The following press release from Nossa Familia Coffee aligns with our BYOC campaign, as they hope the new pricing structure will encourage customers to reduce cup waste.
Portland, Ore. — On Earth Day, April 22, Portland roaster Nossa Familia Coffee will roll out a small change to their coffee menu that they hope will have a big impact—on the planet, and on their customers’ coffee-drinking habits. The company’s three Portland cafés will add a 25-cent charge to all customers wishing to get their drink in a single-use, disposable cup. They will continue to offer a 25-cent discount for customers who bring in their own reusable cup. Those who want to drink their coffee ‘for here’ will pay the price currently listed on the menu.
“Every year, 50 million cups are thrown away in Portland alone. That’s an incredible amount of trash, and we don’t want to contribute to it anymore. The charge on cups is about sending a message that this item is wasteful. When you think about it, it’s really amazing that disposable cups are still free. Cups of all kinds are filling up our landfills, littering our streets, and polluting the oceans. It’s time for businesses like ours to step up and do our part to limit this waste. We want to start a movement with this charge, and hope that our customers join us by bringing their own cup, and that other coffee shops will join us, ” said Karen Lickteig, Nossa Familia’s Marketing and Sustainability Director.
Nossa Familia will ease customers in to the price change with an Earth Day event they’re calling “Dollar Drip Day.*”
The follow-up to the asterisk? *When you bring your own mug. Customers at all of their three Portland cafés can enjoy $1 cups of drip coffee when they bring in their own mug, plus take 20% off reusable drinkware merchandise. The company is also encouraging customers to bring in any mugs collecting dust in their cabinets and contribute to a “Little Free Cup Library,” where others who forgot their reusable mug can snag one at no charge.
The new charge on to-go cups will come as no surprise to those who have visited the roaster’s newest café located at the Seven Corners Collaborative on Southeast Division Street in Portland, where there has been an extra 25-cent charge for cups since the shop opened last August. The company piloted the to-go cup charge at this single location, with what they have called “stunning” results.
“We were a bit nervous initially, fearing this up-charge could turn customers away,” said Nossa Familia Coffee Founder & Chief Friendship Officer, Augusto Carneiro. “We thought, ‘will customers hate us? Will they backlash? Will they stop coming?’ But we knew it was the right thing to do, and we’ve gotten really positive feedback from customers who appreciate the new approach and feel great about supporting a business that is working towards a better for the environment,” Carneiro said.
According to a study the company conducted using point-of-sale data, less than one-third of their customers at Seven Corners choose to use a to-go cup, compared with an average of two-thirds of customers at their other two Portland shops. Even with offering the same discount on bringing your own cup, the “Zero Waste”-focused location has, on average, doubled the share of customers who bring in their own reusable mug. The baristas are also quick to tell you that Nossa Familia does not profit from the extra charge, and they are setting aside the funds collecting to offset their carbon footprint and waste, in pursuit of Carbon Neutral Certification for the location.
The company says their new pricing approach is rooted in behavioral economics, and they’ve done extensive research to justify it. “Studies have shown that offering an incentive often does not have a significant impact on changing people’s behaviors,” Lickteig said. “If you really want to influence consumer decisions, the thing to do is to make someone pay for their choice.” In 2017, Richard Thaler won the Nobel prize in economics for his work around “nudge” behaviors. This is the idea that those with the ability to influence choices (what he calls “choice architects”) should put in place policies that help nudge citizens or customers into making better decisions. The to-go cup upcharge plays into the idea of “loss aversion”–that people feel a loss twice as strongly as they feel a gain. So that 25-cent discount you get for bringing your own mug? Way less compelling than the loss you’ll feel when you have to pay extra for the cup. The charge encourages people to consider their options, and work to avoid the loss by making a better choice.
“Our goal isn’t to shame people or make them feel bad about paying the charge. We want to maintain the same warmth and welcoming atmosphere we’ve always had in Nossa Familia’s shops and with our baristas. The real goal here is to help people think more consciously about their decisions, and offer a little nudge to help them make a better one for the planet and our community by using a reusable cup over one that becomes trash,” Carneiro said.
About Nossa Familia Coffee
Nossa Familia Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster founded by Augusto Carneiro, whose family has been growing coffee in the highlands of Brazil since the 1890s. Consistently included in lists of Portland’s best coffee roasters and coffee shops, Nossa Familia is also the first B Corp Certified roaster in Oregon, signifying the company’s deep commitment to sustainability. Nossa Familia works directly with coffee farmers around the world to source high-quality specialty coffee from origins like Brazil, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, Kenya, and more. Nossa Familia supplies coffee beans and equipment to cafés, restaurants, hotels, and offices primarily in the Pacific Northwest, including its own self-operated cafés–three in Portland, one in Downtown Los Angeles.