What is a Co-Packer and why would your company need or use one? The benefits of using a Co-packer can have a wide scope of reach depending on your business needs. What are the reasons I would even need a Co-Packer; why do I need a middleman in my business; and what are the benefits of using a Co-Packer if I find I want to use one?
These are some of the questions that come to the forefront of this discussion. A Co-Packer, first and foremost has experience in production and packaging if you are in a position where your needs can be met by forming a partnership with someone who has the means to do something you as a business do not. For example, You have a chocolate shop and want to pair your coffee recipe with chocolate to gain retail space in a new account. This is something you have wanted to do, but when the opportunity comes up, you don’t have a coffee roaster, a packaging machine, the time or staff to make it happen, so you will need to find someone who does. You can go to school to learn how to repair a transmission to save labor costs from your mechanic, but the outlay for the education far exceeds what you would save, so you bring it to a professional who has the equipment and staff to do it correctly.
In a Nutshell, here is the rundown:
Reducing cost. Acquiring equipment, setting up the infrastructure, and plant facility can cost quite a bit. An outlay of a fixed charge/ per Lb. or pack of coffee is much easier to manage than additional space & equipment.
Knowledge. As an established co-packer since 1999, we will have experience in roasting ing and packaging your type of coffee. If you have a small sample of something you wish to sell, we understand how the roast profile, time & temperature may change when working with larger batches.
Lead time. When you work with the correct co-packer, you will be able to reduce lead times by letting the Co-Packer handle their area of expertise while you handle yours. It will take you longer to learn about and produce a product that you are not familiar with. You can work on your chocolate producing and we will work on the coffee producing side so you don’t have to worry about BOTH products.
Scalability. Roasting & packaging coffee is what we do. All day, every day. There are lots of coffee roasters in New Jersey, but how much can they roast & pack in one hour, one day, one week? We have capacities to Roast & Pack 2 – 20,000 Lb. Bags of Coffee either by hand or Machine allowing opportunities for small custom & large bulk foodservice and retail packages. Please visit our Co-Packing page for further information regarding our scope of work and capabilities.
Regulations. There are several requirements that must be met before products can be made and sold. These may include, but are not limited to: health inspections (local, state, and/or federal), FDA, OSHA, and insurance. In addition, your product may require additional certifications such as Kosher, Organic, and Allergen free (for nuts, dairy, and gluten). By utilizing a co-packer, you eliminate the time and money required to deal with these issues directly. In our specific case, we use afterburners to roast our coffee which are both expensive and required by state law of New Jersey.
Hitting on some more details of these points, in a two part article; Buyers Best Friend goes into detail regarding these points on working with a Co-Packer.
In regard to specifics of your job, I would find someone that is close in proximity to your business to avoid high shipping charges and increased lead times due to shipping/delivery constraints. I would also suggest getting a rundown on any previous jobs they have done regarding your specific product. Yes, we can roast & package peanuts, but we have never done it before, so there is going to be some trial & error. In that instance I would not suggest working together if this was your first presentation to your customer. Find someone who specifies in nuts and is certified to roast & pack under the specified conditions. Same said I would not use a marble packager to pack my coffee. Yes they have bags and can pack, but it’s not a food related item. We use different greases & lubricants that are foodservice approved and have experienced staff that knows the ins and outs of many different roasting profiles.