Co-Packers, Contract Packagers, and Private Labelers
Choosing Your Co-Packer is Probably the Most Stressful and Anxiety Producing Aspect of Launching a Food Product.
It’s easy to perfect a recipe at home. You buy exactly the ingredients you want, from the most trusted suppliers, and create in small controlled batches. Scaling up to a commercial kitchen is not a problem either as you are still making small batches using top ingredients. But all this changes when you jump up to a co-packer. Co-packers require huge productions runs to be profitable. This means your mixing and cooking methods will be entirely different, the batches will be enormous, and you will stop buying your ingredients from the farmers market and the natural foods store. The scale is entirely different so everything else needs to scale as well. So be prepared to be disappointed. It will take a lot of tweaking to match the quality that you were accustomed to in your home kitchen.
Compounding the problem of finding a co-packer is just that – finding one. The industry puts little effort into marketing themselves and co-packers in general seem uninterested in attracting new clients. The resources available are incomplete and fragmented. Below are some of the better databases for co-packers. Below that is my own list of co-packers sorted by type ( cold fill, aseptic, dry blending, frozen foods, beverages, etc). Good luck and hang in there!
Search for Co-Packers
Here are a few online databases of co-packers. They are sorted by state. Descriptions vary from none to a few sentences.
Specialty Food Resource
Co-packers for most states are represented and Canada too.
Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
Focusing on Pennsylvania co-packers but also includes some New Jersey, New York, Maryland and West Virginia.
Find a Co-Packer
Big list of co-packers organized by state.
Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Big list of co-packers organized by state. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Contract Packaging Association
Database of member co-packers. I’ve had mixed results using their drop down selections. For best results choose just one or two main criteria or just click on the view all link and start guessing.
Get Educated About Co-Packing
I highly recommend you get educated on co-packing basics by reading everything you can from trade publications both online and in print. Attend trade shows like InterBev and the Fancy Food Show. Talk to other food companies who have successfully scaled up. You’ll be surprised at how generous successful entrepreneurs are with their knowledge and time – especially if you’re not in direct competition.
One bad choice in selecting your co-packer, or working with the wrong suppliers could destroy your business before it even gets in the stores.
So do your research, ask a lot of questions and be prepared.
Here’s a few excellent articles to educate you on how to choose a co-packer.
- Choosing and Using a Co-Packer by John E. Rushing, Ph.D. Published by North Carolina State University.
- Choosing and Using a Co-Packer written by the Arkansas Agriculture experiment Station
Here’s and eBook for people starting their first food product company.
Bob Lauck sells an ebook too called Start Your Own Food Company (link removed website down as of 2-10-15). I haven’t read it but it’s only $19 and was written by a regular guy who started his own successful food business, so I’m guessing it’s well worth the money.
Hire a Package Designer
Below is a short list of co-packers that seem reliable, but only you can determine if they are right for your business.
Co-Packers and Contract Packaging
Baked Goods Co-Packers
Brownies and cakes. Greyston Bakery is your ideal partner in commercial baking. With a 23,000 ft state-of-the-art manufacturing facility just 30 minutes north of New York City, we offer our partners high quality products in close proximity to one of the world’s largest centers of trade and commerce. From brownies to Bundt cakes, our expert bakers, R&D team, and sales staff are ready to help bring your product to market with a commitment to quality, taste, and service.
Breads and buns. R.W. Baker’s Co. is able to meet demand and offers a reliable source for consistent, high-quality baked goods. Products are made to your specifications and we enforce a strict non-disclosure policy for proprietary item.
Oak State Bakery
Cookies and bars. Oak State works closely with our customers to ensure great tasting formulations that take advantage of our Pre-Oven, Post-Oven and Packaging phases. We specialize in cookies, baked bars and inclusions ranging from indulgent to simple and made on equipment outfitted to maximize attributes while optimizing cost. Wire cut – complete with reciprocating knife for high inclusion levels. Rotary molded – easily customized to exact size and shape required. Crème depositors. Baked bars – individually-wrapped with numerous toppings available. Chocolate enrobing – one of the largest enrobing lines in the US.
