Natural Products Insider

MAR-APR 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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52 INSIDER March/April 2018 Co-packing (also known as contract packaging) involves outsourcing a seller's or manufacturer's product packaging, usually under contract, to a company that packages products for its clients. This primary or secondary packaging service is used quite often for consumer products in food and beverage, dietary supplements and pharmaceutical markets. Some services offered by co-packers are: blending of dry powder, blister packaging, bottling, cartoning, clamshell packaging, labeling, liquid fi lling, packing, pouching, powder fi lling, stick packing, sacheting, custom packing, etc. There can be a variety of reasons for fi nished product brands to use contract packaging. Cost savings and specialization are typically the primary reasons. These and other advantages include: Companies save on their cost of capital because they do not have to fi nance a facility and equipment needed for production. A contract packager may have specialized equipment, skill and expertise needed for a packaging operation. Brands can save on labor costs such as wages, training and benefi ts. Contract packagers often can be more fl exible than fi nished product brands. Contract Manufacturing: Co-Packing Co-Packing's Move From Mass Production to Customization by Robin C. Koon Scalability is available if additional capacity is needed, or for one-time or surge (seasonal) projects. A test market, promotion or product modifi cation may need a limited packaging run to produce products for evaluation. Primary packages can be sent to a secondary contract packager for assembling multi-packs or a point-of-sale (POS) display. Some large retailers or warehouse clubs demand special package sizes or specifi c printing. Bulk products can be sent to a contract packager to make private-label products and packages. The brand's focus can remain on sales and marketing. Brands should consider the following questions and identify answers about each potential co-packer to determine the best choice for their needs: Does it have knowledge and experienced personnel? What certifi cations does it hold (e.g., cGMP [current good manufacturing practice], etc.)? Does it have services that meet the brand's needs? Can it handle any surges or increased capacity? Can it accommodate lead times on necessary timelines? Is it transparent? Packaging once only served to protect the product it enclosed. But today, it serves as a signifi cant marketing/sales tool to gain the attention of consumers. Packaging also makes an important contribution to a brand's recognition. Packaging trends continually change; currently, some of the trends include: Environmental: Green, sustainability and waste reduction are important to consumers. Flexibility: Examples of popular, fl exible packaging options include one-piece stand-up pouches, fl at-bottom bags, large format bags, sachets, overwraps and closures/fi tments. Innovative design and form: Great design and shapes always help sell a product. Simplicity: In both packaging and labeling, the idea is to have a clear, simple message of purpose, easily identifying the product and its use. Distribution: Product delivery is moving away from mass production. An example of this is e-commerce (e.g., Amazon). Packaging technology is continually evolving to support trends. It seems consumers want more product differentiation and customization. This signals that product variability will continue to increase, which is the opposite of mass production. Robin Koon is executive vice president at Best Formulations (, and has more than 35 years of pharmaceutical experience in clinical pharmacy, as a retail drug chain executive, in managed care and in manufacturing.

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