How To Choose The Best Food Manufacturer – 10 Must Haves

Congratulations, you’ve chosen a food or nutritional supplement to sell.  Next a high-quality manufacturer is needed, but how can you find the best option?  A daunting number of questions pop up:  Do you want to stay local or manufacture abroad?  How can you ensure product quality?  What about on-time delivery?  Product manufacturing considerations can be confusing and overwhelming.  Use our must-haves to find the food or supplement manufacturer that works best for you.

1. Require Regulatory Compliance

Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP’s) are FDA regulations for proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities.  Consumers depend on these regulations to ensure products are safe and effective and so do you.

Ask potential manufacturers if they are in compliance with cGMPs.  Next, request a copy of current cGMP certifications and any other certifications manufacturers may have earned.  Choosing a certified manufacturer results in a transparent, high-quality and authentic food or supplement.

2. Choose Manufacturer Location

Should your product be manufactured in the USA or abroad?  After making your choice, ask manufactures about sourcing, how ingredients are handled and distribution.  Also ask if the company is the actual manufacturer.  Many USA manufacturers contract out services to other companies.  Ask for verification of regulatory compliance for all players.

Also ask how raw ingredients are obtained, how ingredients are stored and get information on shipping timelines.  Offshore manufacturers may have longer lead times.  Will this work for you?

3. Determine Order Minimums

Some manufacturers advertise inexpensive prices, but these prices require large orders.  Ask for minimum order quantity requirements.  Don’t waste time with manufacturers that don’t meet your needs.

Some manufacturers will negotiate an initial smaller-quantity order in hopes of a long-term manufacturing relationship.  It doesn’t hurt to ask.  Willingness to listen to your needs, and provide solutions signals a commitment to customer satisfaction.

4. Require Turn-Around Time Specifics

Knowledge of manufacturing turn-around times is essential to meet fulfillment deadlines.  Seek a company that will deliver your product on time and without last-minute delays.  Also will a larger order bump your timeline?  Are there any special circumstances that may affect timing?  For instance, holidays can have a major impact on shipping times.  Don’t let special circumstances surprise you.

5. Seek Experienced Manufacturers

Only consider proven manufacturer with happy customers.  Start by asking how long a manufacturer has been in business.   Experienced manufacturers know how to avoid mistakes, such as inability to obtain a rare ingredient in a timely manner.  You don’t want an essential ingredient shortage causing failure to deliver.   Avoid problems caused by lack of experience by choosing an expert.

6. Insist On High Ratings / Excellent Reviews

Does a supplement manufacturer deliver high-quality products and back them up?  Find out by asking for references from satisfied customers.  Sourcing sites such as Alibaba provide ratings and information on how long the company has been listed.  Only consider manufacturers with high ratings and excellent reviews.  Also search sources such as Ripoff Report and the Better Business Bureau to verify company integrity and avoid issues.

7. Find Good Communicators

Select a manufacturer that meets your communication needs.  Are emails and phone calls answered quickly?  Is the information provided thorough, and does it answer all questions?   Are interactions pleasant?  If the manufacturer’s time zone differs, do communication delays work ok for both parties?  Choose a company with a communication style that matches your requirements.

8. Insist On Quality Control Essentials

Ask for specifics on how a manufacturer maintains product quality.  Ingredients should be carefully controlled and tested for quality.  They must not sit on shelves for too long.  Quality control testing ensures the product label claims are met without contamination.

9. Require Special Ingredient Experience

If your product requires special ingredients, choose a manufacturer that has experience working with these ingredients.  Do they grow their own ingredients?  If not, how are ingredients sourced and how are standards ensured?

Also, if your product requires organics, choose an organic-certified manufacturer.  Only products made by organic-certified companies qualify for the USDA organic seal.

10. Select Order Fulfillment Requirements

Does your manufacturer have a warehouse for product storage?  How long can they store products?  Do they provide drop-shipping?  (Customer orders are forwarded to the manufacturer and the manufacturer ships the order directly to the customer.)  Drop-shipping reduces shipping cost but only if products are directly shipped from manufacturer to customer.

Bonus:  Special Services

Besides basic manufacturing, what other services does your food or supplement require?  Some manufacturers offer assistance with product labeling, package design and more.   Click here for clean label essentials.

Take the mystery out of supplement manufacturing with the choices above.  Then use your knowledge to delight customers with high-quality, on-time products.

Kendeyl Johansen, a tech geek and award-winning journalist, creates multimedia health and wellbeing content.