Category Archive: Co-Packers

Contract Packaging 101

Contract Packaging 101

What Is Contract Packaging?

Developing your own packaging system involves much more than investing in the right packaging equipment and materials to get the job done. It also involves warehousing and hiring an additional workforce to run your packaging operation alongside your core business. To many companies, setting up their own packaging line is simply not feasible in terms of both the cost and labor required.

This is where contract packaging comes in. Also called co-packing, contract packaging is when a business hires the services of a packaging company to oversee its packaging, assembly, kitting, warehousing, and other supply chain needs. The contract packager can be a specialist in a certain type of packaging—like shrink wrapping, corrugated cardboard, or bottling—or offer additional services like printing, packaging design, and testing.

Here we’ll discuss how food contract packaging in particular works, as well as the benefits of outsourcing your packaging needs.

How Does Food Contract Packaging Work?

Because of the strict industry standards of food processing and packaging, a contract packaging partner in this field must have the equipment, expertise, and materials necessary to protect the integrity of your food products while meeting these standards. Most food co-packing processes involve these three main steps.

Step 1: Discuss Goals

After identifying your co-packing needs, the first step is to reach out and discuss your product and goals with the co-packer. Some companies may require you to complete a questionnaire to learn more about your product and understand your expectations. You will sign a non-disclosure agreement before proceeding to the next phase.

Then you will send your samples and recipes to the co-packing company, which will then analyze your products to ensure they are compatible with its production equipment. If they are, the co-packer will take you through the various packaging options, including materials and quantities. A good contract packaging provider will know how to make the most efficient use of packaging materials while maximizing the shelf life of your product.

Step 2: Approve the Test Batch

Before going into mass production, the co-packer will send a test batch for you to evaluate. You will also get product information that will include:

  • An allergen statement
  • A net weight declaration
  • An ingredients list
  • A nutritional facts panel

Once you approve the final details and design of the packaging, the co-packer commences printing the packaging materials.

Step 3: Production

The company will begin production using your finalized recipe, packaging design, and materials. They usually have production minimums that range from hundreds to thousands of units, so consumer demand for your product must be high enough to save you money per unit.

Why should you hire a contract food packing provider? There are many advantages of outsourcing your packaging needs. For example, a co-packer will offer the machinery, labor, and thought leadership required to deliver your products to the market in style. This allows you to focus all your energy on your core business—manufacturing your product. Other benefits of hiring a co-packer include high-quality packaging, cost reduction, and efficient management of your packaging line.

Co-Packing vs. Contract Packaging Services

Co-packing is the same as contract packing—they involve outsourcing the primary and secondary packaging of finished goods to a third party. While co-packing is common in all industries, it is most prevalent in the health and beauty, food and beverage, and medical and pharmaceutical fields.

Choosing the Right Contract Packing or Co-Packing Partner

There are a few things you should take into account when looking for the right co-packer for your food products, such as:

  • ISO certifications
  • Fast lead times
  • Transparency
  • Quality control

Finding the right co-packer can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to the market or want to venture into a new field. Econo-Pak is a third-generation family-owned contract packaging company dedicated to serving the unique needs of the food processing, pharmaceutical, and retail industries.

Download our eBook, “Contract Food Packaging: Supplier Expectations Manual,” for more information. You can also request a quote to get started on your food co-packing solution.

Key Factors To Consider When Selecting Packaging Materials

Material Selection for Product Packaging

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Product packaging is an essential step in the product life cycle. It not only protects the product from external damage but also serves as an essential marketing tool. Packaging can help a product stand out from the competition. It can also provide information about a product’s features and benefits. In this article, we’ll explore the key properties to look for when selecting suitable material for packaging your products.

How Do You Properly Select Packaging Materials?

There are many factors to consider when determining the best packaging material for your product. Here are five typical considerations in the selection of proper product packaging materials:

Cost: The cost of the packaging material is an important factor to consider when selecting the best product packaging material. Some materials used for packaging can be relatively costly when trying to meet specific industries’ aesthetic standards or durability needs. It’s important to ensure you’re getting good value for your money.

Durability: It’s a good idea to understand the product you intend to buy before placing an order. If you skip this step, you may end up with subpar packaging supplies that aren’t optimal for your needs. Select packaging materials that can withstand the rigors of the shipping process and protect your product during transit.

Eco-Friendliness: Many businesses are switching to eco-friendly packaging materials to reduce their environmental footprint. Consider recyclable and sustainable materials, to help your business maintain a positive environmental record.

Customization: Aim for packaging materials that you can customize to meet your specific needs. Select packaging materials that you can brand with your company’s logo and colors. This will help your product stand out from the competition.

Security: The packaging material needs to be strong enough to protect your product from damage, tampering, or theft. Choose a material that can provide a secure seal and protect your product from any potential security issues.

Food Packaging Material Selection Considerations

Selecting packaging for food products comes with additional requirements and standards. Here are the key considerations when selecting packaging materials for food products.

Functionality and Safety

The primary considerations when selecting packaging materials for food products are functionality and safety. The packaging materials should be able to protect the food from contamination, spoilage, and other external factors. It should also be able to withstand harsh shipping and storage conditions while maintaining the product’s freshness and flavor.

