Keurig’s latest R&D spotlights sustainable single-serve pods, at-home cold brew

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Keurig Dr. Pepper
Source: Keurig Dr. Pepper

Related tags keurig dr pepper Coffee Coffee consumption

Keurig Dr. Pepper unveiled plastic-free single-serve coffee pods, K-Rounds, and Altra Brewer machine, along with its QuickChill technology for cold coffee to “meet the evolving and varied needs of consumers who love coffee," Phil Drapeau, SVP, Future Coffee Systems, Keurig, shared with FoodNavigator-USA.

The plastic-free K-Rounds are made from ground, pressed coffee and wrapped in a patented plant-based coating, a sustainable departure from its plastic pod origins. The pods are also made from food-grade materials and meet GRAS status.

While the Keurig Alta Brewer, which brews espresso and classic coffee formats, was launched to coincide with the K-Rounds, Keurig’s existing K-Cups are also compatible with the machines.

Keurig also unveiled its line of compact brewers, retailed at under $50, tailored particularly for “young consumers purchasing for their apartment or dorm room,” the company stated.

The multi-year development of K-Rounds, led by the company’s R&D team and in partnership with Delica Switzerland, which developed the plastic-free coating and application for its CoffeeB system in Europe, has granted Keurig exclusive access to bring the technology to the US and Canada where the brand has reached 45m households.

While it is unclear if the K-Cups will be phased out in favor of K-Rounds, the company “will adjust our business plan to [consumers’] choices,” Drapeau said.

Compost-friendly, K-Rounds can be disposed “like any other coffee grounds – compost them, including in a properly maintained garden compost, or throw them away,” Drapeau said, adding that Keurig is currently working through the certification process to make the pods certified compostable.

Since Keurig’s introduction of the single serve K-cup coffee pod with its accompanied single serve brewer 25 years ago, the company has partnered with a broad range of companies, including Starbucks, Peets, Dunkins and McDonalds. Through its network of partners, Keurig has offered more than 575 varieties of beverages, according to the company.

Currently, K-Rounds will be available DTC on with potential to expand into retail distribution, “as we gain valuable insight from consumers and retail partners,” Drapeau said.

QuickChill technology offers RTD-style cold coffee at home

Expected to launch in Fall 2024, Keurig’s QuickChill technology and Brew+Chill machine allows for “fresh brewed, flash-chilled coffee that brews hot and comes out cold … [to] deliver a refreshingly cold coffee that offers minimal dilution over ice, so coffee keeps its full flavor from first sip to last,” the company shared in a release.

Through the Brew+Chill system, the coffee grounds are saturated throughout the K-cup pod brands and varieties, and passed through the QuickChill technology, which flash chills the coffee “at a fraction of the price [from a coffee shop], all under three minutes.

Driven by higher coffee consumption from young consumer, the system is “aimed at meeting the needs of consumers who want refreshing cold coffee at home – as cold as what they can get at the coffee shop when they order an iced coffee – at the simple push of a button,” Drapeau explained.

For both the K-Rounds and QuickChill technology, the company is implementing a Beta program in the US and Canada at​.

The program will launch with the Brew+Chill device this fall, followed by the Keurig Alta, and eventually expanding the program to consumers until the products are ready for sale.

“Their feedback will be critical in refining and optimizing our products as we approach launching it for sale to consumers,” Drapeau added.


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