The protein bar co-packer market is growing, especially as more and more CPG snack entrepreneurs start to lean on co-packers to keep up with consumer demand. According to market research, the specialty food co-packer industry is predicted to grow at a compounded rate of 15.33%, increasing its value to nearly $120 billion by 2024. As the co-packer market increases in size and the number of co-packers continue to grow, food brands will need to navigate this space to find a quality co-packer dedicated to helping grow and scale businesses.
To fill that gap, we put together a guide on how to find the right protein bar co-packer for your business.
The 101 on Protein Bar Co-Packers
Co-packers are establishments that oversee the manufacturing and packaging of products for a brand. They work with your brand to manage almost all production operations from manufacturing to packaging and labeling, and, finally, to distribution of products. This means with a co-packer by your side, your new protein bar company can grow and fulfill a larger demand without taking on extra equipment or staff.
Why do you need a protein bar co-packer? Partnering with the best co-packer who understands your brand vision and helps with large-scale production can make or break your success in the CPG space. The perfect protein bar co-packer not only offers a variety of co-packing services to bring your nutritional snack to life but also provides a full turnkey solution to commercialize them for the market. Having the right co-packer will allow you to improve scalability and open you up to advanced equipment and innovative processes all the while reducing costs and ensuring that your protein bars are compliant with the organizations that govern the food space.
Find The Right Co-Packer With 5 Simple Steps
Obtaining the right co-packer for your brand can be a tedious and painstaking process. With many options available, you need to make sure that the protein bar co-packer you choose is the perfect fit for your business. Finding a co-packer who aligns with and understands your business model from the getgo will be the key to scaling your business in the future. With this in mind, here are a few steps to take when looking for the right protein bar co-packer:
1. Insource within Your Network
Start your co-packer search by speaking with any food industry contacts that you might have. You can either connect with them in person or through social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Assuming your network will only recommend co-packers they have faith in, insourcing allows for more trust and certainty since you are going off their recommendations and endorsements. Additionally, by searching within your own network, you will be able to learn about their firsthand experience with a co-packer - whether it was positive or negative. This will become a great asset when choosing your co-packer at the end of this process.
2. Outsource through Search Engines
Once you’ve talked to your personal network, it is a good idea to broaden your co-packer search across a variety of search engines such as Google or LinkedIn’s search tool. Outsourcing is an invaluable tool when searching for a co-packer due to its quick and accurate ability to deliver what you are looking for. Consider searching for key terms such as “protein bar co-packer near me,” “protein bar co-packer in [your area],” and “best protein bar co-packer”. In addition, it is also a good idea to look at co-packer directories like the Specialty Food Co-Packers Directory to gain insight into the various specialty food co-packers available in your area.
3. Deep Dive Into Your Options
After your research, you should be able to identify your top 10 protein bar co-packer options. Deep dive into this list by doing further research. Scour their website and social media accounts and see if they have social proof, backed-up claims, and good reviews based on authentic testimonials from satisfied clients. You don’t want to end up with a co-packer that falls short of your expectations. Rather, you want to partner with a co-packer that provides all the services they say they do, and has exceptional customer service. This in-depth research should provide insight into whether each potential co-packer lives up to their claims and is a good fit for your protein bar brand.
4. Hop On A Call With Each Potential Co-Packer
Once you figure out which protein bar co-packer you want to potentially partner with, reach out and schedule a call with them. Make sure you have a list of questions on hand to help direct the conversation. If you don’t know where to start, we put together a list of top 10 key questions you should ask any potential food co-packer to fully understand their capabilities and facility. By asking these questions about product offerings, minimum order quantities, certifications, and lead times, you will be able to accurately identify whether your chosen potential co-packer is the right fit for you. If the potential co-packer satisfies all your inquiries, you can rest assured that your potential co-packer is a perfect fit for what your business needs moving forward.
5. Start Working With Your New Co-Packer
After you’ve completed all the steps and are fully content with the results, your search for the right protein bar co-packer will draw to an end. Based on your thorough research, partner with the co-packer you like best and start working with them to develop your protein bar recipe and manufacture your products. If you’ve already developed your recipe, your co-packer should have a process in place to bring this recipe over. Remember: a good protein bar co-packer will become your business’ external Chief Operations Officer so make sure to stay involved and evaluate whether they are meeting your expectations on a regular basis.
As the food industry continues to grow, it is a good time to expand and scale your protein bar brand by finding the right co-packer for you. Once you start your search, don’t forget to keep in mind all the steps outlined above. This will help you find the perfect co-packer for your business. Remember, times are changing and food brands and entrepreneurs who want to be ahead of the fray must consider working with a protein bar co-packer in order to capture more market share.