The Evolution of Form and Seal Packaging Technology
Customers, Business Partners and the Planet Benefit From Sustainable, Safe and Secure Cannabis Packaging
By Thom Brodeur, CEO, N2 Packaging Systems
Potato chips and pioneering technology are not frequently used in the same sentence. However, in 1926, when Laura Scudder of California first ironed together pieces of wax paper to keep her potato chips fresh longer, formed and sealed packaging was born. Since then, the process of folding, forming and sealing packaging material to safely encase and preserve a product has undergone many iterations and some improvements along the way.
Today, nearly every consumer-packaged good from food to pharmaceuticals and even cannabis products, are seeking the most effective, efficient and advanced formed and sealed packaging solutions. And, as we know, the materials used for this packaging varies from majority plastics to sealed metal cans.
The benefits of hermetically sealed packaging
The benefits of sealed packaging are widespread: producers value it mainly for preservation in the fresh food space, while the pharma industry seeks tamper proofing and safety. Canned food companies seek extended shelf life and food safety. Consumer goods seek both creative shelf presentation and even security – as anyone who has ever tried to open plastic formed packaged toys at the holidays knows!
Traditionally recognized form-filled and sealed packaging is made from plastics. In the past, very little consideration was given to the environmental impact of a heavy reliance on plastics. But times are changing, and the past decade has seen a material jump in consumer preferences for more sustainable products, as well as increased government regulations for post-consumer recyclability. Both of these market forces are causing innovators across the supply chain to explore more environmentally friendly packaging options that offer the same freshness, safety and shelf-life extension features.
This shift can best be seen in the fast-growing legal cannabis sector, which has adopted a multitude of packaging formats for its products. Plastic pouches, glass jars and sealed cans are some of the most popular form factors you’ll see on dispensary and cannabis retailer shelves today. Cannabis flower, THC gummies and their extracts are highly susceptible to freshness and flavor profile degradation in the presence of oxygen. As a result, many cannabis producers are looking for ways to better preserve their products. Sealed packaging can ensure that the same care the grower put into growing the product will be experienced by the end user.
Consumers expect quality products, and that starts with packaging
Looking at the future of the cannabis space, companies that utilize innovative, proprietary technologies, such as liquid nitrogen technology in their packaging, will be well positioned to deliver both short-term and long-term value across the ecosystem from cultivator to consumer. Modified atmosphere packaging with liquid nitrogen sealed cans has proven to be a valuable solution for growers desiring product efficacy; for packagers looking for regulatory compliance and increased shelf life; and consumers seeking consistently enjoyable and fresh experiences with safe and secure sealing and resealing of their cannabis products.
Market research shows that cannabis packagers want automated solutions that can handle multiple packaging formats. Automation already exists within the cannabis packaging space, but reliability and affordability are top concerns. Can-sealing technology, widely adopted within food and beverage markets, is now making inroads into cannabis as well.
Sustainability, preservation and security must be top of mind in order to ensure that customers, business partners and the planet continue to benefit from safe, secure, sustainable packaged goods. Companies looking to differentiate their products, preserve freshness and meet sustainability goals with sealed packaging are seeing their market share grow, or, like their products, at the very least, preserved, while others have diminished. As consumer spending habits trend towards supporting businesses with a social conscience, producers of consumer-packaged goods should anticipate this sentiment shift and embrace packaging which benefits their products, the consumer, and the environment.
About the Author
Thom Brodeur is CEO of N2 Packaging Systems, a patented packaging solutions company for the cannabis industry. In addition to his role at N2, he is the CEO of Sky Wellness – one of the fastest growing CBD CPG companies in North America. N2 Packaging Systems focuses on providing a patented, sustainable packaging solution that protects their product and ultimately extends product shelf life, optimizes product freshness, is child-resistant and compliant, yet senior accessible. Learn more online at www.n2pack.com.