December 4, 2019

FINISH YOUR LATTE & EAT THE CUP: Air New Zealand Is Trialling Edible Cups

Words by Matt Leedham

Air New Zealand has begun trialling edible vanilla (biscotti!) flavoured coffee cups as it explores new and innovative ways to meet its sustainability challenges.

The airline says the tasty looking cups have already been a big hit with Air New Zealand customers on the ground and in the air.

Surprised?! I’m certainly not.

Air New Zealand Senior Manager Customer Experience Niki Chave says that while the airline’s current cups are already compostable, the ultimate goal would be to remove these totally from landfills.

“We’ve been working in partnership with innovative New Zealand company ‘twiice’ to explore the future of edible coffee cups, which are vanilla flavoured and leakproof.

“The cups have been a big hit with the customers who have used these and we’ve also been using the cups as dessert bowls,” Ms Chave says.

What’s the challenge?

Air New Zealand currently serves more than eight million cups of coffee each year in its lounges and in the air.

As a country, New Zealand uses approximately 295 million take away coffee cups a year, most of which end up in landfill.

Jamie Cashmore, co-founder of ‘Twiice’ from Auckland says the company was born out of a need for the disposable packaging industry.

“Right from the get-go, we were conscious of the fact that if we could reduce that number it would be a fantastic thing,

“Trying to find a creative way to do that was important to us.” Says Mr Cashmore.

What’s the solution?

The ‘twiice’ edible cup trial backs up Air New Zealand’s recent switch to plant-based cups on board all aircraft and in lounges.

The plant-based cups are made from paper and corn instead of plastic, which enables the cup to break down in a commercial composter.

Mr Cashmore says ‘twiice’ is working on extending its edible range of crockery and expects to roll out new products next year.

Ms Chave says the airline will continue to trial ‘twiice’s’ edible coffee cups and work with the company and other partners to explore scaling options that could make it a viable long-term product for the airline.

What will the positive impact be?

‘twiice’ co-founder, Jamie Cashmore says the edible cups could play a big role in demonstrating to the world that new and innovative ways of packaging are achievable.

“It’s terrific that Air New Zealand has partnered with us to showcase to its customers and the world that a little bit of Kiwi ingenuity and innovation could have a really positive impact on the environment while at the same time delivering a really cool and tasty customer experience,”

Jamie Cashmore, co-founder ‘Twiice’

Undoubtedly, the spotlight is now on all airlines’ sustainability strategies for the long haul. The recent ‘Flight shaming’ movement in Europe has only increased the general public’s interest and desire to demand change in the aviation sector.

Air New Zealand’ Switching to plant-based cups is expected to prevent around 15 million cups from going to landfill annually. The airline is also encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cups onboard aircraft and into its lounges.

Twiice says that for the coffee connoisseurs out there, the Vanilla is the most versatile flavour to compliment your choice of hot drink or dessert.

A chocolate-lined cup is also on the cards along with a gluten-free version.

Sounds like these edible cups could literally be taking off and going global very soon.

You can also get your hands on your own edible cups thanks to Twiice. A six-pack costs NZ$23 plus delivery.

Find out more:

How can you travel to change the world?

Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.

Now you can easily create your impact by sharing your new-found knowledge with other friends who you think would also be interested.

Ultimately, responsible travel comes down to common sense – stay curious, keep yourself up-to-date with the challenges at hand and make yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.