What Is a Co-Packer & How to Choose the Right One?
Running a food business may seem easier than other businesses but it’s not. From procuring fresh ingredients to ensuring the quality of products, maintaining stocks as per the demand delivering finished products timely, there are a lot of things a manufacturer worries about!
Amidst all these major concerns, food businesses mostly skip focusing on the packaging of their products. They forget that great packaging and impressive labeling can boost their branding and accelerate market reach.
However, a food business needs to emphasize a lot of factors when it comes to packaging. Different categories of food products need different types of packaging. Just like the food products, the packaging materials have to meet certain food safety and quality standards!
So, don’t you think partnering with an experienced co packer will make your packing operations easy and hassle-free? An experienced co packer also helps scale your production without needing you to invest in extra equipment and labor.
This blog offers you a comprehensive guide if you are eager to find the right co packer for your business.
Here, we explained what is a co packer, how it can benefit your food business, and what to consider to choose the most suitable co packing company for your business.
Give it a read!
Different Types of Co-Packing Companies You Need To Know
Before we dive straight into the types of co packers, you must know what is a co packer and what it does.
“A co packer or contract packer is a company that provides packaging services to businesses or manufacturers according to their product types and clients’ needs. They dedicatedly undertake the procedures of packaging and related services, which may include label designing, warehousing, and even distribution.”
Broadly, there are two types of co packing companies.
Primary packaging companies
They take care of packages that are in direct contact with the products, for instance, food and beverages, pharmaceutical items, healthcare products, etc. To be a primary co packer, a company abide by a certain code for consumer safety. Hence, it needs the certifications to verify that its package manufacturing processes meet the code.
Secondary packaging companies
They handle mass packaging i.e., packaging of a group of pre-packed products. Their services are needed usually to bundle a lot of products and pack display products.
But, there is more to the classification of co packer companies!
Depending on the other services co packing companies offer, they are widely categorized as:
These companies ensure the packaging is up to certain quality standards through proper testing measures. Testing of packages is a vital service a food business needs to ensure their final products reach the end customers without any damage.
The main service of a co packer is the packaging of products! It essentially involves several processes from assembling packing materials to undergoing packaging operations. The complexity of packaging processes depends on the type of packing the products need, such as blister packaging, flow wrapping, shrink packaging, and filling.
Contract labeling company
While labeling is an inevitable part of product shipment and distribution, not all co packing companies offer that. The ones that do contract labeling may offer two types of labeling – Barcoding and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagging. While bar code is a simple and unique line coding placed on each product, RFID tags are placed on the shipping containers for real-time tracking of products.
Many contract packagers assist in the shipping and delivery of packaged products to businesses. For effective shipment, they also assure labeling and product tracking services. In other words, the co-packing companies in this category usually offer comprehensive services, helping businesses to get rid of a lot of post-production operations.
7 Compelling Benefits You Get By Hiring A Co Packing Company
If you now understand what is a co packer and what it does, you can probably guess how beneficial its services are to your food business.
If you still have some second thoughts about hiring a co packing company, these benefits will compel you.
Large-scale packaging of products is both an expensive and extensive process. Getting all the materials and infrastructure facilities for packaging will cost you a lot.
Why overburden yourself or raise your manufacturing expenses when you can outsource the services to a reliable co packer? When a co packer does all the work in its facility and delivers your products safely, it eliminates your freight costs, inventory carrying costs, and labor costs.
Expertise and specialization
A co packing company has the right materials and equipment, and an expert team to produce customized and quality packaging. They have certifications that make them legitimately suitable as a co packer of your food business. With the help of state-of-the-art equipment, they do packaging faster and more efficiently at much reduced costs than you.
A co packer specializes in the job of packaging and has experience in packing a variety of products. It uses the latest equipment and resources to cater to the specific packing needs of businesses.
For packaging food products, it uses quality packages approved by the FDA, such as HDPE (High-density polyethylene or food-grade plastic. It assures consumer safety as your food products never deteriorate in quality or get ruined due to poor quality of packing.
Hiring a co packer assures you that your products are safe from damage! If you decide to ship the products to a third-party logistics company after getting it from the co packer, it involves risks. An estimate shows that nearly 3% of products can spoil in transit, adding costs to the business.
However, when you hire a co packer that offers shipping services too, you can spare your food business from such risks of product damage and costs associated with that.
Most businesses, especially food manufacturers face scaling issues. They cannot afford quality large-scale packaging when they increase their production faster.
While scaling the packaging facilities will need extra investments in equipment and labor, you can save all that by hiring a co packer. They have sufficient resources and expertise to meet your large-scale packaging demands.
Market expansion and global reach
When you partner with a co packing company, you can capitalize on its expertise in working with multiple industries. They also have experience in providing labeling and distribution services.
You can collaborate with them to decide on effective packaging solutions, including distribution, which will help you expand smoothly, locally, and even globally.
You can seek customized packaging and labeling services from a co packer, based on your products and branding needs. Personalized packaging will differentiate your products from competitors and help you stand out in the market.
To put it simply, you can boost your branding by offering efficient and suitable packaging for your products that enhance customer experiences.
6 Crucial Factors To Consider While Partnering With A Co Packing Company
Knowing what is a co packer and how they can benefit you isn’t enough if you are interested in hiring one. You have to consider several factors to ensure picking the right company for your food company.
Here we go.
