No matter what product you sell, the packaging is critical to maintaining business integrity, reliability, and compliance. Cannabis products are unique in that they do not fall under federal law. With no federal guidelines, each state has different packaging and label requirements. This adds additional obstacles to the cannabis packaging industry, but when followed correctly provides an opportunity to become a market leader. There are six general areas to focus on in order to meet customer needs and follow local laws on cannabis packaging.
· Unique Branding
· Standing Out
· Product Strength
· QR Codes
· Environmentally Friendly Packaging
A new brand starting from scratch needs to have a unique tone. Before deciding on that tone, think about the other brands sharing the space, and what their tone and purposes are. Your goal is to have labels, images, and colors to ensure customers can recognize your product and distinguish it from other items on the shelf. Brands must work to retain brand recognition and trust, and packaging affects this area. Major changes in cannabis packaging can confuse consumers, and new products need to retain a similar tone to attract consumers of other products from the same brand. Brand authenticity is also important, and keeping products consistent over time retains customers through trust of the product. Changing products around too much can reflect badly on the brand. This concept remains true with packaging design.
Standing Out in On the Shelf:
There is an entire division of research focusing on new ideas in consumer buying behavior and neuro-design. This area focuses on the subconscious way people are drawn to one topic or another. Therefore, designing the packaging for any product should involve examining the latest research. Packaging is the most important factor in the marketing of any product. It helps different brands communicate with their audience and drives customer behavior. Packaging is the first tool to attract customers and instill the experience in their mind. Many consumers use factors the most when considering a new product. These factors include color, graphics, layout of typography, and the design and quality of the packaging. The cannabis industry is highly competitive, and standing out from other brands is important to success. Having an eye-catching package for a quality product increases the chances of gaining and retaining new customers.
Today, most states allow the sale of marijuana in some form. Each state has its own regulations governing cannabis compliance, including cannabis packaging and registration. State laws vary, but examples of areas with specific guidelines include:
· Acceptable Cannabis Terms
· Dosage in Milligrams of Cannabis per Pack
· Font Size
· FDA Warnings
· Certified National Languages
· Expiration Date
· Usage Instructions
· Company Details
Most states do not allow medical claims on cannabis packaging. The FDA has not approved natural cannabis products for specialized treatment. Therefore, regardless of the research or evidence that exists, a medical claim is considered “fraudulent”. The safe packaging of cannabis for children is a concern in many states. This may limit or interfere with the use of cartoons, images, or mascots. Some states do not allow cannabis packaging to resemble food packaging to prevent the cannabis being eaten by mistake. Failure to follow all cannabis packaging procedures may result in penalties, loss of equipment, and/or suspension or revocation of license. Before approving the production of cannabis packaging, check state laws for each state shipping occurs in.
This overlaps with the compliance category, but the strength of the product needs to be accurately depicted on the packaging. One of the biggest issues for many new consumers is a lack of understanding of the potency and use of cannabis products. Cannabis labels that say “10 mg per serving” on the chocolate bar must ensure that the recommended dosage matches the actual dose. Lack of understanding for customers is a recurring problem when it comes to the amount of cannabis being consumed per sitting. Many cannabis users have experienced, heard of, or misunderstood the benefits of the cannabis product and experienced adverse side effects. Especially in edibles, a variance between actual dosage and target dosage is acceptable. This is why some 100mg boxes of edibles have an actual dosage slightly above or below 100mg. While the variance is acceptable for state law, such a variance could affect a consumer in a positive or negative way, especially if they are unaware of the variance. Batch specific labels must include the actual dosage for the product to be sold, and are placed on packaging after it is filled with actual product.
A QR (Quick Response) code is a type of barcode that can easily be read by digital devices such as smartphones. These squares contain scannable pixels that link to a website or contain additional information about what was scanned. QR numbers are often linked to third-party tests or additional information that may also be relevant to the consumer. Indiana, Texas, Utah, Florida, New York, and Oregon now require QR codes for cannabis products. This concept is not limited to the cannabis industry but is widespread and desirable for both wholesalers and end-users in many fields.
Environmentally Friendly Packaging:
Often, cannabis buyers express their appreciation for products that keep the environment in mind. Studies have shown that most consumers will change their purchases to reduce impact on the environment, and many are willing to pay more to be environmentally responsible. Cannabis as a crop produces very little carbon. Consider using recycled materials and/or recyclable materials for packaging, such as paper or glass.
The Competitive Landscape of Cannabis Packaging Design:
The global cannabis packaging market is expected to experience a CAGR of 24.3% over the forecast period from 2021 to 2026 in conjunction with increased legalization and consumer acceptance. With increased legalization and consumer acceptance the global cannabis market is expected to increase greatly, and all of these products will need packaging. Therefore, it is increasingly important to choose a meaningful cannabis packaging design for your brand. The efficacy of the product will always be the most important factor in product development, but packaging is one of the largest factors in attracting new customers.