The global packaging market for cannabis products is expected to exceed $ 20.4 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Zion Market Research. Steve Everly, complete Director for WestPack and therefore the Cannabis Packaging Summit, Informa Markets offers tips for making effective cannabis packaging, navigating dynamical rules, and avoiding expensive withdrawals. The text has been lightly edited by Julie Weed.
Capture the attention of your intended audience
Packaging plays an important role in reassuring shoppers that they’re shopping for a legitimate, legal Associate in Nursingd safe product by conveyance expertise of familiarity, luxury and ease to the patron. Stand-up pouches, for example, have won in the edible cannabis market. They are a recognizable packaging format with a premium look and feel, offer a good amount of surface for labelling and branding, and give the product a small-batch feel that appeals to modern consumers.
Consider the design options that unwittingly appeal to children. Bright and eye-catching graphics, cartoons, and the use of words like “candy” and “cookies” may make sense from a marketing perspective, but they risk attracting the attention of children (and regulators). A minimal, but the sophisticated and timeless design will position the product well and save time and redesign expenses as consumer preferences evolve.
Make sure it’s fresh and powerful
For flowers specifically, when exposed to the elements (especially oxygen), the shelf life and potency of the product degrade. One way to ensure that the product stays fresher longer is to use a Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) solution called a nitrogen gas rinse as part of the packaging process. This technology pumps harmless nitrogen gas into the packages before closing them. Nitrogen gas displaces oxygen, delaying oxidation and deterioration.
Sustainable and ethical business practices increasingly fuel consumer spending habits, a trend largely shaped by millennial demographics and Gen-Z. In fact, according to Nielson, almost half of American shoppers say they will change their consumption habits to benefit the environment.
While the cannabis industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, it is also creating a tremendous amount of packaging waste. It is estimated that 10,000 tons of packaging waste was generated in Canada alone in the first year of legalization, due to the use of difficult-to-recycle plastics that end up in landfills.
Companies like Sana Packaging are trying to solve the problem of cannabis plastic waste by using 100% plant-based hemp plastic, 100% reclaimed ocean plastic and other sustainable materials. The application of innovative packaging technology, the creation of ecological packaging and investment in sustainable practices such as the accordion or peel-off labels that reduce the amount of waste generated by product packaging, helps brands not only reach consumers environmentally conscious but also to have an impact on a growing global problem.
Keep children safe
Increased consumption of medicinal and recreational cannabis means millions of cannabis products will reach homes. This can lead to unintended exposure and access by children. Each state has its own specific packaging requirements, and by January 1, 2020, all cannabis product packaging must be child-proof by law.
Cannabis companies will be required to abide by child-resistant packaging (CRP) parameters set by the Consumer Products and Safety Commission. Approval requires packaging to be certified child-resistant and rigorously tested to prevent child access. Packaging testing by a third party is important, but commonly skipped, a step that cannabis product companies should pay attention to.
Many cannabis players have already started implementing CRP parameters on the packaging, and the industry has seen innovation and smart designs emerge that make content inaccessible to even the most dedicated child while ensuring that the intended user can open the product. However, a related ongoing challenge is that cannabis is used by various disabled and elderly users who must be able to access the product without problems.
Some of the most commonly used safety measures include outlet bags, push and turn caps, push and pull designs, metal cans, and metered dosing with lock functions.
Don’t forget compliance tagging
For brands that create a product to sell in a dispensary, it is important to consider the regulatory labelling that will appear on the final product that is delivered to consumers. There must be enough surface area to ensure that the identity of the packaging is not lost between the compliance labels. That said because the federal and municipal regulations governing cannabis are complex and the enforcement laws are unique to the District of Columbia and the eleven states where cannabis is legalized for adult use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington: Regulations on what is required on packaging varies by state lines.
From a retailer’s perspective, it is imperative to educate sellers on where to place the required labels, so they don’t hide important information on the packaging.
Cannabis regulations vary by city, state, and county lines, and are also changing, so there are compliance issues across the landscape. Packaging and labelling are an important part of dealing with those changes. Instead of guessing what the new regulations will be and when they will be implemented, companies should go beyond current requirements. This could potentially save time and money on reprints in the future.
It is vital to spend time properly researching the rules before committing to packing or purchasing equipment. Manufacturers of packaging materials and machines can typically perceive the laws, however, ultimately it’s up to the merchant to form positive their packaging meets standards once deciding that product to place on their shelves.