News - October 15, 2015

Biodegradable coffee capsule wins Food Valley Award

Rob Ramaker

Coffee refinery Peeze won the Food Valley Award with their innovative coffee capsules. The prize was awarded on Tuesday in Orion in presence of prince Constantijn.

Prince Constantijn speaks at the Food Valley Award in Orion/ Photo: Guy Ackermans

The winning product is a sustainable version of the popular Nespresso-coffee cups. Producers usually make these disposable capsules from plastic or aluminium. The new ‘biobased’ capsule is made of polylactic acid, an organic degradable plastic made for example of beet waste. The challenges were to make the compostable capsules resistant to hot water and developing a degradable sealing foil that prevents that the coffee taste changes when exposured to oxygen.

Before the award the capsules already received a compliment from Prince Constantijn. He explained that he had been feeling uncomfortable with continually throwing away the capsules for a while now and that he had been looking for a machine that grinds the beans. ‘That is no longer necessary.’ The jury led by Leo den Hartog, director R&D at Nutreco and endowed professor at Wageningen University, assessed fifty submissions on feasibility, sustainability, innovation and corporate social responsibility. ‘The capsules excelled on these criteria,’ said Den Hartog. ‘The idea is sustainable, feasible, and it is a new technique.’ Therefore the jury was unanimous. But Den Hartog points out that it was difficult to choose and compare between such different topics.

The capsules are currently only available in Germany and Scandinavia. ‘They are doing well there. In Scandinavia people are also really environmentally conscious,’ said Timmo Terpstra, general director of Peeze. These capsules will be available in specialist coffee shops by the end of this year in the Netherlands.

Also nominated for the Food Valley Award was a machine, developed by Marel Stork Poultry Processing, that uses steam to loosen the feathers off of broiler chickens so that they can be removed more easily. Another nominee had a Wageningen tinge. The company Pectcof developed together with Wageningen UR a biorefinary system that extracts valuable substances from the pulp leftovers after the production of coffee beans.