St Armands Baking Company
Breads and Rolls. You supply the brand and they will take it from there. St. Armands Baking Company is the premier co-pack baker in the Southeastern U.S. Withtheir modern baking facility and a team of highly trained professionals, we will manufacture your bread or roll formula, put your brand label on it, and ship it to your desired location.
Mary Ann’s Baking Company
Donuts and danishes and raised pastries. Family owned since 1961.
Beverages, Drinks, and Bottled Waters Co-Packers
Their focus is on high end, specialized brands. In their facility, the have four production lines. Castle Co-Packers, LLC has an expert logistics service that oversees a 500,000 square foot warehouse. They are a Kosher and Organic Certified Plant. Juice, sports drinks teas and coffees are their specialty.
Aseprtic Solutions USA
Aseptic Solutions USA is a Manufacturer and Co packer of Nutritional and Dietary Supplements. They also manufacture Energy, Vitamin Shots, Protein Shakes and 100% Fruit Juices. Their technology allows the processing and packaging of liquid foods to be safe, fresh and flavorful all without the use of preservatives.
Tampa Bay Co-Pack
Our co-packing capability is ideal if you are prepared to provide the bottles, caps, labels, raw ingredients, and everything required to develop the finished product. Or, if you simply have an exciting beverage idea in mind, our turnkey services are ideal for taking a concept from scratch to fruition.
Unite Packaging Group
Water and Beverage Bottling Specialist. UPG has been certified for quality by three of the highest rated authorities in food safety: Silliker Laboratories, the Orthodox Union (Kosher) and the United States Armed Forces Procurement Division.
Energy shot contract packaging. Custom bottles manufactured on-site to your specs. Warehousing and shipping. Turn key solution.
State of the Art Beverage Co-Packing Facility, Dedicated to produce low acid, milk / Protein based shelf stable beverages. Utilizing the Retort process. Wide verity of bottles as well as beverage cans. With over 100 years of combined industry expertise. Also Offering Climate Controlled warehousing.
Our family owned packing and bottling firm specializes in quality, dependable co-packing and private label services.We hot fill a variety of products in PET and glass bottles, including sauces, concentrates and a wide-range of beverages (juices, juice blends, teas, energy drinks and more).
Monarch Custom Beverages
Monarch offers a customized solution for your private label beverage needs. We eliminate the need of going through a broker or consultant. We manufacture over 30 million cases of canned and bottled beverages annually. From enhanced waters, carbonated beverages, flavored teas beer and more.
AZ Bottling and Canning
Our state-of-the-art, 240,000-square-foot facility is fully automated and ready to handle your canning and bottling needs. We specialize in the manufacture of nationally recognized brands and private-label beverages. From 2 ounces to 1 Liter, plastic to glass, energy shots to meal replacements, we can fill up to 400,000 bottles daily.
Zeigler’s Co Packing
In addition to manufacturing our own quality beverage products, Zeigler’s has been contract packing for over 15 years. Organic and Kosher certified. Our modern 60,000 square foot facility is located in Lansdale, Pennsylvania and stands ready to meet all of your needs.
Cold Life Juice Company
Turn-Key Co-Packing Solutions for Cold Pressed Juices & Infused Waters.
ColdLife Juice Company is an organic certified manufacturing facility that specializes in small to medium size production runs. We co-pack both organic and traditional beverages.
Dry Mixes, Dry Blending, Teas, Powders and Spices Co-Packers
Specializing in dry blending and packaging.
Uniquely suited to produce any dry food products, such as Hot Cocoa, Cappuccino Mixes, Drink Mixes, Coffee Creamers, Soup Bases, Rice Products, Protein Drink Mixes, Creatine, and various types of Herbs in pouches, jars and composite cans, etc.
With over 3 ½ decades of knowledge and expertise in the tea, herb and spice industry, we are well-equipped with handling any Private Label inquiry. Your partnership with Davidson’s will become your “one-stop-shop” with our direct sourcing of teas, herbs and spices, as well as our dual location (India and USA) co-packing flexibility.
