Cannabis companies have a significant opportunity to connect with customers by differentiating themselves in a market that’s seeing competition increase by the day. Any good marketer knows that as important as a product’s quality is to its long-term success, its packaging can make all the difference in what people choose to buy.
That difference can mean millions of dollars, especially considering that the global cannabis packaging market is projected to surpass $20.4 billion in 2025. And with 2020 poised to be one of the most exciting and innovative years in packaging design yet, companies are focusing on color, aesthetics, and green packing to help their products fly off the shelves.
The companies that put effort and thought into creative packaging have a chance to tell their story, make a personal connection, and create an experience that keeps consumers coming back, and even recommending their product to others. While some companies see packaging as just a product’s vehicle, the top-performing brands treat it as part of the product and a chance to create a cohesive experience that adds value.
Color and Design: Capture Attention and Create Familiarity
Although some form of marijuana or CBD is legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia, many potential consumers still want to be assured they are purchasing a legitimate and safe product when shopping online or in dispensaries. The buying experience needs familiarity, and one of the most effective ways companies can create that is by designing cannabis packaging with creative labeling and branding like consumers see with craft beer or a bag of locally-roasted coffee beans.
Creating familiarity often includes particular color choices. Neon colors and gradients are trends that have been around for a few years, and designers believe that this will continue and shift into packaging to create a “retro-futurism vibe.” For companies wanting to push the gradient trend even further, using blurry color splotches gives labels a more abstract and modern look that draws the consumer in.
However, designers and packaging companies need to avoid using color to create designs that might attract the attention of children and minors. Bright colors or graphics that resemble cartoons may help bring attention to your brand, but it can also attract the attention of regulators.
As climate change remains in headlines as a growing global crisis, it continues to impact consumer spending habits. The cannabis industry isn’t immune to consumers with this way of thinking. One of the most significant trends in cannabis packaging for 2020 and beyond is green packaging. Companies will need to consider packaging cannabis with materials that are recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable to target millennial and Gen-Z markets.
But this trend isn’t just hitting younger consumers. Almost half of all shoppers in the United States say they would change their purchasing and consumption habits if it helped the environment. And while the cannabis industry has exploded across North America in the past five years, it has also added an excessive amount of packing waste with an estimated 10,000 tons of waste in the first year of legalization alone in Canada.
Some companies are already jumping at the chance to shift this trend by using 100% plant-based hemp plastic, reclaimed ocean plastic, and other sustainable materials instead of plastic that will end up in a landfill. Other companies are also focusing on eliminating as much unnecessary packaging as possible, or even considering packaging that can be used by the consumer for other purposes.
Finding eco-friendly alternatives to plastic will be an ongoing, but positive, challenge for cannabis packaging companies as well as designers and marketers. They will need to refocus on how they tell their company story on different, and sometimes less, packing material.
Packaging That Follows the Rules
Cannabis packaging requirements vary from state to state, but by Jan. 1, 2020, all marijuana packaging in the United States must meet Child Resistant Packaging parameters set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and is subject to rigorous testing. Similar to what we see with prescription drugs, push-and-twist caps and squeeze-and-pull designs are common, as well as metal tins and exit bags.
Brands should also keep in mind that regulatory labeling will be added to final products before they hit the dispensary shelves. Designers need to make sure to leave plenty of space so branding and other design elements don’t disappear behind informative compliance stickers. These regulatory labels serve a purpose just as important as enticing packaging, and the two need to work together.
Be Agile and Ready for Changes
The legal marijuana and cannabis industry is still in its infancy in the United States. Regulations are fluid and vary greatly across city, county, and state lines. Companies have to keep this in mind and anticipate those changes moving forward so they can save time and money as they continue to grow. Before expanding or entering a new market, take time to research rules, and strategize with the assumption that they will change down the line.
This proactive mindset, combined with eco-friendly packaging and use of color, shape, and imagery to create familiarity with consumers, will set your company up for success in 2020 and beyond.
To make the most of your product’s packaging, contact 4Blooms.Guru today. We specialize in compliant cannabis packaging and branding, and we can help you make sure that your message and your products stand out from the crowd. Call us at 866-420-6464 or fill out a contact form to speak with a knowledgeable member of our team.