Find A Great Food Co-Packer Fit
So I get emails like this every few weeks. Start-up food companies trying “start-up” the learning process behind about finding an excellent food co-packing manufacturer fit to land on my Vetting A Co-Packer Q&A series from our Nov ’18 Emerging Brands Conference.
Imagine their disappointment when they find out NewPoint is a food marketing firm, not a co-packer. We help you SELL A LOT of your product. Not make it.
But since the majority of the firms we work with either hires a co-packer or contract manufacturer to produce their for products or co-pack for other brands to fill their capacity, it made sense that we include a workshop in our conference.
We had over 70 food companies attend the conference, and each submitted two questions they wanted to ask a co-packer. So it’s pretty safe to say that we got a lot of great intel from our co-packer expert panel. So I would start here:
- Vetting a Co-Packer Workshop Q&A #4: Co-Packer Start-up Costs & Lead Times
- Vetting a Co-Packer Workshop Q&A #3: Co-Packer Safety, Volumes & Logistics
- Vetting a Co-Packer Workshop Q&A #2: When to Switch to a Co-Packer
- Vetting a Co-Packer 101 Workshop Q&A #1: The Basics
Finding a great co-packer can be daunting and complicated. Although by no means comprehensive, below are a few NewPoint-trusted resources to help you start the journey.
- Excellent How to: Article Co-Packer Confidence: What You Need to Know About Finding and Selecting a Contract Manufacturer
- Specialty Food Resource
- The Specialty Food Association has a listing of nearly 700 contract packaging companies (co-packers). Far too many people feel that a co-packer is a co-packer and that any co-packer can do everything. Co-Packers have a variety of specific functional areas in which they excel. The following list is not all-inclusive, nor is it meant to serve as an endorsement.
CPA members are comprised of the nation’s leading contract packagers, which perform all packaging functions; from the simplest to the most complex and from the glamorous to the hazardous. Our members offer these packaging services to a wide variety of consumer goods companies, and these services range from manual and semi-automatic to full-speed, high-performance packaging lines.
CPA’s objectives include:
- Programs to establish strong ethical standards among contract packagers and their clients
- Increase knowledge and expertise within the contract packaging industry
- Improve the business reputation of firms and the professional image of individuals within the industry
- Encourage the effective use of contract packaging services.
Did you ever wonder why it was so tricky finding most co-packers? There are several good reasons.
Taken directly from the website:
First, many “co-packers” aren’t primarily co-packers. They are often small specialty food production businesses producing the first products the company is known for, and their “co-packing time” is the spare time they have between production runs of their products. And, not wanting the plant to be shut down unnecessarily, they produce other people’s products to fill this spare time.
Also, there are several different terms for “co-packers,” but they all do the same things. Besides Co-Packers, other terms to search for are Contract Packaging, Private Label, Product Development, Incubators & Shared Use Kitchens. And to make it even more challenging to find them, very few ever advertise their services, beyond their website, which you’re not likely to ever see.
Another reason for the difficulty in finding the right co-packer for your needs is that traditional thinking has one looking only in their general area. In reality, the unit cost of having your products produced a few states away can be much more cost-effective than using a nearby co-packer that doesn’t fill your needs.
Finally, you will notice that our directory has co-packers from all 50 states listed by category. This is because sometimes it could be worth adding a reasonable shipping cost, to get the best value for what you want to be accomplished. Shipping costs per unit can be a lot less than you think, as little as 5 to 10 cents per unit.
If you have any questions or would like to learn how marketing can help SELL A LOT of products or about NewPoint, please reach out to the NewPoint team — interested in food marketing topics? Please visit our “Intel” page or check out my book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.