Monterey Bay Spice Company
Tea specialist. We Co-Pack tea products to your required specifications. We offer custom formulation, private labeling options, with a knowledgeable and friendly customer service staff. Monterey Bay Spice Company is a Certified Organic Processor.
Spice blends are our specialty, we have a full lineup of the most popular blends, dips and meat rubs, as well as our unique blends created in house. We will be happy to blend your recipe under non-disclosure. No minimums!
McClancy’s Seasoning Company
Noodle flavorings, dry blending, soup mixes, drink mixes, seasoning packets, dessert mixes and gravies. McClancy’s co-packing capabilities make it easy to offer more brands in different categories. We can co-pack your existing products to your exact specifications. We can also help you develop new products. In either case, complete confidentiality is guaranteed.
Sugar and Spice Inc.
In addition to our selection of bulk herbs and spices, we provide excellent co-packing and private label contract packaging services for small, medium and large companies. Sugar ‘N Spice Company’s co-packing projects include packing a wide variety of spices, spice blends and meat marinades in various size containers. Our expertise is valuable in guiding new and existing companies through the process of creating new, high quality products for the market.
Headquartered in Rock Hill, SC, we offer all-inclusive ingredients and blending services to support food-related companies throughout the United States. Whether ordering five or 500,000 pounds, your ingredient needs are met through our comprehensive warehouse/inventory department supported by an extensive network of suppliers. In addition, we provide the service, expertise, and consistency in seasoning notes, flavor profiles, and flavor systems to become your personal blending room.
Energy Bars, Granola Bars, Snacks, Cereals, and Trail Mixes Co-Packers
Custom energy bar formulation and production. Short runs welcome.
YouBar offers bulk wholesale prices for clients ordering between 100 and 100,000 customized nutrition bars, protein shakes, trail mixes and cereals.
Your Bar Factory
YourBarFactory is an established private-label manufacturer of cereals and fruit bars. They offer a variety of bars and work with national and regional retail chains, branders, distributors as well as smaller accounts all over the world. You choose the specifications of your product and if needed, we will offer a complete turn key project from bar design, manufacturing, packaging and shipping. Product categories: Granola bars, Protein bars, Energy bars, Snack bars, Healthy bars, Fiber bars, Fruit bars, Cereal bars, Marshmallow rice crispy square, Weight control bars. Plant specification: Plant is nut and peanut free, and Kosher. Quality: SQF-2000, level 2.
Nutri-Nation Functional Foods is a contract manufacturer of private label functional food products specializing in energy bars, sports nutrition bars, diet & weight management bars as well as total meal replacement bars. We also produce nutritionally fortified powdered drink mixes including energy shakes, meal replacement drinks, sports quenchers and other sports nutrition beverage
Olympia Granola, Inc. has been manufacturing, packaging, and distributing high-quality, all natural energy bars for more than 7 years. Custom, private-label cold-pressed energy and nutrition bar manufacturing and packaging at a rate of tens of thousands of bars per day in a licensed, FDA-inspected food production facility.
Whether you have a completed formula or are looking to have something developed for you, it is our pleasure to work with you to develop your bar in a timely fashion that ensures an opportune delivery to market.
Frozen Foods and Entrees, Frozen Fruits and Vegetables Co-Packers
Request Foods® is a leading co-packer of frozen prepared entrèes, side dishes and specialty items delivering better solutions to retail, club store and foodservice customers. Their quality and performance are key ingredients in the success of our customers’ national brands and private label products.
Harvest Food Group
Harvest Food Group is a leading co-packer of frozen fruits and vegetables, entrees, sides, meal kits and specialty items to retail, industrial, and foodservice providers nationwide.
Austin Packaging Company
Austin Packaging Company specializes in frozen, refrigerated and shelf stable products, including portion control pouches, bowls and cups and specialty pizzas.
Fairmont Foods is a highly diversified co-packer with a proven 20-year track record. We specialize in frozen dinners and entrees, soups, side dishes, desserts, meal kits and meat components.
