect for three years.

Maryland Club Foods provides a total program which includes equipment, coffee, a condiment kit and a coffee brewer. The MCF program is based on a four-cup size. The company sells a Mr. Coffee brewer to the hotel and offers a convenient 3/4 oz. filter pouch sold to the property in quantities of 250. The company buys, roasts, blends and puts the coffee into the filter pouch.

Hotels have the choice of Huggins Gourmet, Mocha Java Blend or 100% Colombian decaffeinated at the high end and Maryland Club Blend, Premium Blend or decaffeinated for their standard coffee choice. Hotels might use Huggins in executive floors or in suites and the other brand in standard rooms.

Flavored Coffees: Per Cup Industries

Innovation in guest room coffee service comes in flavors. One of the fastest growing segments of the coffee industry is in the flavored coffee business. Per Cup Industries, who imports, roasts and flavors coffee, has recently completed the packaging for in-room coffee service of one-cup servings of coffee in six new flavors. Each guest has the choice of six flavored coffees as well as 100% Colombian pack. The flavors include: Amaretto, Irish Creme, Vanilla Almond, Dutch Chocolate, Almond, Hazelnut, and Hazelnut Decaffeinated. All coffees are packed in nine gram pouches.

Hotel guests receive a guest room packet of two bags of flavored coffee, two creamers, two sugars, and two stir sticks. The coffee is packaged in nitrogen-flushed metalized polyester film bag.

Guests can have the flavor of coffee they want. They have more choice and variety which adds to the amenity," said Brian Real, president. "After speaking with three flavoring houses, we chose the six top selling coffee flavors in the country. In addition, we plan to add another flavor every month to the line.

The coffee is brewed in a Newco brewer. The Newco brewer H25 series was designed to make one cup of coffee at a time but can make four. It is certified UL for commercial use. It is not equipped with a hot plate for fire safety reasons, and its heater is encased in metal for the same reason. There are several two cup domestic brewers available that can make one cup including one by Black & Decker.

Freshpot Corp., Inn-Room Coffee Service Division

For a company who well understands the problems of in-room coffee service for the hospitality industry and has developed an in-room coffee service package to attend to those concerns, you have to talk to Joe Abdenour, the ceo of Freshpot Corp. Badenour has done his research on the problems and concerns of providing coffee for multiple transient use applications and has developed a-one-of-a-kind single use, disposable brewing apparatus that is unique in the marketplace.

After extensive research, Abdenour designed, engineered and produced a disposable type single batch brewer system which was tested and well-received in hotel/motel environments and was introduced in January 1986. It brews four cups of coffee in four minutes that stays hot for over an hour in an unbreakable carafe which doesn't require a hot plate and was designed and developed for fire safety reasons.

Freshpot manufactures all elements of the brewing equipment. There is a wall-mountable plastic coffee brewer which is loaned to the property at no cost and with full service when it is part of a service program. There is an unbreakable carafe and disposable coffee preparation materials which include a polyliner for the carafe, a disposable brewbasket, and a filter. A package of 100% Colombian coffee (1.1 oz., fresh ground regular and decaffeinated) is included which Freshpot obtains from a contract roaster. A factory-sealed disposable package (Dispo-Pak) that contains all condiments necessary to make coffee can be purchased by the property or a Tray-Pak amenity program which allows the property to select and set up its own condiments can be part of the contract.

Freshpot provides free repair services, offering each property spare units to be used in rooms where brewers have been removed for repair.

The brewing system was designed to satisfy recommendations of the National Coffee Association for coffee brewing - temperature, uniform distribution of water, clean brewing equipment.

According to Abdenour, the use of predominantly disposable equipment offers certain benefits over the use of household type coffee makers. The lined carafe or the brewing equipment need not be washed or maintained for safety and sanitation. The equipment is designed to withstand neglect by household staff and still be safe. The time spent by maintenance staff is reduced to 15 seconds resulting in a saving of $.35 to $.45 with each clean-up.

Innkeeper Guest Room Coffee System:

Superior Coffee & Foods

Ralph Russo and Mark Hampton, who have been instrumental in developing Superior's hospitality industry guest room coffee program say that there is a need for diversity in coffee programs for the hotel. industry. "The concept is new and there are no rules. The lodging industry is diverse so that there is no such thing as a system that fits all segments of the industry."

