Finding the Right Product Manufacturer for Your Keto Food Brand

Finding the Right Product Manufacturer for Your Keto Food Brand

How to Find a Product Manufacturer for Your Keto Food Brand

A couple of years ago, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 7 to pretty big fanfare.  While Samsung was a respected and renowned technology brand that had millions of loyal customers around the globe, the launch of their new product has now become synonymous with one of the biggest technology product failures of all time.  Shortly after releasing the Galaxy Note 7, a flood of customer reports of explosions, batteries overheating, and burns flooded the internet.  While the product officially launched on August 19, 2016, within only three weeks, by early September, Samsung was forced to pull their new tech product from the market.  When the TSA banned the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from all flights, it became clear that the company would have to issue a voluntary recall of the devices.  Eventually, over 2.5 million units that had sold worldwide were taken back by the company which ended up costing the brand upwards of $17 billion dollars.  The Samsung experience with the Galaxy Note 7 goes to show you that finding the right product manufacturer is one of the most important elements for any successful product launch.  Whether you are a multi-billion dollar tech firm like Samsung or a small Keto food startup looking to launch an innovative new Keto product, manufacturing is the link between a great product idea and successful business development.


Why Should You Take Your Time Looking for the Right Product Manufacturer

In the Keto food market, there are hundreds of companies that brand their products as low-carb food alternatives. While finding an innovative niche to exploit can be challenging, the development of that Keto food product is only half the battle.  Failing to find a manufacturer who can reliably and consistently produce your high quality product will inevitably result in customer dissatisfaction and product failure.  Ask any seasoned food brand owner and they will tell you that having the right manufacturer or co-packer can make or break your business.   

The process of transforming ideas, innovative recipes, and prototypes into a tangible product that can be mass produced for retail sale almost always requires the help of a manufacturing facility.  While some Keto food brands might start out as artisan producers that make their products at home and market directly to consumers, bulk production for retail sale is certainly a great strategy to grow your business.  Bulk production, however, requires the help of a product manufacturer or co-packer that has the infrastructure, equipment, personnel, and experience for producing large volumes of high quality products.


What to Consider when Considering a Manufacturer

Before signing a contract with the first manufacturer you come across to mass produce tens of thousands of your products, it is important to reflect on the following questions:

•  Will you license the product or self-produce? Licensing a Keto food product is like renting your idea to production company who will be in charge of manufacturing, marketing, distribution and who will subsequently pay you royalty fees based on sales. While this strategy requires much less funds upfront, you obviously will have to relinquish significant amounts of control over your product.  If you choose to self-produce, make sure you have an adequate budget to cover initial production costs and enough savings or financial liquidity to stay afloat until revenue starts to come in from sales.

•  What additional value or innovative aspect is your product adding to a competitor´s product?  It is important to make sure that the manufacturer is on the same page with you to highlight the fundamental, value-added differences that will make your product stand out.

•  Make sure the factories you research understand your prototype and have the expertise, equipment and infrastructure that will be necessary to create your product according to the specifications and details.

• Does the manufacturer you are interested in offer a dedicated “free from” facility?  If you are producing a grain-free or gluten-free product, it is helpful to have a dedicated gluten-free facility co-packing your product to avoid potential recalls from accidents involving contamination. 


Important Elements to Prioritize When Choosing a Product Manufacturer

For Keto food brands, the best product manufacturers will be those to can demonstrate knowledge and experience with the low-carb market.  In some cases, the manufacturers used by competing brands might be worth checking out as you will be ensured that they have experience in producing low-carb food products.  The manufacturer should also be able to recommend a food chemist that will be involved with the production of the product and have all necessary licenses and permits up to date. Make sure to ask the manufacturer if they have any recent regulatory infractions that they might be legally obligated to share. Also, if you are looking for an overseas manufacturer in order to cut down on costs, it is important to find a factory that has an established reputation, fair labor policies, experience in the industry, and all necessary legal paperwork that allows them to import into the country where your will be marketing your Keto food product.

Furthermore, you will want to check the certifications and ratings of different product manufacturers that can usually be found on well-known B2B platforms. In some cases, you might even consider reaching out to prior clients to ask for any feedback, both positive and negative. 

While you shouldn’t refuse outright to do business with new manufacturing firms, it can also be helpful to research how long a manufacturer has been in business and the amount of successful contracts they’ve been involved with to get an idea of their past track record.


Common Pitfalls to Watch Out For

Before signing a long-term contract with product manufacturer, you should ALWAYS ask for a sample product to make sure that the manufacturer is able to uphold the quality and attributes that you want for your products. While some product manufacturers might charge expensive fees for product samples, this is almost always money well spent as it allows you to get an idea of what the final product will look like. You can also discuss modifications with the manufacturer being sending in the final order, and the product sample can offer you protection if your bulk order varies from what the manufacturer originally promised to produce.

Also, Keto food brands will want to negotiate minimum order quantities before signing any contract. Manufacturing facilities obviously prefer large bulk orders and will be prepared to offer discounts for larger purchases. However, not every Keto startup brand will have the budget to order 100,000 units of a given product. By being clear and transparent regarding your current market opportunities and future growth plans, you can make sure that you´re on the same page with your manufacturer.

Lastly, you will also want to specify contractual obligations of the product manufacturer regarding deadlines, cutoff dates, and extensions. One of the worst things that can happen to a small startup is making a major client wait for several weeks for a shipment due to glitches in the manufacturing facility.  Laying out the contractual obligations upfront is a way to protect your brand and put pressure on the product manufacturer to hold up their end of the deal. 

Fortunately, there are no shortage of product manufacturers on the market.  Instead of spending hours searching on Google and sending out emails to companies you don’t know much about, you can also use online sources that will help you find a suitable match for a product manufacturer that will help your company grow.   GSS (Global Sourcing Specialists) and MFG are two of the leading firms that can help startups in a variety of industries find product manufacturers and get manufacturing quotes.


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