September 22, 2023

How to Choose the Right Co-Packer for Your Food Business: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to Finding a Co Packing Partner

Looking for the perfect co-packer for your food business? From working with hundreds of customers, we've learned a thing or two, so you're in the right place! Selecting the right co-packer can be a complex task, and in this comprehensive guide, we'll help you through the steps. Let's delve into how to choose a co-packer that's not just a service provider but an extension of your team.

Co-Packer Industry Specialization: Why It Matters

Before diving into the list of local co-packers, take a moment to consider industry specialization. Make sure the co-packer you select has experience in the food sector you operate in. It ensures they'll understand the nitty-gritty details, like ingredients sourcing and facility certifications.

Key Questions to Ask Your Food Co-Packer

Picking the right co-packer involves asking the right questions. Here's a checklist to guide you:

  1. What are your minimum volumes?
  2. Do you have any certifications such as ISO or HACCP?
  3. How scalable are your co-packing services?
  4. What are your cost considerations?

How to Find a Co-Packer: Best Strategies

If you're at the point where you're asking, "How do I even find a co-packer?" don't worry. Here are some effective strategies to help you locate the best co-packer for your food business.

Online Co Packing Directories

One of the easiest ways to start your search is through online directories. Websites like SpecialtyFoodCoPackers or Cornell lists of co-packers, sorted by location and industry specialization.

Industry Events and Trade Shows

Attending industry-related events, such as food trade shows, can be invaluable. These events provide networking opportunities where you can meet potential co-packers and even see some of their operations in action.

Referrals and Recommendations

Another trustworthy method is through referrals from industry colleagues. If a co-packer does excellent work for a business similar to yours, there's a good chance they'll be a suitable fit for you as well. Don’t hesitate to ask around!

Local Business Directories

Don't underestimate the power of local business directories. Sometimes the best co-packer for you is just around the corner, and these directories can help you find them.

Professional Consultants

If you're still having trouble or want expert guidance, consider hiring a professional consultant who specializes in the food industry. They have the expertise and network to match you with a co-packer that fits your business needs.

Online Searches and Forums

General internet searches can also be useful. You can find articles, forums, and blog posts where businesses discuss their experiences with co-packers. These resources can offer insights into what you should look for and avoid.

By using these strategies, you'll be well on your way to finding a co-packer that aligns with your business needs and goals.

Shortlisting Co-Packers: The Compatibility Test

Once you've got a list of co-packers who are experts in the food industry, it's time to see if they fit with your brand. Are they aligned with your business goals? Do the co-packer client reviews speak well of them? Use these criteria to narrow down your choices.

1. Speed of Email Replies

Prompt email responses are a good sign that the co-packer values communication and customer service.

2. Excitement for Your Venture

Choose a co-packer who shares your enthusiasm for your project. This will ensure better collaboration and results.

3. Payment Options

Consider the various payment methods they accept, and make sure they align with your financial processes.

4. Money-Back Assurance

Look for co-packers that offer satisfaction guarantees. This reflects their confidence in delivering quality service.

5. Return Policy

If applicable, make sure you understand their refund policy. Know under what circumstances you can expect a refund.

6. Minimum Order Requirements

Be aware of the co-packer’s minimum volume commitments, ensuring they align with your production scale.

7. Certifications of the Facility

Check if the facility has industry-specific certifications that assure you of their commitment to quality and safety.

8. Contractual Arrangements

Understand the details of contract co-packer arrangements to avoid unexpected surprises down the line.

9. Packaging Equipment Capabilities

Ensure the co-packer has the necessary equipment and technology for your specific packaging needs.

10. Extra Fees for Additional Products

Be clear on any extra charges for additional services or products so you can budget effectively.

11. Expertise in Food Production

If you're in the food industry, inquire about the co-packer's experience in food production to ensure they can meet your specific requirements.

Co-Packing Scalability: Plan for Growth

A good co-packer isn't just for today; it's for the future. Check if the co-packer you’re considering can scale their operations to match your growth plans. Scalability in co-packing services can make or break your long-term strategy.

Legal Requirements and Contract Packaging for Food

Before you seal the deal, make sure you’re aware of the legal aspects. Review the contract terms and any other legal requirements to avoid future hassles. A well-documented contract protects both parties involved.

Co-Packer Cost Considerations: Know the Numbers

Cost is a significant factor in choosing a co-packer. Get detailed quotations and analyze the breakdown of costs. This ensures that you’re not hit with unexpected expenses later on.

Co-Packer Customer Relationship: Beyond Business

Last but not least, assess the relationship you’ll have with your co-packer. You’re not just hiring a service; you're entering into a partnership that could last for years.

How to calculate how much inventory to order? Bucephalus!

Well that's where Bucephalus comes in. Bucephalus is more than an inventory management system. Named after the horse of Alexander the Great, Bucephalus helps you build your empire by connecting into your sales and inventory data e.g. Shopify, Snowflake, ERPs, Quickbooks. Bucephalus, uses advanced demand forecasting to tell you how much inventory to buy, when, and where to place it using massive amounts of data and AI.

Who is the leader in applying AI, demand forecasting, and inventory management to CPG food, beauty, and fashion brands? We are!

Wondering how to pronounce Bucephalus? Byoo-seff-a-luss


Choosing a co-packer for your food business is a decision that requires careful thought and planning. Make your choice based on industry specialization, scalability, cost considerations, and compatibility to ensure a successful partnership.

FAQs About Finding a Food Co-Packer

How do I find local co-packers in my area?

Online directories and industry referrals are great places to start.

What should be included in the co-packing contract?

Terms, conditions, minimum volumes, and cost considerations should be clearly outlined.

Why are facility certifications important?

Certifications ensure that the co-packer meets industry standards for quality and safety.

Latest Posts