In the News
Custom K Cups

Keurig® brand pods along with Starbucks, Folgers, Maxwell House, Gevalia, Yuban and Dunkin’ Donuts to raise pricing on single-serve coffee by 9%.

Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) recently announced it plans to hike prices by 9% for the pod packets used in its signature brewing system, as well as other single serve packets, bulk coffee and other products beginning in November.

It’s the latest in a string of price hikes this year as coffee producers pass along higher costs, but the single-serve market had been spared until now. A drought in Brazil dried up the harvest of Arabica coffee beans, driving coffee prices up by 58% in the past year. Starbucks said that they would increase prices by 5-20¢, depending on the order and where the purchase is made. J.M. Smucker also raised prices by 9% for the Folgers and Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN) brand coffee that it makes for sale in grocery stores. Kraft will raise the price of its Maxwell House, Gevalia, McCafe and Yuban pod packs by about 9 percent, effective Dec. 28, due to sustained price increases in associated raw materials, a company spokeswoman said.

These large brands that automatically pass along rising commodity costs to the consumer are losing part of the market because prices never come down when coffee costs fall. The issue is giving single-serve coffee drinkers a choice on pricing and variety. Everything in the licensed Green Mountain world is gravitating from 62¢-65¢ per cup on the low end to 75¢-85¢ on the higher end offerings. With high pricing on what’s often not the best coffee, shoppers are looking for better ways to enjoy single-cup beverages, and that’s where custom pods come in.

Thanks to a small number of companies like Intelligent Blends with advanced production capabilities and substantial capacity, custom single-serve pods are quickly emerging in the marketplace. It’s exciting to see a growing and diverse range of coffees, teas and other beverages becoming available in k cups. The diversification is not just on roast and flavor or blend, but also on price. Shoppers are paying attention to other innovations in the single-serve market including sustainability as private label brands with access to eco-friendly capsules offer recyclable options.

Keurig®-only prices and all of the endless waste from wrapping every cup of coffee or tea in non recyclable plastic will only continue to drive demand for single-serve pods. In 2015, we will also see the latest wave in private label capsule compatibility as manufacturers introduce 2.0 solutions.

Learn about creating your own custom single-serve pods.

 Tapping into the single-serve market does not require a substantial investment or special knowledge of the industry. This introduction and quick guide is designed to help to you refine your needs and find the best solutions for producing private label pods.

INTRODUCTION – Single-serve continues to be the fastest growing segment of the coffee market, with recent reports indicating that single-serve coffee now accounts for nearly 40% of ground coffee sales in the US. Other beverages including tea, hot cocoa and cider have also experienced tremendous growth. Innovations in sustainability and new higher quality beverages are emerging while single-serve brewers continue to sell in record numbers. With more than 3o+ million brewers in households across the United States and abroad, the opportunity to tap into this growing market is certainly worth exploring.

ENTERING THE MARKET – In the past, very high minimums and costs along with the fact that only a few large companies had production capabilities posed major barriers to entering the market. At Intelligent Blends we’re working to change that. For the past two years, we have made it our goal to make entering into single-serve market with your own private label pods available to roasters, brands and companies of all sizes. Low minimums coupled with flexible options and available packing configurations, makes it quite easy to create your own private label single-serve pods. In fact, we’ve produced hundreds of varieties of coffees, teas and other private label pods for dozens of brands and we’re just getting started.

SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS – With an estimated 15 billion pods to be consumed in 2014, the industry needs Eco-Friendly Solutions. Recyclable capsules are available and some are offered at no extra cost. Innovative companies like Intelligent Blends are pioneering sustainable solutions and quickly bringing them to marketplace. Since introducing Recyclable “Eco Pods” in March of 2014, we’ve packed 10+ million capsules for clients all over the United States and abroad.


WHY PRIVATE LABEL? – While single-serve pods are perhaps most well-known for use at home, we’re also seeing offices, hotels, stadiums and even restaurants adopting and using them more than ever. However, with a relatively high cost per cup even for the largest buyers, private label single-serve pods have become an increasingly popular option. In addition to branding and consumption benefits, private label allows for higher quality “batch roasted/blended” coffees and teas that are closing the gap between the convenience of single-servings and quality of fresh specialty coffee. Imagine getting fresher single-serve pods branded with your own logo and graphics at a lower price per cup then you’re currently paying. Additionally, Intelligent Blends offers #5 Recyclable capsules at no extra cost. If you’re choosing from our 12+ available varieties of 100% premium Arabica coffees and/or fine teas, you’re guaranteed to be serving up high quality cups for a great value.

IS IT FOR YOU? – Since joining the team at Intelligent Blends, I’ve enjoyed seeing coffee roasters small to large, brands and companies, clients in the hospitality industry and many more emerge in single-serve capsules. Low minimums and a high annual capacity has opened us up to a broad range of clients from across the United States and abroad.

Finding the Best Single-Serve Coffee Solutions

Now that you know how easy it is to enter the single-serve market, exploring and understanding your options is the next step.

When it comes to private label pods there are several options to consider. If you’re unsure of exactly what you’re looking for start by asking yourself these questions:  I’ve grouped questions below into three (3) main sections that are designed to help you to refine your private single-serve pods needs.

1. Using your own ingredients and understanding other options.

Ingredients in Private Label K CupsTruly perfecting taste profile in single-serve capsules is an art and science as we attempt to optimize extraction to enhance flavors and produce a rich cup in a short period of time. Whether you’re supplying your own coffee, tea or other ingredients or choosing from an existing selection of coffees and teas, this initial phase is important. A sampling process is typical both for clients choosing to use our coffees and teas and those using their own ingredients. It’s actually a really fun process! Once you’ve made your selection(s) or locked in your desired taste profile(s), the formulation becomes your blend and we can scale up for a production run.

