Co-Pack Your Hot Sauce…Here’s Why!


Co-packing is becoming a standard business practice for hot sauce companies to bottle their sauce. Hiring a co-packer gets you out of the kitchen and making sales. Marketing your product once it is packaged is one of the key components for making sales. Hiring a company to make, package and distribute your product allows for the focus on sales and marketing.

The initial cost of co-packing or contract packaging for small-batch manufacturing is between $1,500 and $2,000 for the startup. There will be additional costs for producing and labeling the sauce once the recipe has been completed and can reach up to $5,000 per recipe. Most companies will give you complete control of the recipe and help you create your unique recipe using their facilities. There will usually be a minimum production quantity and upfront costs or contractual obligations to create the recipe and any shipping distributing and marketing is the responsibility of the client.

What is co-packing?

Co-packing is hiring another company to use your recipe to make, bottle, and package hot sauce for your distribution and sales. These companies will have a registered manufacturing and packaging facility and probably sell their brand of hot sauce as well as for other companies.

“Do what you do best…hire people to do the rest”

Don Button, Hell Fire Detroit

Many successful hot companies have started making hot sauces in their own kitchen but have turned to co-packing facilities to mass produce and bottle the sauce. Companies such as Hell Fire Detroit and Bumblefoot have stayed out of the manufacturing side of things and have worked with co-packers for their hot sauces.

What to look for in a co-packer

Look for a company that has a vested interest in your sauce as much as you do. Personal relationships can be very valuable. Some co-packers will help create unique recipes to call your own and place emphasis on your needs. Not all co-packers will be able to bottle a hot sauce. Most manufacturers are set some for specific operations. Even co-packers who manufacture sauce may have strict guidelines for producing your specialized sauce.

Low startup costs

When you are starting up in the hot sauce business money can be a determining factor. The margin for a bottled hot sauce can be very low after you subtract co-packing costs so the lower those costs are…the more profit you make.

Larger companies may be able to produce hot sauce at a lower cost per bottle but their initial start-up costs may be higher. Co-packing is big business and larger companies may not be able to downsize their operations for your needs. Know how much sauce you want to produce before signing on with a co-packer.

Recipe control

The idea behind hiring a company to produce and bottle your hot sauce is that it is YOUR hot sauce. Companies will have their sauces available for purchase and resale with your label on. This is called private label and you usually do not have any control over the recipe.

A private label hot sauce company will provide and control the ingredients in a hot sauce but a co-packer will give you full control of the recipe. Many companies will offer guidance in creating recipes but this will be an additional cost.

Typically a hot sauce recipe is created in small experimental batches in private kitchens. Hiring a co-packer will mean that the recipes will be produced on a mass scale and this could slightly alter the flavor and appearance. Make sure the company you work with provides the opportunity to sample your hot sauce before final production.

Label design

In some states, the co-packer cannot ship hot sauce from their facility without a label on the bottle. They will often provide design services or allow you to provide your label design. Any design services offered will usually be additional costs.

Location

Typically the co-packing facility does not provide shipping, that would be the responsibility of the client. Therefore the closer your business or distribution center is to the co-packer, the lower the costs. Shipping costs can be a large added expense to hot sauce sales.

Contract

Most companies that create recipes with you will require a vested amount of time so there will most likely be a contract to sign. There is nothing wrong with signing a contract but make sure you understand it completely and it is the terms you agreed to.

Benefits

A co-packer will handle all of the ingredient inventory, mixing, bottling, and packaging of a hot sauce. This can amount to a lot of work. They specialize in producing and packaging hot sauces so larger companies can offer lower costs per bottle. Their high-volume production lines can greatly reduce the cost to produce individual bottles and this can lead to higher profit margins.

“Assembling the right team – manufacturer, distributor, and international re-sellers was the most successful move”

Ron Thal, Bumblefoot

How much does it cost?

The cost for hiring a co-packer for your hot sauce business will depend on the company, the intricacies of producing the recipe, and the order amount. There will most likely be a minimum purchase but costs will be decreased with larger orders.

