The cannabis industry is at an inflection point. New adult use and medical state legalization and easing of restrictions in many municipalities have expanded access to cannabis. But the failure to pass any tax or banking reform, coupled with the declining price of cannabis continues to hamper growth. Packaging is more important than ever. Berlin Packaging tracks the latest trends impacting the cannabis industry to help our customers grow their business. Here are four key trends we’ve identified this year.
Good news for the cannabis industry – today’s consumers are looking for enjoyment and excitement in the products they buy, especially following the stress and anxiety from the last few years. Fun experiences can provide a sense of escapism from daily stressors, and the need for enjoyability is an essential part of the value-for-money equation. Pantone’s 2023 color of the year – Viva Magenta – is described as “brave and fearless, and a pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration.” The Dieline has included cartoon characters, sticker design, and “groovy feels” among their 2023 package design trends. While many states won’t allow for characters or any images that market to children, cannabis brands can still wholeheartedly embrace this trend.
An example of groovy packaging is the Highway 420 spec packaging developed by Berlin Packaging’s in-house design team at Studio One Eleven. And retro packaging is popping up across categories. These all reflect a desire for fun, nostalgic, escapist design experiences that align nicely with the recreational cannabis industry.
A 2022 GlobalData Survey found that almost 60% of consumers say they are always/often influenced by how enjoyable or unique a product is.
Consumers want to support companies and brands that are socially responsible, and demonstrating a commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility is becoming increasingly meaningful. Accessible packaging is especially important within the cannabis industry. With chronic pain and arthritis as common afflictions for cannabis and CBD consumers, easy-to-open and use packaging is essential in creating a positive user experience. “Senior-friendly” packaging is also becoming important as the world’s population is aging.
THC and CBD-based products require child-resistant packaging, often at odds with the needs of consumers suffering from pain in their hands, including the prevalent older demographic. Finding ways to meet regulatory requirements while making products accessible to all users can demonstrate a brand’s commitment to social responsibility while driving trial and brand loyalty.
While material circularity and recyclability continue to be important to cannabis and CBD consumers, there is also growing awareness around the role of carbon emissions in the packaging sustainability equation. Several companies, including Unilever and Cocokind, have started incorporating carbon labeling to demonstrate their environmental commitment and help consumers make informed purchase decisions.
States including New York and Vermont have enacted sustainable packaging regulations. In addition to offering a full suite of compliant solutions, Berlin Packaging conducts lifecycle analyses (LCA) to help our customers quantify their product’s environmental impact over its entire lifecycle. LCA tools allow us to calculate a product’s carbon footprint (i.e., its greenhouse gas emissions) as well as its water and fossil fuel use. We can compare packaging options and select the most effective and impactful solutions for our customers regardless of material. We concentrate on strategies that combine the decarbonization of materials and production and the end of life in developing circular economy solutions centered on recycling.
Almost 60% of global consumers say reduced carbon footprint is extremely or quite important to them in a product (GlobalData).
Today’s consumers are increasingly incorporating technology and digital tools into their everyday lives. Smart devices help us stay connected and informed, manage work and personal lives, and assist in household and shopping tasks. The use of digital technology, including “smart packaging,” for the cannabis industry can provide additional information about terpene profiles, strain genetics and harvest date that often can’t be displayed on the outer label.
Younger consumers are especially interested, with one in four Gen Z
and Millennials saying that interactive packaging (i.e., QR codes) is a
key purchase driver. However, with product sitting behind the vault
in most dispensaries, cannabis consumers value QR codes for post
A recent GlobalData study found that 42% of global consumers are always or often influenced by how digitally advanced or ‘smart’ the product or service is in 2022 (up from 35% in 2021).
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The brands mentioned in this report are trademarks of their respective owners. Inclusion of these brands in this report is not meant to imply an association with or endorsement from the respective trademark owners.