Brands can live or die by their packaging. All the master growers, rare genetics, THC percentages, charitable donations, social media influencers and celebrity endorsements won’t save a brand without shelf appeal.
It seems unfair, especially in an industry that mandates childproof packaging on top of stringent labeling requirements, that a superior product in poor packaging could be so easily outsold by an inferior product in appealing packaging. But, like any other consumer packaged good, consumers place value on well-produced packaging.
To help level the playing field, Marijuana Venture reached out to leaders in consumer packaging to give readers insight on the many variables of building appealing packaging for retail buyers and consumers alike.
Marijuana Venture: What is a trend (or a couple trends) that you find interesting in cannabis packaging right now?
Director of marketing for Diamond Packaging, Dennis Bacchetta: One of the most important packaging trends is that sustainability is no longer a trend; it’s an expectation.
Sustainability has gained momentum as a priority for all brands, which has increased demand for packaging with improved environmental attributes such as folding cartons, since most are manufactured with recyclable or recycled paperboard.
This emphasis has shifted the conversation away from sustainability as an added cost towards sustainability as an investment (in their brand).
Diamond has seen an increased demand for paperboards that are made with post-consumer recycled (PCR) fiber or feature uncoated or textured surfaces.
We have also seen more interest in FSC-certified paperboards and inquiries on how brands can communicate these benefits through on-product labeling.
Paperboard folding cartons are an ideal packaging medium for CBD beauty and personal care products because of their billboard space, decorative options, protective properties, and sustainability attributes.
Many companies are also looking at sustainable packaging design as one aspect of the larger role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which includes sustainability, diversity, and socially responsible business practices. They recognize that brands, including many smaller boutique brands, are winning over consumers by doing “the right thing”.
MV: What are some of the best ways cannabis brands can use their packaging to set themselves apart from their competition?
DB: One of the best ways that cannabis brands can use their packaging to set themselves apart from the competition is through the use of decorative effects (e.g., specialty coatings, foil, embossing).
These effects add texture and dimension to packaging and reinforce the premium positioning of a brand, while inviting closer inspection and interaction on the part of the consumer.
Another way is through specialty or textured paperboards (such as Neenah 100 PC White or Ecological Fibers Flexpack Lumina Pearlescent) with improved environmental attributes. These feature unique, natural finishes that provide a superior print surface for inks, foils, and embossing embellishments and tell a positive environmental story through their use of materials (e.g., recycled fibers) and how they are manufactured more sustainably.
MV: What type of products/services does Diamond offer that would make it particularly appealing to cannabis companies?
DB: Diamond recently introduced Diamond Lockbox™ folding cartons, an upscale, certified child-resistant (CR) packaging solution for medical or recreational marijuana products. Diamond Lockbox™ folding cartons combine beauty and strength for the ultimate in cannabis packaging design. The single- and dual-lock options feature finished edges and ample billboard space and can be decorated with a wide range of printing and finishing effects.
Diamond’s award-winning team of design engineers and packaging experts developed Diamond Lockbox folding cartons for cannabis brands looking for a user friendly and compliant packaging option luxurious enough to rival that of high-end cosmetic brands.
Diamond Lockbox folding cartons are Certified Child-Resistant in compliance with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 16 CFR 1700.20 testing protocol.
All cartons feature: Compliance for both child safety and senior adult use effectiveness (SAUE); Discreet child-resistant (CR) release mechanisms; Recloseable designs which maintain CR functionality; Clicking sound which provides audible feedback; Customizable inserts (for concentrates, edibles, pre rolls, and vape cartridges or pens); Ample billboard space for branding, messaging, or labeling.
Also, the designs were engineered to stand up to repeated opening and closing without losing their safety attributes or effectiveness. This reliability is of particular importance for multi-use products that are NOT sold as single-use.
Diamond’s CBD packaging is ideal for hemp-derived CBD (cannabidiol) products that contain less than 0.3% THC. The designs incorporate many of the enhancements found in our other retail package designs, including: SBS, recycled, or specialty boards, including hemp fiber paperboard; Expanded color gamut (ECG) printing; Specialty coatings; Cold foiling or hot foil stamping; Embossing and debossing; Decorative die cutting.
Diamond delivers “Luxury without compromise” by capturing the essence of upscale or premium brands through more sustainable converting methods. Diamond’s folding cartons are designed utilizing recyclable or recycled paperboards (many FSC-certified), and manufactured using 100% clean, renewable wind energy, in a Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) and Carbon Neutral (Scope 1 and Scope 2) facility.