Update: The Food and Beverage Ontario’s Co-Packer program is now closed. Please refer to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’ Co-packers page for co-packer resources.
Early-stage food and beverage companies typically lack the resources needed to purchase production space. If this is the case for your Ontario-based startup or SME, consider using a co-packer to support product development and packaging activities.
Using food and beverage contract packagers (co-packers) helps bring products to market quickly and cost-efficiently as compared to other types of production expansion projects. By contracting out production and packaging, or the packaging of bulk product into consumer-friendly formats, food and beverage businesses can confidently expand sales and be able to develop new products at a greater pace.
Fortunately for food and beverage producers in Ontario, Food and Beverage Ontario’s Co-Packer Portal helps find local co-packers that can support production needs. By answering six questions related to the product, packaging, and number of units required, companies can discover co-packers that enable their next level of growth.
What are Co-Packers and How do they Support Food and Beverage Processors?
Food and beverage contract packers (co-packers) produce products for other companies to sell. Generally, co-packers work with startups and SMEs in the food and beverage industry because these early-stage businesses do not have the production capabilities of well-established food and beverage producers.
Some benefits associated with using food packaging companies include:
- Increased production quantity;
- Improved quality control and product testing;
- Reduction of production-related expenses, including labour, equipment and materials;
- Reduced need to research domestic/international product regulations;
- Ability to run experimental batches;
- Improved production flexibility; and
- Access to new raw material suppliers.
Find Contract Packaging Companies: FBO Co-Packer Portal
Until recently, food and beverage businesses had to allocate time and resources to researching qualified co-packers in their area. Fortunately, Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO) provides a co-packer portal which helps Ontario-based startups and SMEs quickly find support for their product/production needs.
The Ontario Co-Packer Portal is an easy-to use search tool which allows business leaders to input details of their product, packaging requirements, and number of units required. Upon submitting these details, the portal shows co-packers in the area who can provide production support.
FBO’s database not only identifies company names, but also provides details such as contacts to email/phone with inquiries, and links to the company’s website. It’s a useful resource for any small or medium-sized food and beverage producer in the process of scaling-up.
Canadian Government Funding to Support Food and Beverage Businesses
Ontario food and beverage companies may also leverage Canadian government funding to support some types of production expansion projects. Although funding for working with co-packers is quite limited, expansion projects where large capital investments are made can be incentivized through government grants and loans.
To learn more about types of expansion projects suitable for government funding support, please download the Top Tips: Expanding Production in Canada slide deck.