In pursuit of exploration and diversification, Dutch manufacturer Cappac has zeroed in on a successful formula that’s led to the epic growth of its nespresso-compatible capsules.
By definition, Cappac is still relatively a newcomer to the market having launched in 2020, however it has swiftly established itself as a private label and co-packing specialist of aluminium, Nespresso-compatible capsules.
Founder and CEO Carel Rouweler has led Cappac’s journey into the coffee world thanks to his strong background in sales.
“I come from the world of large international retail, having served importers and manufacturers dealing in fast-moving consumer goods,” he says.
The next step for this emerging enterprise was to secure specialised personnel who are well-versed in the intricacies of Nespresso-compatible aluminium capsules, and the coffee market. Rigorous experimentation with various capsule materials came next, but it was aluminium that emerged as the victorious choice for private label production.
“The transition of Nespresso capsules from plastic to aluminium was catalysed by Starbucks granting perpetual rights to Nestlé to market Starbucks Nespresso Capsules,” Rouweler says.
“At that moment, when I informed a German retailer about our aluminium capsule for the private label industry, their immediate query was how soon we could deliver the product. This confirmed our trajectory.”
Soon after, Rouweler says several Dutch retailers replaced their plastic capsules with Cappac’s recyclable aluminium capsules.
The inception of a factory wasn’t originally intended, but it became essential to catering to Cappac’s burgeoning customer base. Cappac procured its first high-speed capsule filling machine in July 2020. By August, it had secured its own factory space, which was fully operational within a month. By October, the production line was fully established, and Cappac commenced test production for its own brand, Epic Coffee.
The name, Epic Coffee, was conceived thanks to Rouweler’s two sons. One suggested “Epic”. The other added “Coffee”. Rouweler says Epic Coffee gained global recognition under the guidance of its coffee experts, and is now available as a stock brand at private label prices.
He says a profound understanding of unique degassing times for each coffee blend have contributed to Cappac’s success.
“Our ultimate goal is to find the unique optimal time to grind a particular coffee blend to preserve all its aroma, and create the most beautiful crema that’s 100 per cent airtight sealed to secure the perfect foil dome,” Rouweler says.
From its initial production run, Rouweler says the quality of the product was satisfactory, however, customer demands necessitated a robust response.
“Our initial plan was to acquire a single production line, possibly adding another within the first six months,” Rouweler notes. “We ended up with four.”
Cappac was able to overcome a challenging volume requirement with a very small team, and although its growth posed some initial challenges, Rouweler says it fuelled Cappac’s expansion, which was vital for attracting international retailers. The company’s capsule manufacturing services, initially limited to the Dutch market, then extended to roasters in Germany, Italy, and Spain.
Rouweler says experienced professionals were drawn to Cappac due to its specialisation approach.
“Despite 25 years at their previous employer, they joined Cappac to be part of a transformative capsule industry journey. They found inspiration in entrepreneurship and sought to contribute,” he says.
Although compostable capsules are gaining traction, particularly as assortment add-ons, Rouweler says Cappac remains firmly committed to aluminium products. The company actively engages in recycling efforts, such as one in collaboration with Blokker, a customer of the company. Last year, it reclaimed and recycled more than 40 million capsules alone.
Aligned with the national advocate of Dutch coffee companies, Koffie & Thee Nederland, Cappac and fellow capsule manufacturers strive to elevate the recycling of aluminium Nespresso-compatible capsules. In the near future, Rouweler says every aluminium capsule placed in a regular garbage bin in the Netherlands should be recovered and recycled.
“We like to call this true sustainability,” Rouweler says.
Cappac’s vision for a greener future extends to using a minimum of 80 per cent recycled aluminium, and achieving carbon neutral Nespresso-compatible capsules by early 2024. Additionally, Cappac has incorporated minimised packaging designs to save cardboard waste, including one of the world’s smallest sustainable XXL 100 capsule box.
In tandem with capsule manufacturing, Cappac offers tailored branding options, such as personalised capsule lid foils and Nespresso-compatible capsules, aligning with each customer’s identity.
“We see customisation as value-added,” Rouweler says. “From capsule and foil personalisation to individual coffee blend development, our understanding of customisation begins with grasping our customer’s needs. Every Cappac expert contributes their knowledge and experience.”
Reflecting on Cappac’s early years in the market, Rouweler credits the dedicated individuals who propelled the company forward through their experience and motivation. He says the blend of business partners, manufacturers, suppliers, customers and investors helped foster an environment of shared confidence.
“The merging of these forces, in combination with our team of aluminium Nespresso and coffee specialists, gave us a substantial head start and a legacy that continues to pay off,” he says.
Rouweler adds that the vibrant culture that has developed at Cappac since its inception has become a point of pride.
“A positive energy pervades the company, creating an engaging atmosphere that resonates with our valued customers,” he says.
The company’s factory is located in Boxtel, a remote municipality in the Netherlands, strategically positioned near borders with European access points through nearby Eindhoven Airport. Rouweler emphasises the significance of creating a harmonious workplace, noting that work should be an enjoyable experience.
As Cappac charts its future, innovation remains paramount.
“Our evolution is ongoing,” Rouweler says. “With a focus on flexibility, efficiency, and rapid concept development, Cappac is dedicated to building upon its foundation.”
Rouweler encapsulates the company’s ethos best by saying “the secret of change is not to focus on fighting the old but building the new.” GCR
For more information, visit www.cappac.eu
This article was first published in the September/October 2023 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.