Pharmaceutical, Nutraceutical, and Functional Foods Co-Packer
A consortium of four leading pharmaceutical contract packaging companies. Manufacturing and contract packaging of liquid and topical products in flexible packets, bottles, blisters, and tubes. Turnkey contract packaging and repackaging services for the pharmaceutical, OTC, nutraceutical, animal health, and consumer products.
Contract manufacturing supplements experts. Formulation services and manufacturing and packging for capsules, gels, liquids, tablets, or powders.
Flavours, Inc. has utilized the last twenty-four years to build a good reputation and to be a leader in proprietary flavor and aseptic technology for functional foods and nutritional products. The R&D pilot facility is equipped with the latest technology to assist their chemists in the development of highly functional nutritional products and beverages.
Cloud Packaging Solutions
Cloud Packaging Services has a thorough knowledge of manufacturing and packaging food, beverage, candy and nutraceutical products for the best known names in their respective industries. Food, beverage, candy and nutraceutical packaging specialties include dry flowable powders and pieces into flexible pouch, perform containers and blister packages.
Contract packaging of capsules and tablets from your formula. All common sizes. Logo printing on capsules.
Tablets, capsules, powders, gels, pills, beverages from their stock formulas or your custom one. Production runs as low as 500 bottles and 100 for stock formulas.
VITAQUEST is a world leader in custom contract manufacturing of dietary supplements. Since 1977 we have been servicing hundreds of leading companies from all marketing segments in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Private label supplement manufacturer,. Chewable tablets, capsules, custom formulation, flavor masking, research and development and prototyping.
For three decades, the staff at Ion Labs has built our reputation in the industry as the premier supplement contract manufacturer. We get the job done from start to finish for our clients. Our contract manufacturing services are designed to save you time and money and maximize revenue. FREE – No Obligation Quote. Formulating,
sourcing raw materials from our trusted suppliers, blending, manufacturing of the tablet, capsule, powder or liquid, bottling, labeling, packaging.
Organic, Natural, Specialty Gourmet Foods Co-Packers
Farm 2 Table Co-Packers
Farm to Table Co-packers is a full service contract packaging facility that produces everything from frozen vegetables and soups to jarred pickles and sauces. Besides their co-packing services, they also offer a test kitchen where new products can be tested and small batch runs can be made.
Established in 1992, IAM is your one stop shop for private label as well as manufacturing of gourmet food products specializing in bottled sauces and bakery products.
Located in the heart of the gold country in the Northern California foothills, Mad Will’s Food Company has been a manufacturer of gourmet food products since 1989. We specialize in premium private label and custom co-packing, tailored to fit your needs.
Triple H Foods
One of the largest private label and co-packers on the west coast.
Hot Mama’s Foods
The co-packing professionals at Hot Mama’s Foods can gear up to faithfully reproduce your recipes, then set up strictly regulated production and packing lines that will meet all your requirements – from consistency to sanitation – from taste to timetables. And we ship nationwide, in any quantity, to any location.
Sonoma Gourmet Specialty Food Company, located in Sonoma, California, is owned and operated by Chefs Roger Declercq and Bill Weber. Today the company offers 28 branded items packaged under the Pometta’s and Sonoma Gourmet labels. Sonoma Gourmet also produces over 200 specialty gourmet products in its co-pack and private label programs.
Pemberton’s Foods Inc. is a small, specialty foods manufacturer and co-packer located near the coast in Gray, Maine. Our 10,000 square foot facility enables us to produce up to 300 cases of hot-fill, shelf-stable product per day. We specialize in producing jams, jellies, grilling sauces, salsa, pasta sauce, pesto and dessert toppings. Additionally, we have capacity to produce cold-fill, fresh refrigerated products. The majority of products we produce are all-natural and we are licensed as a certified organic facility.
Our versatile equipment and skilled team allows us to create unique and customized products to fill your needs, providing seamless transition between small scale and larger manufacturing. We specialize in the production of labor intensive categories such as hand-stuffed, gourmet olives filled with cheese, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, cloves, anchovies and various hand-stuffed peppercinis, and unique hollowed and stuffed cocktail onions, to meet the growing demand for high-quality, artisan gourmet food products.