Some smaller co-packing companies have an initial start-up cost as low as $1,800. Peppernutz.com has an established understanding of the recipe development process and provides private-label sauces as well as spices and rubs. Their start-up costs are some of the lowest in the industry but they provide top-quality service and products. Best Brand Bottlers offers a one time fee including consultation for $1,500. Additional cost for packaging will incur as the sauce is made and bottled.

According to Pemberton Gourmet Foods the average cost of hot sauce through a co-packer is between $1.95 and $2.50 a bottle for a simple hot peppers and vinegar hot sauce. The final cost depends on what additional ingredients are included, what type of process is used, and the size of the bottle so these average costs will go up with gourmet hot sauces.

Make it happen

The best way to determine if a co-packer will fit your needs is to contact them personally with a phone call. It is difficult to determine processing, contracts, and minimum order from a website. Email contact is also useful information to make initial contact but make sure you have a list of questions or concerns before you reach out to someone.

“None of us had any idea what we were doing when we started, but we made it happen and that is the best thing anyone can do”

Elijah X, Elijah’s Xtreme

Checklist (in no particular order)

Have a checklist or list of questions and concerns ready when you speak with a co packer. They may have many of the same questions to ask you before an initial visit. A draft email can be sent out to multiple recipients but lacks a personal touch and many may not respond. Create a list of question or concerns before you reach out to a company…or use the checklist below. Download the FREE Hot Sauce Co-Packing Checklist Here!

  • Do you bottle hot sauce? – Many companies may co-pack sauces but not hot sauce or they have grown their business to include the demand for new sauces being created.
  • Know the recipe ingredients – If you are using your Grandma’s hand-me-down recipe, make sure you have the ingredients and amounts listed somewhere…in detail.
  • Have a detailed description of the process – Is the recipe fermented, roasted or does it involve other complex processing? This is just as important as the ingredients.
  • What is the largest batch produced? – The co-packer may have to manipulate the recipe slightly when it gets mass produced. What size batch do you typically produce?
  • Initial startup costs – Every customer is different but discussing the costs upfront could be a deciding factor in your decision. The should be able to provide estimate figures.
  • Provide sample – You will need to provide samples to the co-packer and they may need to be shipped if you are not within travel distance.
  • Contract signing – No contract means no commitment. Larger companies may have a minimal order amount and need a signed contract before further consultation.
  • Label design – If you already have a label design most co-packers will work with that. There will be additional costs for the label application.
  • Can I provide my own label? – This will depend on the company because the physical label may not work with their machinery and equipment.
  • Recipe control – This is what co-packing is. If you don’t have control or recipe creation and development its called Private Label. Make sure you (they) know the difference.
  • Testing pH – Most facilities are capable of pH testing. Find out if it is part of the initial consultation and recipe development or is an additional cost.
  • Nutritional testing – Some states and providences may require this before the bottles leave the facility. This should be included in the costs but ask.
  • What is the minimum order? – This will most likely be provided without asking and is very common. A facility won’t go out of their way for a couple bottles but maybe a couple cases.
  • Is sampling provided? – It is standard operation to test your sauce throughout production but inquire how many times before you sign off.
  • Can I provide my own ingredients? – Grow your own product for your own hot sauce? It all depends on the co-packing if they want to accept outside product or not.

