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The Aussie start-up beating Nespresso at its own game

Melbourne coffee meets environmental sustainability.

Azal Khan

Digital Journalist, Your Money

Three million coffee pods end up in landfill daily in Australia.

But one Melbourne start-up trying to change that by combining locally roasted coffee with biodegradable pods.

Pod & Parcel started in August 2015 and labels itself as creating cafe quality coffee pods minus the guilt.

Co-founders Ben Goodman and Jai Felinski said the company was born out of their own frustrations.

The pair and their third co-founder Elliot Haralambous were working as business consultants in Melbourne and were spoiled for choice by the quality coffee helping them get through the day.

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Notes of plum skin and dark berries greeted by golden caramel. Damn Fasoli, why are you so delicious 😋

A post shared by Pod & Parcel (@podandparcel) on

“But at night we would still be stuck in the office and there wasn’t much of an alternative. There was instant and we also had a little Nespresso machine,” Goodman said.

“We thought we could really improve on the flavour. We also knew there was also quite a bit of stigma around coffee pods in the fact that so many of them go to landfill daily in Australia.”

They set out to create a sustainable coffee pod that captured the flavour and experience of the coffee from their favourite cafes.

Sustainability was at the heart of Pod & Parcel’s goals when the business started, and while they admit they “have a little way to go” on that aspect, the product has a unique selling proposition when it comes to the environmental factor.

Their coffee pods are made from biodegradable and compostable plant-based material that breaks down in 90 days.

Co-founders Jai Felinski and Ben Goodman.

Being kind to the environment, however, does weigh into the cost.

“Our pod is more expensive, but we don’t hide that fact,” said Felinski.

“We are a premium product but there is definitely a reason for that.

“Our coffee costs a lot more than our competition’s but our sustainability factor, the fact our pods are biodegradable and compostable as well, really does come at a price.”

But it’s a cost the company is willing to bear to beat out the competition in terms of taste and sustainability.

The pods are compatible with the popular Nespresso coffee machines, creating a strange dynamic where Pod & Parcel benefit from their competitor.
The competition, however, doesn’t worry them.
“Fortunately for us and unfortunately for them, Nespresso are still pursuing the aluminium pod perspective and that’s where we see the gap and the opportunity in the market.
“Consumers are looking for a more sustainable alternative and something that takes away that guilt,” Goodman said.
Being a smaller company also has its advantages.
“They are a big company so it takes a long time for them to make big instrumental changes whereas as we have our ear to the ground and can move pretty quickly,” Felinksi added.
The trio bootstrapped the company for the first 18 months. They recently took on some investment to fund a rebrand they had last year.
“It’s been profitable since day one, and we would like to keep it that way,” Goodman said.
Watch the video for the full interview with Pod & Parcel co-founders Ben Goodman and Jai Felinski.

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