MILAN – In an event held Tuesday in Zurich, Migros unveiled CoffeeB, an innovative and patented single-serve system with a coffee maker which works like a capsule machine but does without any plastic or aluminium casing. The new machine uses a fully compostable “coffee ball”.
Composed of compressed coffee coated with a thin envelope made from seaweed, these spherical containers can be thrown in the compost or even in the garden.
The new brewing technology is the result of five years of research carried out by the industrial group Delica, owned by Migros.
The Swiss co-operative retailer has invested a double-digit million in production capacity in Birsfelden, where the coffee balls are produced, while the machine is manufacture in China.
As of today, CoffeeB is available in Migros, M-Electronics and Digitec Galaxus supermarkets. It was simultaneously launched in France, with major distributors such as Auchan, Carrefour and Boulanger.
It will be in Germany in the spring of 2023. Other markets will follow, as interest from other countries has been strong.
“Our ambitions are high, but we’re taking it step by step and we know that adoption can take years,” says Fabrice Zumbrunnen, President of the General Management of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives.
The CoffeeB Globe coffee machine combines the technologies of a fully automated system with the advantages of a capsule machine, says Migros on its website.
The machine consists largely of recycled materials, is energy-efficient, switches off automatically after just one minute, and thanks to its modular construction, it can be repaired at one of the company’s service centres in the event of a defect.
Each year, the amount of waste produced by coffee capsules, worldwide, amounts to 100,000 tonnes, specifies the press release from Migros, quoting data from the Euromonitor Passport 2021. “Although partially recyclable, the capsules are mostly thrown in the trash”.
“In the past ten years, Migros has already saved almost 9,000 tons of packaging material thanks to optimizations. The revolution of the coffee segment with the single-serving system thus fits 100 percent with Migros’ sustainability strategy,” said Fabrice Zumbrunnen.
“With CoffeeB, we can offer capsule-free coffee enjoyment without having to sacrifice the convenience of capsule systems. We are convinced that with CoffeeB we have developed a technology that meets today’s consumer needs and will have a positive impact on the environment. It is the most significant product innovation in the history of Migros“.
The entire system and all coffees are 100 % CO² compensated. The beans come from sustainable cultivation and, depending on the flavor, are either Rainforest Alliance or certified organic and Fairtrade. All packaging is recyclable.
Fabrice Zumbrunnen added: “The simplicity of CoffeeB hardly gives you an idea of how much internal development work and team effort went into the technology. It took five years from the idea to the launch, during which there were numerous failures. But the vision of developing a completely waste-free capsule system was always stronger.”
About 60% of households have a pod machine in Switzerland and on average the machine is changed every four to five years.