Hot sauce co packers listed by state

Kyleigh Farms
334-684-1404
ChancellorAL
Southern Classic Food Group
334-735-3400
BrundidgeAL
House of Webster Inc.
479-636-4640
RogersAR
Arizona Pepper Products
800-359-3912
MesaAZ
Amelio C. Enterprises
602-956-4833
PhoenixAZ
Arizona Spice Co.
480-632-2168
MesaAZ
Cinnabar Specialty Foods
928-778-3687
PrescottAZ
Howard’s Foods Co-packing
604-922-3111
BurnabyBC
Golden West Specialty Foods
800-584-4481
BrisbaneCA
Blossom Valley Foods
408-848-5520
GilroyCA
CMS Fine Foods
707-473-9651
HealdsburgCA
California Natural Products
209-390-0321
LathropCA
Foodies Urban Kitchen
310-433-6602
Los AngelesCA
GMB Specialty Foods
800-809-8298
San Juan CapistranoCA
Heiden’s Foods
888-443-4336
FullertonCA
Kitchen Town
650-458-8080
San MateoCA
Mad Will’s Food Co.
888-275-9455
AuburnCA
Marisa Foods
562-437-7775
Long BeachCA
Overhill Farms
800-859-6406
VernonCA
Pacific Choice
559-237-5583
FresnoCA
Premier Foods LLC
562-944-9044
Santa Fe SpringsCA
The Olive Oil Factory LLC
707-426-3400
FairfieldCA
United Foods International
510-264-5850
HaywardCA
Van Law Food Products
714-870-9091
FullertonCA
Village Green Foods
510-487-8877
IrvineCA
W.N. Foods
510-487-8877
HaywardCA
Redlaw Co-Packers
GoldenCO
Fresca Foods
303-996-8881
LouisvilleCO
(The) Honest Stand
918-289-8449
LouisvilleCO
Landmark Foods
303-948-5070
LittletonCO
Leroux Creek
970-872-2256
HotchkissCO
Silver State Foods
800-423-3351
DenverCO
Vision Foods
719-459-3308
Colorado SpringsCO
Kamuk
506-2574-6203
CartagoCR
Premier Packaging Partners
203-437-8148
WaterburyCT
Gracie’s Kitchen
203-773-0795
New HavenCT
Palmieri Foods
800-845-5447
New HavenCT
Ultimate Foods
203-469-4014
New HavenCT
Sauceology Group
727-389-3774
ClearwaterFL
Stagecoach Sauces
386-328-6330
PalatkaFL
Ashlynn’s Gourmet
727-687-3267
Tarpon SpringsFL
Best Brand Bottlers
941-755-1941
SarasotaFL
Captain Foods
800-749-5047
EdgewaterFL
Creative Co-Packing
386-337-7175
DelandFL
Half Moon Bay Trading
888-44SAUCE
Atlantic BayFL
Hot Wachulas
863-602-0857
BartowFL
Sauce Crafters
888-477-2823
Riviera BeachFL
Al-Rite
305-652-2540
MiamiFL
Beneficial Blends
800-230-5952
TampaFL
Captain Foods
800-749-5047
EdgewaterFL
Creative Co-Packing
386-337-7175
DelandFL
Daytona Flexible Packaging
Daytona BeachFL
Endorphin Farms
904-824-2006
St. AugustineFL
Freedom Packers LLC
386-626-2271
DelandFL
Hot Wachulas
863-602-0857
BartowFL
MyCopacker.com
800-728-3704
Pinellas ParkFL
Palmetto Canning
941-722-1100
PalmettoFL
Bella Cucina
678-539-8400
AtlantaGA
Country Ranch Foods
888-653-5550
MariettaGA
D&D Foods
706-322-4507
ColumbusGA
Georgia Spice Co.
800-453-9997
AtlantaGA
Heritage Food Co.
706-437-0000
HephzibahGA
Hillside Orchard Farms
866-782-4995
TigerGA
JB’s Best
866-589-6456
AthensGA
Mainline Foods LLC
404-465-1100
MariettaGA
Sunbelt Packaging Company
513-708-2319
DecaturGA
Serenity Farms
912-550-6492
HobokenGA
Wade Bottling
706-844-6876
RomerGA
First Commercial Kitchen
808-676-0880
WaipahuHI
Hawaiian Chip Co.
808-845-9868
HonoluluHI
Des Moines Sauce Company
515-444-7839
WaukeeIA
Iowa Choice Harvest
