Food manufacturers of all types need customized, complete packaging solutions catered to their specific products. When choosing the right packaging or repackaging solution for your needs, it’s important to remember the importance of your brand’s physical presentation, as this is key to ensuring happy consumers.
Contract packaging, or co-packing, offers an excellent way for companies to minimize packaging and shipping costs while ensuring their products are packaged properly. Experienced contract packagers utilize high-speed equipment and offer a range of specialized services designed to enhance your overall packaging functions and streamline supply chain processes.
Before Working with a Co-Packer
Determining whether co-packing is a good fit for your company is an important step in making sure that you get the most out of your investment. Although this option can be a good fit for many growing companies, finding out whether your company is currently ready to take advantage of the benefits of co-packing can help you make sure that you are ready to take this step.
To ensure you make the right decision for your business, consider the following:
Demand requirements. Before getting established with a co-packer, it’s important to assess your current ability to keep up with production demands.
Business goals. You should take the time to evaluate what your current goals for your business are and how close they are to being attainable. Once you have identified where you want your business to go and how a co-packer may be able to help you get there, you can start the process of researching potential co-packers.
Certifications. Co-packers may require you to have certain certifications regarding food safety and other types of compliance. Consider the types of certifications you already have and which ones you may need to obtain before working with a co-packer.
Financial implications. Partnering with a co-packer comes with different costs. It’s important to think about whether you can afford any upfront costs and other costs associated with contract packaging.
Compromises. Working with a co-packer may require you to make certain compromises when it comes to packaging changes and formulations. Because of this, it’s important to think about whether you’d be willing to make those kinds of shifts.
Co-packer’s ability to scale up. Determining your potential co-packer’s ability to scale up and help grow your business is very important.
Once You’re Ready to Work With a Co-Packer
Once you have determined that working with a co-packer is the best fit for your business, you will need to put plenty of effort into finding the right co-packer for your needs. First and foremost, your co-packer should have experience in working with the specific types of food products your business handles. Other important things to consider when determining if a co-packer is the best fit for your business include:
- Flexibility: Can they grow alongside your business as you expand into new product categories?
- Location: Are they located somewhere that makes sense for your business?
- Alignment: How do their values compare with your personal values and the values that you would like your business to convey?
- Agreements: Are their Manufacturer Service Agreement (MSA) and NDA guidelines sufficient to meet the needs of your business?
Working With a Co-Packer
Finding a co-packer that is a good fit for your business is only the first step in ensuring success. Building a strong professional relationship can go a long way when it comes to maintaining trust and creating a long-lasting partnership.
One of the best ways to do this is by maintaining open communication. Your co-packer needs to be aware of how much you expect your business to grow and what kind of role they will play in that process. Having this open line of communication will also make it easier to implement any changes, address potential problems, and avoid the typical issues that arise from misunderstandings and general lack of communication.
Another way to ensure the best possible relationship with your co-packer is to be willing to adapt. As your products and relationships grow, certain aspects of your product or packaging may need to change. Being flexible and willing to adapt in these situations is crucial in maintaining the relationship between you and your co-packer.
What Services Are Included in Co-Packing?
Co-packers not only package and repackage your food products, but they can also offer additional services to meet a range of needs. Common co-packing services include:
Replacement of Damaged or Outdated Packaging
With co-packers, you can replace any packaging that is outdated or damaged during transport. This is often related to situations involving holidays, seasons, and special promotions.
Replacement of Bulk Packaging With Unit Packages
Co-packers can put products from unit packages into bulk packaging. They can also repackage unsold products in unit packaging into bulk packaging to take up less warehousing space.
Many co-packers can create and place labels that have decorative, informational, or functional purposes.
Co-packers may offer kitting, which involves combining various products into different sets. These sets often incorporate customized packaging, printed tape, and other promotional materials.
Other co-packing services include:
- Film/shrink wrapping and other protective wrappings
- Packaging inserts such as advertising materials, bonuses, etc.
- Branding services and custom printed packages
What Are the Benefits of Packaging Outsourcing?
Creating and implementing your own in-house packaging solutions can be a big undertaking, especially for food companies that lack ample storage space, have a limited number of employees, or do not have their own facilities. When working with a co-packer, you gain access to several key benefits, including:
- Cost savings. Building a packaging infrastructure from scratch and training employees on all of the necessary processes can be very expensive. Working with a co-packer eliminates these costs by preventing you from investing in facility space, more staff, etc.
- Scalability. Co-packing offers easy scalability, meaning you can adjust the scope of services to align with the way your business is growing.
- Access to expert, high-quality services. Since co-packers specialize in packaging services, they offer enhanced accuracy, faster speeds, different packaging options, and more. This gives you more time to focus on other areas of your business without having to worry about the quality of internal packaging operations.
Co-Packaging for Large Food Companies
Large food companies, in particular, can benefit from working with a co-packer, especially when it comes to handling increased production demands. Since co-packers are better able to stay current on new global markets as well as new packaging and process solutions, they can be extremely helpful in managing the operations of established food companies. Other ways large food businesses benefit from co-packers include:
- Co-manufacturer role. Co-packers in the food industry can also cook, process, and blend food products on top of packaging and labeling.
- Food safety expertise. Co-packers must use certified processes and be compliant with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). This involves the use of various food safety management systems. Additionally, they must be able to manage allergens and comply with any labeling regulations.
To learn more about why large manufacturers need a co-packer, check out our blog.
Co-Packing from Econo-Pak
At Econo-Pak, we have over four decades of contract packaging experience. We operate under full FDA regulation, are recognized by the GFSI, and use a HACCP-based quality management program to ensure safe packaging operations for your food products. To get started on your co-packing solution, send us your project information to get a fixed-price quote fast.