Why Beverage Co-Packers Don’t Answer Your Calls

You’ve developed your great product and are ready to scale. 

People love your product and you see your dreams starting to come true….  

You start calling up manufactures to produce the product and…


So you go through a list of 20 off a website and only 1 gets back to you.

It’s a week later and they won’t even produce your product.

It’s incredibly frustrating.

So what’s the cause of this?

Why wouldn’t co-packers who you’re going to hand over a small fortune for your order jump for joy when you call?

Here’s the truth:

Manufacturers are inundated with calls and emails.  Some receive over 200 inquires a month.

They are extremely busy.  And due to demand right how they are what we like to say “the pretty girl at the prom.”

Here’s another insider secret:

Co-packers know few products are ready for mass production.

That’s why you get the cold shoulder.

The requirements for mass production are many times unclear and take some expertise to get done.

Co-packers typically don’t have the time to walk brands through the process.

This leaves many excited brands pounding their fists trying to get the product produced.

3 Ways To Help You Find a Co-Packer Fast

So, what are brands to do in this situation?

Good news is, there is a way to get to the front of the line and get co-packers to answer your emails.

But, you have to get your ducks in a row.

Here are the 3 things that will simplify the process so you can get to the front of the line:

1.  Prepare your product for mass production.
2.  Decide the volume you want to start with.
3. Use a 3rd party to place you with a co-packer that can grow with you.

We’ll break down each step along the way:

1.  Prepare your product for mass production (R&D)

The amount of work and certification required for mass production can be daunting.

Beyond having a great product, you need other things:

A formulation that can be produced at scale (that tastes good and within costs)
Ingredient validation tests
Shelf life studies
Nutritional panels
Standard operating procedures
A test run

These costs can surprise entrepreneurs who don’t have experience in the industry.

This work needs to be done by a 3rd party.

To have this done turnkey typically costs $5,000 – $10,000 per SKU with specialized companies and upwards of $50,000 for larger corporations.

Ultimately, this can make or break your product.

The most important part is getting the flavor profile RIGHT with ingredients that can be easily sourced and produced.

This is especially important if your brand grows fast.

When you have high demand and your manufacturer is unable to fill orders, you need to be able to use other co-packing facilities around the country.

This is important as well if shipping prices rise.

If you have this done BEFORE you talk with co-packers, they are much more likely to take you seriously.

Now you have step 1 down, it’s time to move onto the important phase of:

2.  Decide the volumes you want to start with

This is KEY in finding the right co-packer.

Some co-packers require runs of 50,000+ units to even get in the door.

Others may allow minimum orders of 1000 per SKU.

Obviously, the price per unit will go down at large runs, but you need to know your budget.

A couple great questions we like to ask people:

1.  Are you testing out the concept or are you sure of market demand?
2.  What’s your risk tolerance?

3.  How much inventory can you store? (especially important if product has to be refrigerated).

4.  Are you OK switching co-packers if your product scales fast?

These will give you a good idea of where to start.

With co-packers being busy, they only want to take on the right clients as well.

Being upfront with them helps create a great long-term partnership.

Once you’ve decided on the volume, here is an optional (but highly recommended) step:

3.  Use a 3rd party to place you with a co-packer that can grow with you.

Once you have your product ready for mass production and know the volumes it’s time to get placed with a co-packer.

This is where the tricky part comes in.

Because you need to find the RIGHT co-packer.  When our CEO started Pulp Kitchen Juice, he went through 7 different co-packers to find the right one.

This burned tons of time, money, and energy.

You need alignment with your brand and product to make this work.

(We include the 3rd party placement fee in our R&D product development fee because we believe it’s so important to success).

Having a good broker do the legwork for you for a nominal fee (typically $3,000 to $10,000) is worth it.

Especially if the broker has existing relationships with multiple manufacturing facilities.

For that fee of guaranteed placement, here’s what you get:

Guaranteed placement at a co-packer (no need to do the search on your own).
Help moving facilities if co-packer is unable to keep up with demand.
Someone working on your behalf to get you lower volumes if required.
Help getting your product expedited for production.

The nature of co-packing creates it into a relationship business.

The truth is, many co-packers would rather deal with a broker who knows the game and can educate the brand.

(If the brand is well established, this is a different story)

There you have it.

Want a co-packer to answer your calls?

Make sure you have steps 1 and 2 in place (and ideally step 3 if you have the budget).

Co-packers will be much more willing to talk to you.

And you can focus on creating your dream and growing your brand.

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