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What is co-packaging?

Contract packers aka “co-packaging,” are known for packaging food, household and other products for clients. Co-packaging varies in involvement as it is customized to the clients product. Co-packers provide services to product manufactures and often act as an extension for the company. Co-packers tasks can vary from as simple as adding a barcode sticker to designing, producing and fulfilling the entire package.


There are varying stages of co-packaging services. Co-packaging manufacturers work with product managers and product manufacturers to consult, plan, customize and execute the process according to the timeline, pre-produced or need-to-be produced packaging components and industry requirements. Contract packaging services include:

  • Design: Co-packaging manufacturers often have an in-house design team to help design the final product packaging. This allows for trouble shooting with prototypes along the way to ensure products best fit the packaging and maximize overall production time.
  • Inventory Management / Control: Receiving and auditing inventory of the product and pre-produced packaging components (e.g. packaging, manuals, card stock, promo stickers, etc.)
  • Printing and Component Production: Sometimes packaging might include a card with artwork or a manual, which needs to be printed before inserted into a final package.
  • Plastic / Thermoform Packaging Production: Manufacturing of packaging, which can include the production of plastic / thermoformed packaging.
  • Package Assembly & Fulfillment: Carefully execute product fulfillment into the packaging. This often requires a defined sequence with careful handling of the product, accuracy of placement into the packaging, inclusion of any other required items, such as manuals, coupons, and product finishing – closing, sealing, sticker placement, etc.
  • Warehousing & Distribution: Organizing and storing / housing the packaged product

No matter what capacity of product packaging a product manufacturer or product manager has, simple or complex, a good contract packaging service provider will be with you every step of the way to ensure the product is delivered on time every time.

From leasing a space to buying equipment and hiring a workforce, it can add up to thousands of dollars. Co-packers have already made these infrastructure investments and are ready to take your products to the next level.

At Dure Foods, we can handle co-packaging products to your satisfaction. We will work with you to boost sales and grow your business.

4 Important Questions to Ask a Co-packer

If you’re starting a food product business, a co-packer can be a huge asset. However, not all co-packing companies may fulfill your specific needs. Here are some essential questions you should ask a co-packer to make sure they’re a good fit for you.

Does their brand match yours?

If you’re hiring a co-packer instead of a private label, your business will be the one determining the food that will be produced. Does the co-packing company make the same kind of products that you do? If they don’t, would they be willing to adjust? Make your co-packing company aware of what your brand is and what kind of food they would be making. If you have an established brand, make sure they can fit that brand.

Can they change along with your business?

Are you looking to expand your business beyond what it is now? Are you hoping or anticipating that this will happen in the near future? If you thing significant change to your business may happen over the next few years, you should make sure that your co-packer is on the same page. Ask the co-packer company if they have any long-term plans that are compatible with yours. Also, consider whether this co-packer is a short-term or long-term hire. The co-packer might be the right size for your business right now, but if you expand, will you need a larger scale co-packing company?

What certifications do they have?

It is also important to know how qualified your co-packer is. An effective way of knowing this is to ask what certifications the company has. For example, if your co-packer has an NSF certificate, then you know their products have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). If they have a BRC certification, you know they have methods of assuring safety in their food production. If you’re looking for a co-packing company and want to make sure they are professional and take their job seriously, asking about their training and certifications are a great start.

What does the co-packer already have?

Since your business is providing the food, that will add to costs along with the co-packer. But what other costs will come with hiring a co-packer? It is important to know if the co-packers already have the proper equipment needed for the job. If they don’t have equipment at all, how much would it cost for you? If their equipment is not a good fit for your food production, are they open to changing their process?

If you’re interested in working with Dure Foods, we would love to answer these questions for you. Feel free to contact us and let us know what you need.

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