641-758-3100
MarshalltownIA
Mrs. Clark’s Foods
800-736-5674
AnkenyIA
Garden Creek Farms Kitchen
208-879-5868
ChallisID
Mullins Food Products
708-344-3224
BroadviewIL
American Kitchen Delights
708-210-3200
HarveyIL
Assemblers
708-323-5554
ChicagoIL
Baldwin Richardson Foods Inc.
815-464-9994
FrankfortIL
Bay Valley Foods
708-483-1300
Oak BrookIL
Bernard Food Ind.
847-869-5222
EvanstonIL
Italia Foods
800-747-1109
SchaumburgIL
Karlin Foods
847-441-8330
AshtonIL
Mizkan Americas
847-590-0059
​Mt. ProspectIL
Reid’s Foods
888-295-8478
GurneeIL
Sokol Custom Food
800-328-7656
CountrysideIL
Subco Foods
630-231-0003
West ChicagoIL
Tone Products
800-536-8662
Melrose ParkIL
Big B Distributors
812-425-5235
EvansvilleIN
Red Gold Inc.
866-729-7187
ElwoodIN
Spicin Foods
800-568-8468
Kansas CityKS
Blendex Co.
502-267-1003
LouisvilleKY
Custom Food Solutions
800-767-2993
LouisvilleKY
Baumer Foods Inc.
504-482-5761
MetaireLA
Cajun Chef Products
888-272-8775
MartinvilleLA
Panola Pepper
318-559-1774
Lake ProvidenceLA
Kajun Kettle Foods
800-331-9612
New OrleansLA
Peppers Unlimited
337-394-8035
New OrleansLA
Sal & Judy’s Products
800-588-1870
SlidellLA
Ashley Foods
978-579-8988
SudburyMA
Alfredo’s Italian Foods
617-479-6360
QuincyMA
Avon Food Company
781-341-3341
StoughtonMA
Blount Fine Foods
774-888-1300
Fall RiverMA
Chubby’s Sauces
413-478-2103
BernardstonMA
Flavor First Foods Inc.
571-237-6145
West BridgewaterMA
Panorama Foods
781-592-1069
LynnMA
Pearlco
888-821-1010
CantonMA
Plenus Group
800-970-3832
LowellMA
Western Mass Food Processing CenterGreenfieldMA
Mama Vida Inc.
410-521-0742
RandallstownMD
Tulkoff Food Products
410-864-0541
BaltimoreMD
Denny Mikes
207-591-5084
WestbrookME
Pemberton’s Gourmet Foods
800-255-8401
GrayME
Schlotterbeck & Foss
207-772-4666
PortlandME
Food for Thought
888-935-2748
HonorMI
Food Service Specialties
800-657-0811
Red WingMN
Karlsburger Foods
800-383-6549
MonticelloMN
Maud Borup
866-678-6283
PlymouthMN
Arcobasso Foods
314-381-8083
HazelwoodMO
Garden Complements Inc.
800-966-1091
Kansas CityMO
Ralcorp
314-877-7930
St. LouisMO
Blue Ridge Food Ventures
828-348-0130
ChandlerNC
Bobbee’s Bottling Inc.
919-496-4286
LouisburgNC
Carolina Packing
252-433-0134
HendersonNC
Golding Farms Foods
336-766-6161
Winston-SalemNC
Lollipop Tree
800-842-6691
PortsmouthNH
Allied Old English Inc.
732-636-2060
Port ReadingNJ
IAM International
908-713-9651
LebanonNJ
NJ Kosher Kitchen
917-699-9502
DumontNJ
El Pinto
505-898-1771
AlbuquerqueNM
Copperleaf Kitchens
505-323-9227
AlbuquerqueNM
Chelton House
856-467-1600
North Las VegasNV
Peppernutz
855-737-6889
RochesterNY
Accord Foods inc.
585-436-3668
RochesterNY
Brooks Bottling Co.
607-437-4215
OneontaNY
Casa Visco Finer Foods
518-377-8814
SchenectadyNY
Coach Tony’s
585-494-0700
RochesterNY
(The) Farm Bridge
845-383-1761
KingstonNY
Giovanni Foods
315-457-2373
SyracuseNY
Hudson Valley Co-Packing
845-453-8303
PoughkeepsieNY
Li Destri Foods Inc.
201-944-1233
FairportNY
Nelson Farms
315-655-8831
CazenoviaNY
Pellicano’s Specialty Foods
716-822-2366
BuffaloNY
Private Label Foods
585-254-9205