Costs and budget structure
When hiring a co packing, do not forget to consider your budget. If you are a small food business, cost savings is your top priority. It means you need a co packer company that will be interested in cutting your expenses while offering efficient packaging services.
On the other hand, if you are looking to enhance your branding by providing quality, customized, and eye-catchy packaging, go for a pioneering co packer. It offers full services from label design to packaging at comparatively higher costs.
This is a major factor to contemplate when you hire a co packing company, especially when you are running a food business.
When you hire a co packer, it must confirm that its packaging resources meet your specified standards and certifications of the food authorities.
ISO 22000 and GMP (Good manufacturing practices) are the two most important ones. Meeting them ensures the use of superior packaging materials, which assures the quality and safety of foods.
Before hiring a co packer, get some idea about how it operates and what is its lead time. You will be working with the company even in the long run when your production will scale up. Thus, if they have greater lead times, it could be a major problem in the future and cause delays in your deliveries.
Seek a company, who have streamlined processes packaging, and shorter lead times that will help you deliver products to the market faster.
Enquire about the R&D (Research and Development) activities of the co packing company. Does it invest in new equipment and high-grade food packaging? Do they undergo innovation from time to time to offer faster and more efficient packaging services?
Considering the R&D efforts of the co packing will help you get an idea about the equipment capabilities of the company. Thus, you can decide wisely what kind of packaging services you can hire.
Communication and relationship with customers
You need to evaluate the communication strength and compatibility of the co packing company with its customers before hiring. It will help you understand its professionalism and reliability of services.
Read reviews of the customers online to know whether they are happy or disappointed with their packaging services.
Alternatively, you can learn about the compatibility of the company with its customers from the experiences shared in reviews. You can know whether its services are customer-centric and it responds quickly when there are issues in packaging or deliveries.
Proximity to your location
Though mentioned here last, it is one of the primary factors to consider when you are selecting a co packing company. When you entrust the packaging responsibilities to another company, you will need to visit its unit often. You need to check whether they manufacture and provide the packages according to your specifications or discuss crucial matters like changes in the packaging requirements.
Given that, make sure to find a co packer company located close to your food manufacturing business.
How to Find a Co Packer? 4 Excellent Tips For You!
Now that you know what is a co packer and how one can immensely benefit your food business, we suppose finding a co packer is on your mind. However, finding a reliable and experienced co packing company is challenging. You can’t just find a company that offers packaging services.
You have to look at the other vital factors such as costs, timeliness for deliveries, and quality of packaging offered. They also should have capabilities to meet your specific requirements, including packaging standards, FDA approval, proximity, etc.
While finding a company to outsource your packing duties is tough, these expert tips will help.
Ask for referrals
No matter what type of food business you run, go around and seek referrals from other companies in your industry or friends/family members who own one. They are most likely to have worked or working with a co packing company.
They will suggest the best co packing companies around or who can be the best for your company! They can probably give you tips on how to hire and what conditions to tick off to choose the most suitable company.
Utilize industry resources
There are several industry resources, including food forums and communities where you can enquire about the best co packers, according to your needs and location. Those are also great places to connect with other similar food producers, get information on running successful packing contracts, and learn about the latest packaging trends.
From the various industry-related resources, you can find about the innovation co packing food companies are undergoing and learn about the regulations and laws mandatory for them to ensure consumer safety. So, when it comes to selecting your co packing company, you know well what to look for!
Contact your local state agriculture department
The local state agriculture department is the one that is clear about the regulations and conditions that food co packers must adhere to. It is the one that issues licenses to companies to operate as a co packer.
Contacting the local state agriculture company is hence, the best way to know about the reliable co packers in your proximity. They can suggest you a list of professionally reliable and experienced companies. You can narrow down your list of food co packing companies and contact them to secure a partnership with the best one.
Use online resources
Lastly, you can look for online free resources to widen your search for competent co packers around you. Google is the ideal option! You can search with relevant phrases like “food co packer” or “best food co packer near me” on Google. The results will appear according to your location preferences. You can also optimize your search according to the specific needs of your food business.
For instance, you want a co packer with a Plant-based certification program to comply with your minimal-waste or greener initiatives. You can search for a company that holds this particular certification or a similar certification to assure food safety as well as environmental protection.
Want to Partner With The Best Food Co Packer? Join Hands With Fresh Ideas!
Offering perfect products to the market is what every business strives for! But, is it possible without impressive packaging of the products, especially when it is the food business? The quality and freshness of food products hugely depend on the packaging. However, most businesses fail to pay enough attention to packaging as there are many other vital aspects of manufacturing and distribution for them to handle.
You should also not forget that quality packaging with interesting labeling will also boost your business’s branding. Great packaging appeals to customers and might induce them to buy from you. So, instead of toiling hard of packaging your products and offering slugging packages, entrust the responsibility to a reliable co packer.
We explained here what is a co packer and how it can salvage you from different packaging expenses to help you understand why you need its services too. If you are running a small or mid-sized food business and can’t find the right co packing company to partner with, Fresh Ideas is here to help!
We are a specialized butter co packing company in the USA assisting brands to deliver quality and delicious packaged butter to the shelves. Being a leading butter co packer in the industry, we make sure to use industry-approved packaging materials and the latest equipment to offer superior-quality packaging solutions. Our expert team is continuously innovating and adapting to the industry trends to offer packaging services that assure the freshness and safety of the food.
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