Guidelines for products

The in’s and out’s, up’s and down’s and everything you need to know about Co-packing and distribution with Sauceology.

The Sauceology Group, Inc.
Spring 2015

General Guidelines for Contract Packaging

We do not ask what is in your product until we have a signed NDA (non-disclosure agreement) in place. If you have your own nondisclosures please forward it to us for review.
We cannot really give you a price to start with until we understand more about how your product is made and what ingredients are used, along with the container used.

Recipe formulation, ingredient search, packaging development, and general business consulting are all available through The Sauceology Group at $175 per hour rate or an agreed upon price.
The advantage of using a contract packer is that we are able to buy most of the ingredients and packaging in more efficient quantities than the client could purchase on his own. Generally, the co-packer pays for everything and charges you a finished case cost in most cases, we may want you to provide ingredients or packaging (glass/lids) that we do not have in our existing inventory – particularly your labels and any proprietary ingredients.

Many of our co-packing clients are well known, but what is not well known, is we make it in our facility with their label!  Do not ask us to list who they are, as we are also very good at keeping secrets. References are available upon request.

Recipe / Formula

Customers often ask, “All I have is a home recipe in cups and teaspoons, is that good enough?” Answer: Yes but we don not recommend it. You really need to measure all of your ingredients extremely carefully. Keep in mind that when your recipe is scaled up from a full kitchen sized pot to a 200 gallon tank batch, the most minor error is multiplied by 200. The first step in converting your recipe to a formula is to have a very accurate way to measure the ingredients. A good place to start is to go to a retail store and get a digital or analog scale that measures in grams or ounces. Using this scale, make a batch as you normally would, but weigh EVERY component. Grams are the most accurate for small amounts. The liquids, such as water, should be measured in fluid ounces. Remember… weighed ounces and fluid ounces are not the same. Keep your recipe in the “most basic commodity form” possible … salt, sugar, vegetable oil, black pepper and so on… If you are using specific brands, let us know. Do not forget to accurately record the steps of your recipe. For example, measure the correct temperatures and cooking times, if the item is cooked.

We will take it from that point and scale your formula up to the agreed batch size. Formulas in teaspoons, pinches, and dashes are not looked upon favorably. We do require a sample along with your recipe.

Test batch costs range from $100 to $500 per batch per item.
If you have a “proofed” production formula we still require a small test batch to be completed before a production run. A test batch allows us get a “feel” for your product and acquires the necessary information to provide you with a quote. If you have a process approval for your product, please send us a copy for review.
Once the test batch is completed and you sign off on the product we can provide you with a quote for your product.
Minimum initial run is a 50 gallon batch for liquid products and 100 pounds for dry products. The Sauceology Group abides by the industry standard of + or – 10% on production runs; keep this in mind when placing orders.
Products that contain any meat, poultry, fish, nuts, or potable alcohol are NOT permitted.

What is required to sell my product?

All acid and acidified products manufactured at The Sauceology Group are required to have a process approval on file here. Depending on your product it may require us filing a scheduled process with the FDA at an additional cost. We can provide a process approval for your product at a reasonable cost. Consult with us as to the process approval and FDA scheduled process filing fees as each product is different.

A nutritional panel is required on your label. If you do not have nutritional information for your product we can provide it for you to supply to your graphic designer at a reasonable cost.

Depending on which state you reside in you may be required to have a “food permit”. The state of Florida requires all food distributors to be registered with the Department of Agriculture. All finished product must be stored in compliance. If you will be selling your products at “markets” and or “festivals” you may be required to have a “mobile food permit” also.

How much will it cost to get started?

Of all of the questions posed to us over the years, this is the most difficult to answer. It is true that the “Little Guy” is at a disadvantage in the grocery business? Many products on the shelf today, started in someone’s household kitchen. To get a product ready for market, is a considerable expense and in no way guarantees any success. Does the world really need another BBQ sauce, salad dressing or hot sauce? Our answer is that there always seems to be room for one more. Much of your success will be determined by two critical factors: Your determination and finances. Many good products have fallen along the wayside because of a lack of proper financing or a lack of time commitment. Launching a new food product is very costly, and if you do not have adequate financial resources in place, the odds are against you.

