You may see the term co-packer or co-manufacturer used as you research different options for increasing production. This is when a brand owner enters into an agreement with an existing food manufacturer (co-packer) to make product on their behalf.
Working with a co-packer gives the brand owner access to the higher production capacity, processing knowledge, ingredient and packaging supply, distribution and warehousing connections of an established food manufacturer. Another motivation for moving to a co-packer can be to access the food safety regulatory compliance or certifications (Organic, gluten free, etc.) that an established manufacturer may have in place.
There are potential downsides to consider when changing production to a co-packer. Brand owners may need to change recipe, ingredients, weight, package or quality to fit a co-packers capabilities. Required minimum orders may be challenging to meet for short shelf life products, and the brand owner relies on the co-packers production schedule to fill orders.
It can be a challenge for early-stage companies to find the right co-packer partner. Watch for upcoming posts with tips and resources to help with the co-packer search.
For more info, this Alberta Agriculture site has some helpful resources related to co-packing: here
By Marlis Bens, Venturepark Labs Program Manager