The cannabis industry is emerging from a year+ of financial and supply chain challenges. This is a great opportunity to assess the state of the market. We’ve enlisted two insiders from our sales team, Tedi Weitekamp and Terri Westerhaug, to share their insights about the industry priorities and cannabis packaging trends in 2023 and beyond.
What are cannabis manufacturers, retailers, and dispensaries currently focused on?
Terri: Right now, speed to market and flexibility rank very high for our cannabis packaging clients.
Tedi: As proactive partners, we like to step in during the early information gathering stage so we can share a variety of options that meet all the design and engineering, scheduling, and pricing requirements.
Packaging is the vessel that carries branding, assures compliance, protects products, and wins markets. Our partners are looking for solutions.
Terri: In an industry known for ever-expanding product lines, customers value our range of customized cannabis packaging types. They count on readily available, easy-open, child-resistant packaging inventory.
Tedi: They care about smart planning — from efficient manufacturing, scheduling and inventory management, to budgeting and final shipping. Their goals become ours.
Have these goals changed since COVID? Are they still evolving?
Tedi: During the heat of the pandemic, it was more difficult to finalize programs.
Terri: These days, we’re seeing the heightened importance of cannabis brand differentiation and more consumer-focused market testing of new products. Many of our women- and minority-owned customers are stepping up their advertising efforts and attending industry-related events, a sure sign of confidence and resilience.
With so many factors to consider, is it possible to rank current cannabis industry priorities?
Tedi: Applying high-end graphics and maximizing shelf appeal are key to standing out in a cannabis retail environment or dispensary.
Industry authority and trust matter a lot. Manufacturers place a high premium on their cannabis packaging partner’s depth of expertise and proven record of innovation.
Terri: Add to that a big emphasis on airtight packaging design. Stay-fresh packaging extends the shelf-life of our customers’ products and saves them money.
Tedi: AssurPack’s airtight certification has become a big factor in the success of our customers’ products.
Terri: Our customers count on our ability to deliver a wide array of packaging options to fit specific cannabis products and markets, all while keeping packaging costs and MOQs as low as possible.
Tedi: For many start-up companies, packaging MOQs are critically important, as their initial batches of product are small. Helping them find a way to use one package for several products is a great benefit in the final package selection. Tiered pricing can also help customers leverage their spending and scale their cannabis businesses efficiently.
What does innovation mean in the cannabis industry?
Tedi: New packaging innovations are VERY important in the cannabis industry. Our customers are consumers too! We track cannabis product trends and then evaluate what new and improved advances we should be developing.
What questions are you often asked?
Terri: I’m asked about compostable, earth-friendly packaging materials.
Tedi: The cannabis industry is looking for advances that address packaging waste. AssurPack is working on incorporating post-consumer recycled materials in our cannabis packaging. We were one of the first to adopt BioSphere®, a unique packaging additive that speeds the decomposition process.
Looking ahead, are your partners optimistic about the cannabis marketplace?
Tedi: Yes. At the same time, companies realize there will be consolidation in the industry.
Terri: As cannabis laws change in a positive direction, the industry is becoming more enthusiastic about introducing new products. I’m seeing an expansion of product lines and a desire for branded packaging with unique shapes, colors, and special features.
What keeps you optimistic?
Terri: The cannabis industry is becoming more sophisticated every day. The real value AssurPack brings to our partnerships goes beyond our friendly, easy-open, child-safe packaging features. We’re always listening to consumer trends and thinking about how we can apply our cannabis expertise to our evolving package designs.
Tedi: We anticipate our customers’ needs and deliver on our commitments. I have a handwritten postcard on my bulletin board from a customer that reads: “Thank you for being in our corner…Even when we are not!!”
Tedi Weitekamp is AssurPack’s Vice President Packaging Engineering. Throughout her career in package development, she’s always focused on the consumer. She begins by asking if there are new technologies that can bring innovation to the market to make the consumer more engaged with the product. Her past experiences include positions in skin care, OTC pharmaceuticals, and liquid dispensing systems. She has applied her knowledge of packaging materials processes to bring improvements in each of these industries.
Terri Westerhaug, AssurPack’s Customer Solutions Director, has developed innovative business and packaging strategies for AssurPack’s cannabis customers for more than four years. In addition to her work with regulatory administrations, she provides expertise in design, engineering, supply chain, manufacturing, and operations. Terri’s career in printing and packaging spans nearly 40 years; she has worked with small, family-owned companies and Fortune 500 corporations. In the last seven years, she has focused on child-resistant and senior-friendly packaging for the cannabis industry. Terri enjoys teamwork and building internal and external customer relationships.
We’re here to create your next cannabis packaging success with you.