Part 4: How To Write A GREAT Co-Packer Query Letter
In Part 3, we discussed whether or not you should self-produce or co-pack your product. If this is your first product launch, then it is highly encouraged that you consider co-packing. Now let’s take a look at how to write a great co-packer query letter.
The problem with having so many food startups out there is that everyone and their mother wants to make a food product! The trick to getting a co-packer to respond to you is to sound like you know what you’re talking about out of the gate.
This template should be a great place for you to start, but feel free to to alter it to fit your specific product goals and history. You can learn more about the freight terms used below by following this link.
We are a small food startup based in Anytown, USA. We launched our product in 20XX, and have been producing and selling locally, with our products now being carried in X doors. We are ready to scale and are curious to see if you are taking on co-packing runs, with an initial product run of X SKUs.
Ours is a [vegan/gluten-free/low-fat/etc.] product, made with a banana base, and flavored with fruits, nuts, and seeds. Can you help us transition to a factory formula? And if so, then here are some additional questions:
- What is your minimum order quantity per SKU?
- What is your lead time on production?
- Can you use ingredients A,B,C, and/or avoid ingredients X,Y,Z?
- Are you able to provide us with [Organic/Certified Humane/Non-GMO/etc.] certification?
- Can you provide a Certificate of Analysis for [listeria/salmonella/E. coli/etc.]?
- What brand or type of packaging is your production line set up for?
- For bulk ingredient purchases, are you able to store our ingredients on-site for a production run, and if so, for how long?
- Are you able to arrange LTL freight from your plant to zip code XXXXX, and if so, do you have an estimate for FOB freighting? If not, we can arrange freight ourselves.
Please let me know if you have any questions for me, and I’d love to set up a time to meet with your production team to provide samples and figure out next steps.
John Doe, CEO
My Great Food Startup
That’s it! If you get a response back saying that they are unable to help, be sure to follow-up thanking them for their time, and ask them if they might be able to recommend a co-packer who can help you. This will both make sure that your email goes into a file in the event they do start taking on outside product runs, as well as send the message that you are serious about developing your product, and that your product will now likely wind up being made at their competitors’ facility.
Up next is Part 5: Developing Your Packaging.