Three main steps to choosing a co-packer
Step 1: Create a list of what you expect from a co-packer
Establish your needs in terms of:
- product quantity and quality
- size and type of container
- cost per unit
- time-frame for completion.
Write clear instructions for:
- regulatory compliance
- testing of product.
List any extras that would be helpful:
- product development
- formula development
- ingredient sourcing
- business expertise.
Assess your legal and insurance needs:
- talk to your experts.
Establish product distribution requirements:
- export compliance.
Step 2: Evaluate possible co-packers
Create a list of processors who can produce your product. Look for processors who:
- produce similar products, or similar products with different seasonal requirements
- have excess capacity
- operate the type of specialized equipment you require
- meet the expectations you outlined in Step 1.
Conduct a site visit with as many potential co-packers as possible. Look for:
- cleanliness and order
- recent inspection reports
- quality control certifications
- financial stability
- willingness to meet your requirements.
Find out who else has used the co-packer, and talk to them about their experiences.
Step 3: Create a Contract
Once you've chosen a co-packer, write up a contract. It should spell out who is responsible for:
- finished product.
Your contract may also need to cover:
- record keeping
- handling of raw product
- inventory control
- testing and product approvals
- liability insurance and workers' compensation
- documented quality control processes
- process scheduling and delivery dates
- payment terms
- non-compete agreements.
Have your lawyer review the contract before signing.
For more information:
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