Air New Zealand Introduces Edible Coffee Cups

Filed Under: Air New Zealand

I’m a huge fan of coffee, and in particular love to see airlines get creative with what they offer. On that note I’m loving Air New Zealand’s latest initiative… I think?

Air New Zealand currently serves more than eight million cups of coffee every year. The airline is already trying to do what they can to be environmentally friendly — their current cups (both in the air and on the ground) are plant-based (made from paper and corn instead of plastic), which enables the cups to break down in a commercial composter. This initiative is already believed to prevent about 15 million cups from going into landfills annually.

But they’re taking it a step further. Air New Zealand has introduced edible coffee cups both in the air and on the ground, as they explore new and innovative ways to meet sustainability challenges.

So, how exactly do these edible coffee cups work? They’re in partnership with New Zealand company “twiice,” which has created vanilla flavored cups that are leakproof. The cups have been popular with customers, and can also be used as dessert bowls. I would assume they’ll still keep around regular cups for those with dietary restrictions.

Co-founder of “twiice,” Jamie Cashmore, had the following to say:

“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.”

Assuming these cups are actually durable, what’s not to love here? You get a sweet treat with your coffee? Awesome!

I hope Air New Zealand expands this initiative. I have to imagine these aren’t cheap, at least in comparison to the cups they otherwise offer.

What do you make of Air New Zealand’s edible coffee cups?

  1. I don’t like coffee (which makes me abnormal according to my friends). I do have coeliac disease and sadly these products are not gluten free (odd cause often gluten free products taste like cardboard)! BTW I am all for alternative options. Even in First/business I take my own water bottle and ask them to fill it up. Great idea!

  2. Amusing, but not really sure I want to be eating something that doesn’t degrade under contact with water.

  3. “Assuming these cups are actually durable, what’s not to love here?” Oh, just the explosive diarrhea and stomach cramps the gluten will cause me for days after the flight. #celiac

  4. I am in the AKL NZ lounge right now and just had a flat white in one of these cups.

    It held its shape and insulated the outside from heat. It tasted like a gigantic fortune cookie.

  5. Really cool.

    Though I assume they will keep the other cups on option as well? There are passengers with dietary restrictions like Kosher that would not be able to have coffee from such a cup.

  6. Cool idea but for hardcore coffee lovers an edible cup would probably change the taste of the coffee in the cup.

  7. @Lucky, are you as much of a germophobe as you used to be? I keep thinking about how these cups have been handled along the way.

  8. Here comes the gluten free crowd. People who have celiac are 1% of the population. That really wouldn’t be great marketing to create something geared toward 1% of the population

  9. Why did some posters feel the need to regale us with their personal health issues?
    No need to spill your guts here. Stay classy and a bit mysterious.

  10. What’s so wrong about re-using glass/ceramic cups ?
    Most Airlines did for a long time.
    Tons of hotels do to this day.

    Would also make Starbucks look a lot better.
    And not just them, all of the people who drink in cardboard cups, yuk !

  11. OK – nice idea! – But…

    It’s like those packing-beads made out of wheat-starch. Much better than polystyrene! But like these cups – vulnerable to vermin.

    If they’re edible – and actually taste nice! – how do you stop rats and mice and sundry other bugs from getting in to have a nibble while they’re in storage awaiting use?

    I mean – you can’t treat them with insecticide or rodent killer – people are going to be using them!

    And it’s not like you can churn out the multitude of them required fresh each day just before use. Just not possible logistics-wise.

    So they’re gonna be stored somewhere – and even the cleanest of warehouses aren’t entirely bug or rodent-proof.

    (I supposed they could maybe put in some sort of cold storage? Where it’s too cold for vermin? But that would be pretty expensive surely – and wouldn’t exactly be great environmentally given the cost of power for refrigeration?)

    So – I hate to be a kill-joy. And I applaud any efforts to rid us of the scourge of waste and single-use implements. But I’m not sure how this is practical?

  12. So if, as is shown in the photo, they’re gonna be served in a bowl, wouldn’t it make more sense just to serve the coffee in a reusable mug and cut out the middleman?

  13. Love the idea, though it won’t be long before a cup crushes in someone’s hand and a lawsuit shall arise. There’ll be a few, guaranteed.

  14. From a sustainability and environmental perspective any idea how best edible cups compare to standard ceramic cups?

  15. I’m not sure that edible cups are any more sustainable. I imagine that for food safety reasons they have to come in a wrapper that ends up in landfill.

  16. @Ron:

    You’re concerns are somewhat misplaced. These must be handled as any other consumable item of a similar nature. They have a specific shelf life and packaging processes commensurate with other dried foodstuffs meant to be consumed without additional preparation. They’re treated in the same manner as ice cream cones.

  17. I do not know how this is environmentally beneficial, they must be wrapped in plastic to prevent contamination or sogginess.

  18. How many calories per cup? Assuming they are thrown away, they may compost well, but how much energy and greenhouse gases are used in their production and transport and how does that compare with lined paper cups?

  19. I love this concept and appreciate all the time and hard work that has gone into creating this product.
    (I’m a Kiwi and have a soft spot for Air New Zealand and Kiwi entrepreneurial endeavours)

    As a consumer/passenger? I’m wondering why I can’t just drink/eat out of something that can be washed.

  20. While I love this and the switch to paper based cups, I hope they still have regular ones available for someone who is allergic to the corn based ones. Very cool idea though.

  21. Can they be refilled? If not then that may be a lot of eating for each cup of coffee. Also I suspect there is a lot more waste than implied.

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