Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Printing Enables XOMA Superfoods’ Compostable Single-Use Coffee Pods

ST Medical Devices

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It’s good to be aware of your vices, and one of my biggest is my Keurig coffeemaker…or rather, the single-use K-cup coffee pods that it uses. Obviously, one step better than just being aware of your vices is working to quit them, and we do have a French press and a pour-over option, but I’m weak in the face of convenience. However, this new product from XOMA Superfoods, announced the week of Earth Day, could just be that step in the environmentally-friendly direction I need—the first mushroom coffee product solid in a zero-waste, certified compostable coffee pod.

XOMA, which comes from the Greek word for “earth” or “soil,” is the subsidiary and signature consumer product line of Canadian plant-based materials manufacturing company NEXE Innovations Inc. (TSXV: NEXE). The British Columbia-based company spent five years in research and development mode to create the compostable NEXE pod, and used 3D printing to prototype the product, as many other companies have done before and will continue to do. Prototyping in-house allowed the company to save time, as well as cut back on waste and emissions.

“NEXE uses 3D printing to rapidly prototype new products from plant-based materials. While traditional manufacturing would require us to make a new stainless steel mold for every part we want to test – adding cost and delays – a 3D printer allows us to bring an idea to life in the span of an hour. More importantly, we can refine our ideas very quickly using 3D printing, making small modifications to a design and quickly turning that into a functional prototype,” Zac Hudson, Chief Scientific Officer for NEXE, told 3DPrint.com. “Overall, NEXE uses 3D printing to accelerate R&D and to quickly test new ideas.”

XOMA produces and distributes coffee and superfood creamers that are packaged exclusively in these plant-based, single-serve, fully compostable Nexe pods. Its eCommerce store launched earlier this month with its first product, XOMA Coffee Fortified with MCT. Now it’s introduced Mindful Mushroom coffee, a low-calorie blend of chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane mushrooms that offers antioxidants, fiber, and protein, and is also packaged in NEXE’s patented pods.

NEXE said that, according to a Research and Markets report, the global edible mushrooms market is fully expected to reach $62 billion by 2023.

“Mushroom coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years for its health benefits, and we are excited to add this great-tasting coffee to our product line. Our customers are not only health-conscious, but also environmentally-conscious. XOMA pods deliver great taste, health benefits, convenience, and sustainability,” Marc Bains, President of XOMA, said in a press release.

“Our premium coffees, including our new mushroom coffee, are packaged exclusively in our single-serve, fully compostable, plant-based NEXE pods, which are compatible with the popular, Keurig single-serve coffee brewing systems. We created these pods to be completely compostable in their entirety, providing the ultimate in convenience and sustainability.”

According to the release, over 40 billion single-serve coffee pods are discarded every year, and these proprietary NEXE pods were designed specifically to decrease this major environmental impact. But, if these coffee pods are so bad for the environment, the really important question is, why are we all still using them? (Guilty as charged.)

“The truth is that whether we like it or not, consumers have fallen for the convenience and consistent quality of the single-serve pod, and that NEXE is aiming to replace the plastic waste from those pods with a more sustainable alternative,” Hudson told us. “Particularly in office settings, not everyone has the time or inclination to make French press coffee and that’s why the pod format has become so dominant.”

NEXE has raised roughly $34.5M in financing, equity, and government funding, which gives the company about $55M in cash. NEXE plans to use its resources to become a leader in the global superfoods markets, and work to meet the increasing demand for sustainable, environmentally-friendly products in single-serve coffee, and even beyond that as it sees fit.

You can order XOMA’s zero-waste, certified compostable Mindful Mushroom coffee pods online in both Canada and the US.

(Source/Images: XOMA Superfoods & NEXE Innovations)

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