We Do-It-All Food and Beverage Co-Packers
American Co Pack
For over 30 years, they have been providing practical, innovative expertise and packaging solutions. Whether you need one of our entire manufacturing facilities, intermittent production, short runs or a single line, they can meet your processing, blending and packaging demands. They have Organic, Kosher, FDA and AIB certifications. Sauces, seasonings, dry goods, beverages, frozen foods, bottles, back and packets.
We Pack It All
Founded in 1979 and specializing in pouch filling, stick packs, tube filling, blister packaging, bottle filling of tablets, powders, cereals, and liquids as well as other forms of packaging. Their team has decades of industry experience and the ability to tackle even the most complicated projects.
In addition to manufacturing our their beverage mix products, Big Train offers contract packaging, aka co-packing, and private label services for the food and beverage industry. Beverage mixes, syrups, sauces and dry blending.
ASSEMBLIES UNLIMITED provides full turnkey contract filling for dry and liquid foods. Their specialty is dry (powder) filling into a pouch or carton, and liquid filling into a pouch or tube. To compliment the primary filling services we also provide the backend manual or “secondary” packaging that many other plants do not. This might include hand assembly, final pack out, counting, batching, boxing, display packing, bundling, shrink wrapping, shrink banding, variety packaging and much more.
Publications, Trade Groups, and Directories
National Association for the Specialty Food Trade
The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade is the preeminent not-for-profit business trade association established in 1952 to foster trade, commerce and interest in the $70 billion specialty food industry.
The NASFT is an international organization composed of domestic and foreign manufacturers, importers, distributors, brokers, retailers, restaurateurs, caterers and others in the specialty foods business. The organization has more than 2,900 current member companies throughout the U.S. and overseas.
The best packaging magazine in the world. Every issues feature in depth profiles of new products with contact information about their suppliers. Great resource. They also put out a Contact Packaging magazine.
Food Processing Magazine
Just as great as packaging World but with an exclusive focus on processed foods.
Industry trade group for co packers. Great resource to start your co-packing research.
Gourmet Business Directory
Find food co-packers, food packaging companies, food labeling, consultants, and anything else you need to launch or grow a food business! Our food co-packer database is the largest maintained directory of food co-packers anywhere online, and also includes the most comprehensive listing of other support companies and services specifically needed for food companies to grow their business.
Beverage World Magazine
The name says it all.
BevNET Magazine magazine provides beverage industry professionals, retailers, and distributros with the knowledge needed to navigate this complex industry. The BevNET Magazine staff has decades of combined experience reporting on and writing about beverages, so you can count on the most knowledgeable coverage of the industry-anywhere. Subscribe now and experience the best beverage magazine in the industry!
Food and Beverage Packaging Magazine
Food and Beverage Packaging delivers in-the-field coverage, analysis, trends, and technical information on packaging’s lifeblood, the food and beverages industry.
Fancy Food Show
North America’s Largest Specialty Food & Beverage Event. Discover 180,000 products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more. Connect with 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries & regions. If you are starting a specialty food company you ow it to yourself to check this one out. I’ve been there twice, once with my client and one as a guest presenter.
InterBev is America’s premier beverage trade show and convention.
More for the packaging and processing professionals. PACK EXPO International brings together more than 46,000 buyers from all over the globe and 1,800-plus leading suppliers, showcasing state-of-the art materials, machinery and methods for packaging and processing in every market.
- Integrated processing-packaging solutions, dramatically improving efficiency and flexibility
- Breakthrough technology, providing a platform for next-generation product development
- On-site demonstrations, where buyers can see machinery in action to evaluate its compatibility, adaptability and ease of operation
- Revolutionary product launches, opening new possibilities for improved safety, security, sustainability and cost savings
File Under: How to Find a Reliable Co-Packer – Finding the Best Food Co-Packer for Your Product – Private Label Companies – Co-Packers and Private Labelers – Food Product Manufacturing, and Contract Packaging for Filling and Bottling of Beverages, Baked Goods, Sauces, Bars, Supplements