Maxwell House thinks outside the pod

The Kraft Heinz coffee brand shows how convenient its compostable pods are by letting people toss them into a pile of organic waste.

Kraft Heinz Canada-Maxwell House Launches New Zero Waste Single-

Maxwell House’s slogan may be “good to the last drop,” but for single-serve pods as a whole, it certainly wasn’t “good to the last stop”: the landfill.

Kraft Heinz is addressing negative public perceptions of single-serve coffee pods by launching a 100% compostable pod under its Maxwell House brand. The infamous format, popularized by the likes of Keurig and Nespresso, had components that were difficult to separate out and recycle, creating a public perception problem among consumers that have been increasingly environmentally conscious.

Heena Verma, senior marketing manager of brand build and innovation at Kraft Heinz Canada, says company research has shown that 71% of Canadians believe sustainability of food and beverage packaging is more important today versus five years ago.

The launch of Maxwell House’s new pods, which are made from plant-based materials, is part of a move to comply with Kraft Heinz’s corporate citizenship and sustainability efforts, which include the aim of making 100% of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

To get the word out about the new pods, Maxwell House is launching an immersive experience at Toronto’s Stackt market, where visitors can learn how the pods decompose in a 500 lb. shipping container filled with shredded organic material. The activation is a way to demonstrate that users can just simply toss the pod into the compost bin and it will decompose into nutrient-rich soil.

Given that convenience is the main driver of single-pod use, the activation is focused on showing how the new pods actually save more time for consumers who have begun looking for ways to dispose of pods in the proper way, including those that claim to be recyclable. “Recyclable plastic pods are a messy solution and require a lot of time and effort to recycle properly,” Verma says.

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In its latest earnings call, Kraft Heinz recorded intangible asset impairment losses of $140 million related to the Maxwell House brand, which it had been trying to offload since the beginning of last year. In February, it hired investment bank Credit Suisse to examine options for the Maxwell House coffee division.

The brand remains popular, though. According to Field Agent’s survey about coffee brands Canadian consumers are turning to during the pandemic, Maxwell House trailed only Tim Hortons when it came to at home product choice, with 21% of survey respondents reporting having used Maxwell House at home in April. 

The pod launch will also be supported with a national TV campaign spanning digital, social, PR and e-commerce. Verma adds that in-store is a major element on the educational side of introducing consumers to the new format, and the brand has created displays made from 100% recyclable materials.

Strategy and creative on the activation was led by 3 Mad Fish, with PR by Proof and media by Starcom. SLD led packaging design for the new pods.