Packing a Punch: 10 Signs That Your Business Might Need a Co-Packer

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While running a food business, every day can cook up new adventures. You’ll stir up new recipes, design mouth-watering labels, and watch customers enjoy your delicious products. Despite these ongoing experiences, you’ll often face challenges as well.

With a co-packer, you can focus on building your food business and expanding your brand. Without one, however, productivity might begin to fail.

In 2016, the global contract packaging market was worth $26.54 billion. By 2022, the market is projected to reach $47.28 billion!

Outsourcing to a co-packer, or contract packer, can help you scale your business and meet your ever-growing demand. Still unsure if you’re ready to partner with a co-packer? Keep reading to determine the factors to consider when making the decision to when to partner with one for long-term business growth.

1. Scalable Recipe

If you focus on repeating a single recipe over and over again, like jam, you can likely make your food product with your eyes closed. Working at home or in a commercial kitchen gives you the chance to work with flexibility.

In an industrial, mass-production setting, however, you need a detailed recipe and no unexpected factors. Any difference in the ingredients, machinery, or process could alter the final product.

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s time to work with a co-packer, look at your recipe. Is it precise and large enough to fulfill the co-packer’s minimum requirements?

There are a few ways you can optimize your recipe as you learn how to find a co-packer.

For example, you’ll need to provide a precise weight for each ingredient. This precision will ensure your product comes out perfectly every time. Precision also makes sure it’s easy to scale your recipe up for larger productions.

You’ll need to make sure the cooking times and temperatures work for larger batches as well.

2. Demand

You’ll know when to switch to a co-packer in food production if your demand is peaking. Some co-packers require a minimum volume of hundreds or thousands of units. If your demand isn’t reaching this minimum, however, you’re likely not prepared to partner with a co-packer.

Demand changes over time. An upcoming holiday rush or gaining a new placement in stores can help boost your demand. Understanding how the demand for your product changes based on different variables can help you determine if it’s time for a co-packer.

Then, you can make sure your demand will meet your co-packer’s minimum.

3. Product Shelf Life

Let’s say your product doesn’t have high enough demand for a co-packer. In some cases, your product’s shelf life might make the partnership ideal instead.

For example, a long enough shelf life can help expand the duration of a production run. If your product can last a year on the shelf, one production run can produce enough units for four months of demand.

A stable shelf life might indicate it’s time to work with a co-packer. However, you’ll still want to determine how quickly the product will sell. You’ll also need to calculate other costs, such as cold storage.

4. Capital

Even if your recipe is ready and demand is high enough, you still need to consider capital. Working with a co-packer can become a big financial investment.

A co-packer can offer bulk manufacturing capabilities that will reduce your cost per manufactured unit.

There are other costs you’ll need to consider in addition to production, such as:

  • Ingredients
  • Packaging
  • Research and development
  • Storage

Determine if you have enough capital for these expenses before working with a co-packer.

5. Ingredients & Packaging

Some food businesses prefer to provide their own ingredients and packaging. However, you can also have a co-packer source them for you. Either way, make sure to calculate the costs.

In other cases, co-packers will provide the option of producing the product for you. Then, they’ll send you the product so you can complete the final packaging. This can help reduce the costs of production as well.

Regardless, it’s important to make sure you’re maintaining the integrity of your products.

6. Storage

Co-packers can also store your finished product for you. If you want to pay an additional charge, you can partner with a co-packer for access to their storage facilities.

Make sure you determine if they have the space and ability to properly store your product. You’ll need to pay for shipping charges as well.

7. Partnership

Between 2014 and 2019, the packaging industry had an annual growth of 5%. Before you decide to make a commitment with a co-packer, however, you need to understand the partnership.

Different co-packers offer different services. Make sure you choose a co-packer that will provide everything you need. Knowing what you’re looking for before you start your search can help you find the best co-packer.

8. Lead Times

Take a look at your current production schedule. Are there areas of the production process that are starting to lag?

A co-packer can help fill all of your orders in an efficient, timely matter. As a result, they’ll keep your lead times tight, so you can meet your customers’ demands.

If lead times are starting to lag, consider learning how to find a co-packer.

9. Communication

Make sure you choose a co-packer that offers open lines of communication. When your co-packing partner is quick to respond, it can help optimize your production schedule.

A co-packer can also help you throughout each stage of the production process. By partnering with a co-packer, you can optimize various stages of the process.

If you have a current co-packer who isn’t a strong communicator, it’s likely time to look for a new partner.

10. Equipment, Personnel, and Certifications

If you lack the equipment, personnel, or equipment you need for mass production, a co-packer can help. By partnering with a professional, you’ll have access to everything you need without having to invest in equipment or staff yourself.

Pack It Up: 10 Signs that Your Business Might Need a Co-Packer

Is it time to start packing? If you recognize these signs your business needs a co-packer, consider partnering with a professional. They can help boost production so you can grow your business!

Looking for a partner? Contact us today to get started!