Canadian Packaging

Reading the tea leaves to cut packaging footprint

By Canadian Packaging   


Inspired by the tea houses he visited in Europe in his youth, Montreal native Hugo Americi opened the first Camellia Sinensis tea salon in Montreal back in 1998.

After recruiting three local tea connoisseurs to join his new business venture—including Jasmin Desharnais, François Marchand and Kevin Gascoyne—the passionate team proceeded to turn the fledgling start-up into a solid high-end enterprise operating three boutiques and a tea salon in Montreal and Quebec City.

A global reference thanks to their unique criteria for selecting their teas, the four expert tasters visit gardens the world over to meet with producers in order to import high-quality teas of exceptional taste, cultivated in healthy gardens where the products are responsibly grown.

In line with its progressive mission statement and corporate priorities, Camellia Sinensis has recently redesigned its retail tea packaging to make it more environmentally friendly.


“As a tea house, our raw material is, of course, taken from the land.

“So, it was only natural that we put every effort into providing the most environmentally respectful packaging possible,” says company founder and general manager Americi.

“It took us two years of review and research to arrive at the final product, which we’re extremely proud to see on the shelves now,” says Hugo Americi, founder and general manager of Camellia Sinensis.

The main feature of these new packages, lunched in October, is that they use up to 68-percent less material than the bags they replaced, according to Americi.

“After running tests using different materials, we ended up going with bags that keep the tea fresher and have a longer shelf-life, which makes it easier to reuse the packages,” Americi explains.

“Like many in the food industry, we thought the option of compostable material was the way to go,” he adds. “However, we figured out that bags made with that kind of material don’t keep tea fresh enough or last long enough, since the composting facilities in Quebec and the rest of Canada weren’t developed to manage packaging or sort materials, but instead to produce quality compost.

Going against the downsizing trend in the food industry, which means smaller sizes and smaller volumes in the packages, Camellia Sinensis instead decided to increase the volume of tea by 15 to 20 per cent per bag to offset the price adjustment.

For the consumer, this translates to savings of one or two bags at the end of the year.

In addition, to compensate for the labour shortage, a whole new automated bagging process has been put into place at the company’s so-packing facility in Montreal, whereby it now it takes just a half-day to produce 1,000 packages—compared to four days earlier. Moreover, the consumers are actively encouraged to reuse the bags through a 50-cent discount Camellia Sinensis boutiques offer for every bag they bring back.

Featuring an attractive new graphic design created by branding agency Studio Caserne of Outremont, Que., each of the brand’s tea families now have their own color, with a symbol in the upper left corner indicating whether the tea inside the packaged is a loose-leaf product or packed in individual bags.

For their part, the back panels of the pouches are used to display all the technical product information, including the origin, producer name, steeping instructions, and antioxidant and caffeine content.


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