The RTD cold brew market has seen explosive growth in recent years. Now, more coffee businesses are looking to capitalise on this increase in demand. 

Cold brew’s popularity can be attributed to its smooth flavour and mellow acidity, which make it a great entry point for new coffee drinkers. There is also the added convenience of the RTD format to consider. This isn’t just great for consumers, who can now consume high-quality coffee on the go, but is also an opportunity for coffee businesses to expand their brand. 

However, preparing and packaging cold brew coffee cans yourself is expensive, complex, and time-consuming. As such, many businesses are looking to source their cans from an experienced private label partner.

The expertise of a third party manufacturer allows you to ensure quality and consistency from one can to the next, without the need for a multi-million dollar investment in your own facility and canning line. 

But as the market for RTD continues to grow – and saturate – there is one important question to ask: how do you find the right supplier? 

To learn more, we spoke with Kathi Ante, Head of Coffee at Marie Louise and founder of Das Fest Hamburg coffee festival. She told us about how to find the right supplier for your cold brew coffee cans.  

A roaster holding a scoop full of coffee beans.

Quality and consistency for cold brew coffee cans

Firstly, sourcing cold brew coffee cans from a dedicated supplier guarantees a higher level of quality and consistency than you are likely to be able to achieve yourself.

RTD coffee’s growth in recent years has been principally driven by Generation Z and millennials. These younger consumers increasingly look for higher-quality coffee. As such, to reach this market, you need to source canned cold brew that meets these expectations. 

“The number of people who are interested in [good-quality] coffee and different types of coffee is rising, and people want to consume consciously,” Kathi says.

Manufacturing cold brew coffee cans has considerable variables that will need to be accounted for in order to ensure consistency. In addition to the coffee and roasting process there is also the extraction, canning, pasteurisation, packaging, nitrogen dosing, microbiological tests for food safety, quality assurance, and a robust supply chain to ensure these are all completed on schedule. 

Ultimately, a private label partner can guarantee quality at scale with a much lower lead time than if you were to invest in your own facility. 

However, alongside this, working with an experienced third party RTD manufacturer will mean they can handle issues like food safety that smaller roasters may not be able to tackle. They can also guarantee better consistency from can to can thanks to their dedicated equipment. 

This is crucial for your brand, as today’s specialty coffee consumers expect the level of quality to be the same from one can to the next.

 A woman holding a can of private label cold brew

Customising cold brew coffee cans with your branding

So, we know that working with a private label partner helps to produce higher quality cold brew coffee, but what about branding and customisation? 

A partnership with an private label RTD manufacturer by its very nature gives you the opportunity to customise the cans with your branding. You supply labels to be printed as part of the production process, and benefit from putting your logo and brand identity directly in front of potential customers.

“For companies which want to sell their products, but cannot invest in their own factory, a white label option is the ideal choice,” Kathi says.

This is crucial, because powerful and innovative branding is one of the most important channels for standing out in a competitive marketplace. By ensuring that your cans stick out on the shelf, you make it more likely that you’ll reach new customers – and once they start buying from you, they have to keep coming back to you for more. 

Custom formula RTD coffee

We’ve discussed outsourcing the manufacture of cold brew coffee cans to a third party supplier, but what about if you already have a coffee in mind that you want to use?

The best option for this is custom formula private label. This is where you work with the supplier to precisely dial in a coffee of your choice and develop the perfect recipe for your RTD cold brew. Once the process is complete, you have a proprietary product which is something that only your roastery or coffee shop can offer. 

This allows you to take customisation one step further, cementing your brand identity through the unique flavour of your beverage alongside the branded label. This also builds authenticity, which is an increasingly important factor for Generation Z consumers. 

Five multi-coloured cold brew coffee cans in a row.

Scaling production with your requirements

So, now we know that private label partners help you balance quality and consistency while also putting your brand front and centre – what about scale? 

Sourcing cold brew coffee cans from a private label partner helps you to adjust production to suit the changing needs of your business. This helps you prepare for busy periods or only order what you need to avoid overstocking. 

Putting aside the initial investment in your own facility and canning line, there remains the issue of handling an increase in orders beyond your capacity. An external partner has the infrastructure and process to handle sudden changes in demand.

As such, some suppliers – such as Hardtank – offer industry-leading low minimum order quantities (MOQs). This means you can test smaller volumes of different flavours to see how popular they are without a massive commitment. For example, these could be decaf, flavoured, or even dairy-free options that appeal to a wider range of customers. 

 A can and glass of cold brew beside a laptop.

Sourcing RTD cold brew coffee cans from a dedicated private label partner is an ideal way to quickly enter the market without investing in your own facility.

By working with a private label supplier like Hardtank, you can source high-quality RTD products at the scale you need, while also retaining the flexibility to meet a range of customer requirements. 

Interested in our private label services? You can contact our team here. Alternatively, if you want to learn more about the cold brew revolution, sign up for our newsletter here

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