Pour decisions: Beverage brands, co-packers offer best practices for the tradePour decisions: Beverage brands, co-packers offer best practices for the trade
Experts weigh in on the importance of finding the right co-packer. We spoke with three beverage co-packers and two CPG brands, which shared their top tips.
August 31, 2023
At a Glance
- Product developers can stand out by connecting with the right co-packing partners. Sometimes, experimentation is key.
- Crafted Brand Co., Odyssey Elixir, Big Easy Blends, Pactiv Evergreen and Steeped Coffee offer advice on co-men and packaging.
- Companies that make more impactful commitments involving sustainability are getting noticed.
Anyone who regularly watches “Shark Tank” knows that the judges immediately groan when they see a beverage product being wheeled out. It’s entertaining for the audience, but for a beverage founder, not so much.
The judges are not in the minority. With the nonalcoholic beverage market expected to grow to $2 billion by 2028, competition is stiff with the likes of carbonated beverages, juices, water, RTD tea and coffee and more.
Nevertheless, beverage developers can still stand apart, with experts saying the right co-packer can make the difference in a product’s success. Here, we consulted with five industry experts—three unique beverage co-packers, plus two CPG brands—for top insider tips.
Starting from scratch
Finding a co-packer for Felicia Vieira’s business wasn’t too difficult because she became a member of the Specialty Food Association and Women in Business organizations. “Those connections really helped,” said Vieira, who celebrated Crafted Brand Co.’s tenth anniversary this year. “They have affiliations with co-packers that advertise with them, so we were able to get into their networks.”
In addition to connecting with an industry organization, Vieira recommended that newbies use materials already in the manufacturers’ portfolios. “The more customization you do, the more expensive your packaging will be,” she cautioned. “Many people tend to have the same packaging because it’s cheaper for the co-packer to buy the materials in bulk.”
From Scott Frohman’s experience, one must sometimes experiment with a few co-packers before the product is perfected. The founder behind mushroom-infused beverage line Odyssey Elixir said he exercised patience when he hired a second co-packer, who was able to provide an ideal formulation and packaging for his brand.
“You have to start someplace,” Frohman advised. “You’re going to have to work with that co-packer as close as you can to get your [specifications] dialed in. That co-packer, however, might not have the sophistication as you continue to [evolve], so you’re just going to have to work as best as you can, show up when they do the runs, taste [the product] for yourself, and if it’s not right, then call it out.”
To read this article in its entirety, check out the Better beverages for everybody digital magazine.
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