Superior, a roaster and beverage specialty distributor, has a branded program, the Innkeeper Guest Room Coffee System in the U.S. and Canada in association with FVA exclusive distribution partner who does the selling and distributing.

"Our equipment was designed by one of the leading equipment manufacturers in the industry especially for our Innkeeper program. We provide the property with the brewing system at no cost when they are involved with the program. The program includes a convenience kit of stenciled foam cup, gas nitrogen flushed packet of coffee, a small filter, condiments of creamer, sugar, sweetener, stir stick covered with a sip lid which has been shrink wrapped with a red tear strip to make it tamper-proof. The property may choose one large 12 oz. cup or two smaller 6 oz. cups nested in a 12 oz. cup. Coffee is brewed directly into the cup."

"We service a broad range of properties from upscale, mid-scale and economy. Now with limited room and foodservice at many properties, an in-room coffee service fits in well."

Catalog Coffee: American Hotel Register Company

For the property that wants a selection of in-room coffee brewing equipment and supplies without the amenity services, there is the American Hotel Register, a hotel supply distributor out of Northbrook, Illinois. The company is based on inside sales and has a complete catalog of hotel products which includes four approaches to the service of in-room coffee. One option offers a 4-cup Mr. Coffee or Hamilton Beach brewer and the General Foods pouch of Maxwell House or Brim Decaffeinated packed 100 pouches per case. Another choice is a Cup-At-A-Time approach of drip coffeemaker from Black & Decker that brews coffee into a mug or styrofoam cup. (No carafe to wash.) Also offered are packages that include coffee, non-dairy creamer, sugar and sugar substitute and stir stick. These items can of course also be purchased in bulk.

Technical Coffee Filter Strategies

Aldine Technologies

Customized designed filters make an important contribution to the convenience and quality of in-room and commercial coffee service as well as at retail. And, the filter that provides maximum extraction, good particle retention, full-soluble oil pass-through and excellent taste neutrality contributes significantly to the quality of the final cup of brewed coffee.

Aldine filters, as mentioned previously in connection with the General Foods in-room coffee pouches and the new state-of-the-art, portion-controlled consumer Maxwell House Filter Packs, aim at providing these levels of quality and are important in the effectiveness and convenience of the coffee filter pouch. According to the manufacturer, the filter material is the result of a multi-phase manufacturing process which combines different fiber formulations into a single sheet to create a filter that is highly acceptable for encapsulating coffee.

In addition to in-room and retail applications, General Foods and Aldine have worked closely with airline clients to provide filter pouches for in-flight coffee service. Pouches are designed as both rectangular and round configurations. They have also designed pouches for commercial restaurant and hotel service.

Vivian Raggo, product manager, said that the Aldine Product development group is capable of matching the right filter to the application in diverse beverage products. "That's our expertise. We have built our business for the last half century on customized technology of nonwoven products for the beverage industry," she said.

For further information:

General Foods Tel: (914) 335-2500

250 North Street White Plains, NY 10625

Maryland Club Foods, Inc. Tel: (713) 868-8100

7105 Katy Road Houston, TX 77024

Per Cup Industries Tel: (708) 860-2473

377 Haynes Wood Dale, IL 60191
Freshpot Corp. Tel: (313) 372-9907
14680 East 7 Mile Rd. (800) 222-9907

Detroit, MI 48205

Superior Coffee & Foods Tel: (708) 860-1400

990 Supreme Drive Bensenville, IL 60106 American Hotel Register Co. Tel: (800) 323-6786 2775 Shermer Rd. Northbrook, IL 60062-7798
Aldine Technologies Inc. Tel: (201) 440-6200
74 Louie Court (800) 468-1744

So. Hackensack, NJ 07606

PHOTO : The convenience factor is based on a portion controlled pouch of GF coffee to make four cups of coffee.

PHOTO : Fresh pot supplies a wall-mountable plastic coffee brewer

Liz Fader is a food/beverage and packaging writer with credits in such trade publications as Quick Frozen Foods Magazine, Beverage, Retailer, Journal of Packaging and consumer publications as well.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:coffee service in the hospitality industry
Author:Fader, Liz
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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