Payment:

The Sauceology Group will require all companies to provide a 75% deposit for production runs, which will be applied to your order.  This money is used to buy raw materials and packaging, as required, specific to the client’s product. All products must be paid in full before pick-up or shipping.
Lead time:

There is a 4 to 6 week lead-time on all new co-pack products depending on our current work load. Any orders, after your initial product run, must have at least 14 working days lead-time (weekends and holidays are not included). Last minute or emergency orders require us to pay overtime wages to our staff, and these costs must be passed onto the client.
What kind of package do I use?

If your product is something like a barbeque or hot sauce it is often best to ask your bottler what packages they are currently using. The price of packaging is all about the quantities purchased. Certainly, the bottle can greatly differentiate an item on the shelf, but the economies often lead to the necessity of using an “in house bottle”. Sauceology uses several different types of packaging. Many opportunities still exist to enhance and differentiate a product by way of the label, and/or shrink band. Glass is normally used for any product that must be packed hot, such as, salsas and hot sauces. However there are some products that can be filled into plastic bottles in some cases. Packaging manufacturers often require that we purchase in truckload quantities. It is often necessary to work through a distributor. Distributors stock hundreds of different jars, bottles, caps, and related packaging materials. The most important aspect of package selection, during early stages of the evolution of your product, is to make sure you select a bottle or jar that is readily available from your bottler and/or distributor, and that the price does not skew your cost. Very often the package can comprise as much as 60% of the total finished cost!

How do I get my labels designed and printed?

A graphic artist designs your label on a computer using one of the more popular software packages. A good place to start is to select what label company will be printing your labels. We use pressure sensitive (peel & stick, on rolls) labels. Our labeler requires a #3 wind, on a 3’’ core, with a maximum outside diameter of 11.5 inches. It is advisable to consult with your label printer to determine the die sizes they currently have in stock that are suitable for your bottle. This will save several hundred dollars in custom die charges. Once you have chosen a size, say 3” x 5”, you then convey that information to your artist so they know to design your label within those parameters. Some label companies offer design work in house, and some do not. The label printer takes the computer artwork and converts each color to printing plates. The set up cost of any label is determined by the number of plates, one plate per color. There are two basic forms of artwork, process and line art. Process is usually used to recreate a photograph, while line art is used for drawn artwork. It is also advisable to use an artist that designs food labels, so that he or she is knowledgeable in the FDA rules such as, type size requirements, NELA (nutrition facts) panel rules, UPC bar codes, and allergen disclosures. Remember, when ordering labels ask the printer to quote the job in several quantity brackets. Very often, the cost of ten thousand labels is only a few dollars more than five thousand labels. We will be glad to assist with your layout, and be glad to give you our opinion on your design. We can also refer you to some label printer companies that we use ourselves. Sauceology must approve all label designs before you have them printed as there are FDA requirements that must be on the label.

How do I sell my product?

There are many marketing gurus who will take your money, so be careful! If your desire is to target the grocery trade, you will really need a food broker. Food brokers charge a percentage of sales, usually starting at 5%. Consult your local phone directory, and call some brokers. If they cannot offer any assistance, they may be able to direct you to a smaller broker who can. Another approach is to ask the buyer how to approach them, and they will often offer advice on the best way to present your product. They may insist on a broker, or they may offer a very different approach. Each grocery chain is different and operates a little bit differently. If your desire is to target the specialty food trade, you can do it yourself, as long as you have the ability (and cash) to market your product. Otherwise, you may want to use a distributor or a product representative.

Do you offer storage or warehousing of my product?

As we currently have very limited warehouse space available, we cannot offer storage of your finished product. We do ask that all orders are picked up or shipped within 48 hours of completion. We do offer drop shipments to your larger customers. Please contact us for drop shipping details as well as a shipping quotation.