Food Packaging Design

The design is also vital when choosing packaging materials for food products. The packaging materials should effectively convey the brand message and aesthetic. Chose a design that will capture the attention of potential customers and stand out on store shelves.

Brand Marketing

Your packaging material should be able to communicate the brand’s message and values to its target audience effectively.

E-Commerce Packaging

When selecting packaging materials for food products, it is also essential to consider the needs of e-commerce customers.

You may need to ship products for very long distances in this scenario. In these cases, consider an easy-to-store and easy-to-ship packaging material to lower the shipping costs. Your material should also be easy to open and recycle for the recipient.

Choosing A Suitable Food Packaging ManufacturerOverwrapping Materials

Selecting a food packaging manufacturer requires careful research and due diligence. There are several factors to consider, including material choices, fast lead times, ISO certifications, quality, transparency, and control. It is also important to choose a supplier with a good customer service record and proven reliable experience.

EconoPak is here to supply you with the high-quality food packaging solutions you require. With our expertise, commitment to excellence, and customer service, you can rest assured that you will be well taken care of. Request a quote today to learn more about the right materials for your product and how we can help. Also, be sure to check out our full ebook on material selection for more information.

The Benefits of Outsourcing a Co-Packer for Your Business

Growing your brand and ensuring your products get to your customers requires a reliable and timely production process. Contracting a co-packer can streamline the process for you. Co-packing companies are an integral part of the packing process. They offer packaging services for various products in retail, commercial, and trade industries.

The most common products co-packers work with include food and beverage, vitamins, cosmetics, clothing, shoes, and others. Depending on the client’s needs, some co-packers handle the cooking, processing, and mixing of ingredients before packaging in various containers.  

It’s challenging to find a trustworthy and reliable co-packer that you can depend on for the long term. Here are a few tips to help you find a great co-packing company, information on why you should contract with one, and how to ensure the co-packing company you choose is right for your products.

Co-Packers: Internal vs. External

If you’re unsure whether you want to keep your product packaging in-house or hire a co-packer, consider the complexities of packaging and labeling products. 

Contracting with a co-packing company can solve the following problems: 

  • Selling products faster than you can package them
  • Signs of anxiety and stress in your production staff
  • Business growth and marketing falling short because of packaging demands
  • Inability to produce new products because of time spent on packaging 

By developing a relationship with a great co-packing company, it gives you more time to build your business by creating additional products and implementing new marketing strategies.

Also, a co-packing company has all the equipment needed for your packaging needs. This is a cost-effective solution because it doesn’t require you to hire additional employees or invest in equipment.

Tips for Finding the Right Co-Packer  

Before selecting a co-packer, assess the benefits of outsourcing your packaging with a company that has the equipment and qualified staff needed for all aspects of the packaging process. 

Check several co-packing companies to see if they offer a fixed cost and hold the required certifications and FDA approval, similar to Econo-Pak’s SQF level 3 certification. Some other key considerations include: 


If you’re tempted to hire a co-packing company that’s located in another state or country, think about the disadvantages that distance has. Distance involves additional costs, increased delivery times, and communication difficulties when problems occur.

A co-packer located close to your location can simplify the process significantly. However, if you do select one that is in a different location, ensure that they have the ability to ship nationally.

Safety & Cleanliness

Keeping the co-packing facility clean and free from packing debris makes the packaging process safe and reduces errors. Choose a co-packing company that implements stringent safety and hygiene protocols.

Quality assurance certifications are indications of co-packing company standards. Econo-Pak takes quality and safety seriously, with certifications at the state and global levels:

  • Safe Quality Food Certified (SQF Level 3)
  • Organic Certified by Baystate Organic Certifiers
  • Costco Safety and Quality Audit Certified
  • Food and Drug Administration Certified (FDA Compliant)
  • Kosher OU-D Certified
  • Gluten-Free Certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America


Ensure that the co-packer you choose has taken the necessary steps to properly certify their facility, processes, and procedures. Proper certifications will help protect the integrity of your product and ensure high-quality packaging that supports your brand reputation. Some of the most important certifications include:

  • FDA certification
  • Kosher Check
  • USDA Organic certification
  • Fair Trade


If possible, examine the equipment to make sure the company uses modern packaging technology for enhanced control of the entire co-packing process. 


Experienced co-packing companies offer fast product turnaround times. By using the right equipment, they ensure high-quality packaging with shorter lead times.

Once you’ve finished researching, narrow down your list. You might not need all the services offered by larger companies. Ask if the company is flexible and offers only the services you need.

Since your customers trust your brand, it’s important that the co-packer meets your sourcing requirements. Talk to them about their suppliers, and ask if adjustments can be made to meet your needs. 

Contract Packaging 101: Econo-Pak Has the Resources to Help You

Now that you understand how to find a co-packer, start your research. It might seem like a huge undertaking, but once you find a reliable company, you’ll wonder how you ever ran your business without one.

Partnering with Econo-Pak provides you with quick turnaround times, affordable pricing, and a commitment to quality packaging. Econo-Pak offers flexible services to large and small businesses.

Learn more about co-packaging with Econo-Pak’s ”Contract Packaging 101” eBook. Request a quote today or contact Greg Wright directly at