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What do I need from a copacker making a finished drink for us?

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shanellc@vgandsons.com

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Posted 04 March 2022 - 12:37 AM

Hello,

 

wondering if someone can help me out or direct me to where I can find the information on what I would need from a Copacker that is making a finished drink for us? 

 

 

Thank you



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Posted 04 March 2022 - 07:58 AM

What's the context of your query?
There are quite a wide range of service types provided by contract packers - some simply fill ingredient you provide into cans/bottles using labels provided by you, others provide full product development / raw material supply chain management / finished product analysis /storage / distribution / marketing services, and there is a variable scale in between.

If it's simply food safety elements you're looking at, then I'd start with understanding what level of certification they hold - e.g. if they're certified to one of the GFSI-benchmarked standards (BRC, IFS, SQF, FSSC22000 etc) then that along with their allergen status may be sufficient for you. It may also depend on your product type, pack type (e.g. for cans you may want to look at compatibility testing), and your customer base.

You may also want to look at hiring an auditor to help you assess them, but this may depend on their level of certification etc.

 

If your query is more general I'd very strongly recommend sitting down with them to get a full understanding of the contract/service they provide, as I've seen more issues than I can count caused by packer / brand owner assuming the other is responsible for something when they're not ;)



shanellc@vgandsons.com

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Posted 04 March 2022 - 06:58 PM

What's the context of your query?
There are quite a wide range of service types provided by contract packers - some simply fill ingredient you provide into cans/bottles using labels provided by you, others provide full product development / raw material supply chain management / finished product analysis /storage / distribution / marketing services, and there is a variable scale in between.

If it's simply food safety elements you're looking at, then I'd start with understanding what level of certification they hold - e.g. if they're certified to one of the GFSI-benchmarked standards (BRC, IFS, SQF, FSSC22000 etc) then that along with their allergen status may be sufficient for you. It may also depend on your product type, pack type (e.g. for cans you may want to look at compatibility testing), and your customer base.

You may also want to look at hiring an auditor to help you assess them, but this may depend on their level of certification etc.

 

If your query is more general I'd very strongly recommend sitting down with them to get a full understanding of the contract/service they provide, as I've seen more issues than I can count caused by packer / brand owner assuming the other is responsible for something when they're not ;)

 

 

 

Thank you for your response.  They will be receiving our Raw Juice Ingredient and turning it into a finished drink(product development), packaging into bottles and HPP, labeling with our label and then storing and shipping out. We will be handling the marketing end of things. They are BRC Certified.   I just want to make sure i ask for all the correct things and that our company is cleared and have done what we are suppose to do. 



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Posted 04 March 2022 - 07:29 PM

I'm not sure where you are based, but in a general sense BRC would theoretically be expected to cover the food safety elements.
If you don't have any in-house QA/technical expertise then I really would look at hiring a consultant even if it's just for a day (or half a day / ad-hoc) to make sure everything is set up in to work in the way you need it to.
BRC covers the basics of food safety systems, but it doesn't cover who is responsible for product testing, positive release (if required), whether the site allergen status is compatible with your labels (e.g. if a "may contains" statement might be required), whether the process you're contracting is right for your product, who is responsible for checking raw materials, organoleptic requirements (e.g. benchmarking against a control sample). There are potentially a variety of things that it's really easy to overlook until there is an issue, at which point a bad contract packer will simply be problematic for you because they don't care, and a good contract packer also be problematic because they're attentive to exactly what has been agreed and where responsibilities sit contractually, so they understandably want to protect their position.

 

I definitely think it's much better to get things started from a position you know you can be confident in. I've worked for contract drinks packers, and I've supplied ingredients to many contract drinks packers, and I've done a bit of consultancy for clients who use contract drinks packers, and I'm entirely convinced that the modest extra expense at the outset is more than worthwhile unless you have sufficient in-house expertise.



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