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Chirag Sheth: The Cannabis Industry Has a Significant Overreliance on Labels

Problems with manual labeling and how new technology, like edible ink, stands to make a big impact for cannabis manufacturers.

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Wood Dale, IL-based Videojet makes coding and marking equipment used in the consumer packaged goods (CPG), pharmaceutical and medical industries, among others. Chirag Sheth, global business unit manager at Videojet, noticed some similarities in the cannabis industry and went to a few tradeshows on fact-finding missions to see if coding and marking equipment could be a good fit for the industry. 

Sheth found that cannabis operators had a significant overreliance on labels. When he spoke with cannabis manufacturers and processors, they described their relatively easy but analog labeling process β€” they typically had a desktop printer and printed labels as needed. While the manual method works, as businesses grow and processes become more automated, desktop labelers aren't well-suited for those applications. 

With so many players in the cannabis market, shelf presence plays a significant role in each brand's success and failure. The package "pop" really matters, and Sheth says labels tend to kill the pop that good packaging should have. 

Operators also rely on a lot of pre-printed packaging, but as regulations change and labels become obsolete, it can lead to a significant amount of scrap for cannabis operators. 

Some products also demand marking directly on certain products, like edibles. Videojet has been working with a couple of Colorado manufacturers to use the company's food-grade, FDA-certified ink to print onto gummies and cookies. 

In this episode, Sheth also discusses: 

  • How packaging can better stand out in the market
  • The lack of marking and labeling standardization 
  • How inks can help operators be more sustainable
  • Coding and marking best practices
  • Integration with Metrc and BioTrack databases
  • Frustrations over difficulties accessing capital despite equipment realizing ROI within a year
  • Why some companies refuse to engage the cannabis market

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