RochesterNY
Ricardo Food Group
212-461-2163
New YorkNY
Steuben Foods Inc.
716-655-4000
ElmaNY
Crazy Uncle Jester’s
888-212-1519
DaytonOH
Hinkle Fine Foods
937-836-3665
DaytonOH
Inter-American Products
800-645-2233
CincinnatiOH
Patter Fam Sauces
740-352-2008
WheelersburgOH
Signature Sauces
216-642-4605
IndependenceOH
Summer Garden Food Mfg.
330-965-8455
BoardmanOH
Backwoods Foods
918-458-9300
TahlequahOK
Griffin Foods
800-866-6311
MuskogeeOK
BPM Solutions
705-790-8086
BarrieON
Giraffe Food& Beverage Inc.
866-234-4067
MississaugaON
Halls Kitchen
416-576-1823
TorontoON
Lakeside Packing Co.
519-738-2314
HarrowON
Victory’s Kitchen
416-766-5848
TorontoON
Barhyte Specialty Foods
800-227-4983
PendletonOR
Bell Foods
503-390-1425
GervaisOR
Beaverton Foods Inc.
503-646-8138
HillsboroOR
Bon Foods Inc.
310-455-9876
PortlandOR
Paradigm Foodworks
503-595-4360
Lake OswegoOR
Sweet Creek Foods
541-935-1615
ElmiraOR
Terra Foods
541-535-8331
PhoenixOR
West Coast Co-Packer
503-390-1425
GervaisOR
Yoshida Foods
503-872-8450
PortlandOR
Palace Foods Inc
610-939-0631
ReadingPA
Castle Co-Packers
724-879-4748
LatrobePA
CTTC Kitchen Incubator
570-282-1255
CarbondalePA
Farmer’s Choice Food Brands
610-499-9477
MediaPA
J&A Foods
888-527-0061
New HollandPA
Lancaster Fine Foods
800-335-6663
LancasterPA
Palace Foods
610-939-0631
ReadingPA
Pellegrino Foods
814-723-3402
WarrenPA
River Run Foods
570-701-1192
NorthumberlandPA
Stello Foods Inc.
800-849-4599
PunxsutawneyPA
Sunny Dell Foods Inc.
610-932-5164
OxfordPA
Creative Foods Inc.
843-747-5102
HanahanSC
Duke Foods
864-991-8895
GreenvilleSC
Further Farms
615-397-3010
NashvilleTN
Chairmans Foods
615-231-4315
NashvilleTN
House of Thaller Inc.
865-246-3538
KnoxvilleTN
Claude’s Sauces
800-727-2823
El Paso TXTX
Colgin Inc.
888-226-5448
DallasTX
Hot Sauce Depot
817-750-2739
KellerTX
Private Label Hot Sauce
817-750-2739
KellerTX
Absolutely World Class
325-672-3000
AbileneTX
Amigos Foods
800-580-3477
San AntonioTX
Bally Plus Food Solutions
972-485-8878
GarlandTX
Bartush Foods
972-219-1270
LewisvilleTX
Blencor
979-627-7801
SealyTX
Consolidated Mills
713-896-4196
HoustonTX
Custom Ingredients
800-457-8935
New BraunfelsTX
Gourmet Gardens
800-755-2434
RuskTX
Heritage Specialty Foods
503-252-1545
DallasTX
Jelco Foods LLC
281-794-4778
HoustonTX
National Food & Beverage
214-905-9700
DallasTX
Ol’ Gringos
940-325-4275
Mineral WellsTX
Riba Foods Inc.
713-975-7001
HoustonTX
TexaFrance Inc.
254-300-1366
Round RockTX
Waco Bottling
254-300-1366
WacoTX
Millcroft Farms
800-778-4072
StanleyVA
Ashburn Sauce Co.
757-621-1113
Virginia BeachVA
Ashman Manufacturing Co.
757-428-6734
Virginia BeachVA
Northwest Gourmet Foods
425-793-5001
RentonWA
Bushel & Pecks
603-363-3911
BeloitWI
Create-a Pack Foods Inc.
262-567-6069
IxoniaWI
Croix Valley Foods
612-756-4985
River FallsWI
Inland Packaging
608-788-5800
La CrosseWI
Lakeside Foods
800-466-3834
ManitowocWI
Silver Spring
800-826-7322
Eau ClaireWI
Winona Foods
920-662-2184
Green BayWI
SVB Copacking
304-267-8500
MartinsburgWV

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