  • Are you looking to use your own coffee, tea or beverage ingredients?
  • If so, do you have the formulation or do you need help creating it for single-serve capsules?
  • Are you interested in taking advantage of existing blends of coffee and tea that can be made available to you?
  • Do you want help to develop your own varieties of coffee and tea?

2. Assessing the number and types of blends or varieties you want to offer.

Type and Variety of Private Label K CupsThe sky is the limit when it comes to roasts and varieties of single-serve beverages. Unfortunately for most of us, we don’t have limitless funds to produce as many types as we can imagine right out of the gate. Prioritize your needs based on demand and start where you feel comfortable as each variety will be subject to at least a small minimum. Whether you’re looking to offer a flavored coffee, light roast “breakfast blend” a medium “house blend” or a bolder dark or all of them plus more, the total number of private label k cups will ultimately determine your overall cost per capsule. Consider whether there are any other specific requirements such as Organic, Fair Trade, Kosher, etc. Intelligent Blends production facilities are certified for all of these and more, but if you’re shopping around be sure to inquire about plant certifications and even verify them online.

  • How many blends of coffee/tea/other products are you hoping to offer and what types? (Light, Medium, Dark Roasts, Decaf, Flavored, Black tea, Green tea, Herbal tea, etc.)
  • Are there any requirements to consider? (Organic, Fair Trade, Kosher, Allergen Free etc.)

3. How you intend to sell / distribute your single-serve product.

Retail Private Label K Cups in Retail and Bulk Packaging

Retail Private Label Pods in Retail and Bulk Packaging – Bulk Pods for Office & Hospitality

When it comes to packaging there are several options to consider. How you intend to distribute your finished products will allow you to choose the most appropriate packaging solutions. For example, if you’re planning to sell into retail channels, then our upgraded retail 12-count and 18-count boxes are perfect. With your own custom graphics and impressive re closable lids, customers are sure to notice them on the shelves. Selling to offices or using private label pods in your hotel rooms? Perhaps bulk packages of 100 capsules are the way to go and you’ll also save even more money not using retail packaging. Flexible machinery allows us to offer some of both by switching from retail to bulk configurations during most standard production runs.

  • Would you like to produce private label single-serve pods for retail in custom 12-count or 18-count packages?
  • Are you looking for bulk packaging for use in food service, hospitality, office coffee or another application?
  • Or are you interested in exploring both retail and bulk package options?

OK! Gather your answers to the above questions and I’m sure that you can also come up with some of your own questions and let’s start a conversation. Tapping into the single-serve market, which is worth close to $1 Billion annually in the US alone, does not require a substantial investment or inside knowledge of the industry. The reality is that many customers with private label single-serve pods are paying less for their own brand of single-serve cups and experiencing the opportunities they provide.


Learn more about Private Label single-serve pods (non customer supplied) and Our Coffee & Tea Offerings

Intelligent Blends offers comprehensive and flexible Private Label single-serve podssolutions. With a growing variety of gourmet coffees and teas to choose from, we easily accommodate most taste preferences. Our private label line of k-cup compatible capsules are all made in the USA from #5 Recyclable plastic and eco-friendly materials.


About Intelligent Blends

Working passionately to create some of the best single-serve beverages emerging in the marketplace today, the team at Intelligent Blends enjoys sharing information and educating people. Leveraging our innovations and offering relevant, flexible solutions helps us to fit the needs of our clients and their end users. With an annual capacity of 100,000,000+ capsules and another production line on the way, doubling capacity to 200mm, Intelligent Blends is well positioned to support clients small to large and continue to grow with the single-serve market.


Post by: Josh Cohen, VP Business Development at Intelligent Blends

How to: 3 Steps to Recycle Eco-Friendly Kups

At Intelligent Blends, we’re big on promoting health and sustainablity, which is why we’re especially excited to support all of the amazing brands entering the single-serve market with our award-winning innovative new #5 Recyclable Eco Kups.

3 Steps to Recycling an Eco Kup: 1. Let your kup cool down. 2. Peel lid and dump contents. The lids have been specifically developed to peel off easily. 3. Recycle your kup!

Follow these 3 Simple Steps to Recycle a K-Cup®:



Single-Serve Market By Location: With recognition that the single-serve market has no specific geopolitical boundaries in North America, several key US markets can be identified by location. The data below is from a 2013 NCA report and has been provided courtesy of the (National Coffee Association). Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and San Francisco are the largest US markets. NCA data suggests that the most valuable markets are located on the west coast as a result of lower percentages of household penetration for single-serve brewers.  Read More ›

Achart1“K-Cups® have driven all of the growth in the coffee category since mid-2012”

Between 2009 and 2013, traditional roast and ground volume declined by 1 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), while K-Cups grew at an 80 percent CAGR. The trend continues in 2014 and beyond, with reports indicating that single-serve is now accounting for nearly 41% of ground coffee sales. It’s estimated that 15 billion k-cups® will be consumed in 2014. From the smallest roasters to biggest brands the single-serve beverage market is exploding with growth.


  • Single serve is the fastest growing grocery SKU in North America for 2 years running.
  • It’s estimated that 15 billion k-cups® will be consumed in 2014.
  • Coffee Volumes Have already Outpaced US Food Volumes for 2014.
  • Intelligent Blends LP introduced Recyclable Single-Cups and has since packed tens of millions of eco-friendly cups for brands and roasters all over the US and abroad.
  • Intelligent Blends LP wins SCAA People’s Choice Award for Best New Product in Packaging for the #5 Recyclable Eco-Friendly Capsule.  Read More ›

Single-Serve Solutions

Sample Your Product in Single-Serve Cups!