Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on April 12th, 2022

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Factors That Impact The Cost Of Outsourcing Your Primary Packaging

Supply Chain Services/ Contract Packaging

You have a great product, and you know it. You are ready to get this product to market. And, you have decided that you don't want to do primary packaging for this product in-house.


The idea of managing all the equipment, materials, labor, utilities, and other associated elements of primary packaging is not something you want to deal with.


So, you have decided that outsourcing your primary packaging is the best course of action for your product packaging needs.


While you have many questions about what goes into outsourcing your primary packaging, you have one particular question that is top of mind.


And that question is, how much does it cost to outsource your primary packaging?


While you may think that this question should be simple to answer, it is a bit more complex than that.


In fact, you need to understand several elements and answer a few questions before you can receive this pricing.


This article will walk you through those elements and answer those questions. After you have completed these tasks, you will be ready to get pricing for your outsourced primary packaging project.


How Much Does It Cost To Outsource Your Primary Packaging?


How Much Does It Cost To Outsource Primary Packaging?


In order to figure out how much it will cost to outsource your primary packaging, you will need to analyze several elements that will impact the total purchase price of your primary packaging project.


From run size to viscosity and from product size to shape. Several essential items will largely dictate the cost of outsourcing your primary packaging.


We will review each of these elements below. Understanding these items and how they impact your total primary packaging cost will help you calculate your outsourced project's purchase price.


What Affects The Cost Of Outsourcing Primary Packaging?


What Affects The Cost Of Outsourcing Primary Packaging?


When you are looking to get a total cost for outsourcing your primary packaging, you need to provide your chosen primary packaging partner with a set of information that will allow them to give you the pricing you seek.


So, it is imperative that you understand the items they will need from you and the things that can affect the cost of these elements.


Below, we will explore the most important dynamics that affect the total cost of an outsourced primary packaging project.


The Viscosity Of Your Product


This is one of the most important elements to consider when attempting to source pricing for the primary packaging of your products.


Viscosity is a state of thickness and stickiness as it relates to semi-fluid consistency, which is a byproduct of internal friction.


Basically, viscosity = how sticky your product is.


Why is this important? Simply put, If you have a product that gets sticky, this can complicate the process of primary packaging.


When products move through primary packaging machinery, they will flow over various surfaces. If the product is dry and not tacky, the product should move through the process with relative ease.


If your product is sticky, it can literally gum up the works. This can cause slower production, unwanted downtime, and other unruly complications.


The less sticky your product, the better. For example, let us compare two hypothetical products—jelly beans VS. gummies.


Even in warmer, humid atmospheres, the surface of jelly beans will (for the most part) remain non-tacky. On the other hand, Gummies are more likely to melt and become sticky, potentially resulting in the unwanted situations mentioned above.


In this respect, jelly beans will be a better product with faster production, little to no downtime, and an overall lower cost due to these metrics.


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The Shape Of Your Product


The shape of your product will also have an effect on the cost of your primary packaging project for similar reasons to those mentioned above.


Let's say your product has a relatively consistent surface, such as a ball. A product with this shape will move through the primary packaging line with relative ease and result in a lower cost.


Suppose, however, your product has a lot of jagged edges or spikey elements to it. In that case, these may not flow as well through the equipment and may also gum up the works if caught on portions of the machinery within the packaging line.


The easier the product flows through equipment with reduced touches along the way, the less your primary packaging project will cost.


The Size Of Your Product


Next, we come to the size of your product. While this is not as much of an issue as the previous items, the size of your product will impact the cost of your primary packaging project.


Suppose the product is too small or too large. In that case, this can cause similar problems to those mentioned above, which can lead to a more complicated, longer-running project with a higher price point.


The Weight Of Your Product


Simply put, the heavier the finished good, the more costly it will be to package. To illustrate this, let's return to our jelly beans for another hypothetical situation.


Let's say you have two separate jelly bean primary packaging projects. The first project is packaging 10-pound bags of jelly beans. The second project is packaging 1-ounce bags of jelly beans.


The 1-ounce jelly bean primary packaging project will be much less expensive than the 10-pound project.


With the 1-ounce project, you will be packaging about 150 - 175 bags per minute. In contrast, with the 10-pound bags, you will only be packaging about 15 bags per minute.


The 1-ounce project will run much faster than the 10-pound project. As such, the cost of the 1-ounce project will be the cheaper of the two runs.


The Master Carton Count For Your Products


The higher the master carton count, the less your cost will be. Let us once again dive into the fictional jelly bean universe to illustrate this metric.


Your first primary packaging job requires there to be 10 bags per carton of products. This equates to 10 boxes per minute.


Your second primary packaging job requires there to be 100 bags per carton of products. This equates to the following. 10 bags per carton = 10 boxes per minute. 100 bags = 1 box every minute.


It is much easier and faster to make 1 box per minute than 10 boxes per minute; because of this, the 1 box per minute project will have a lower cost.


The Length Of Your Product Run


This is the most critical element affecting your total purchase price for your primary packaging project.


The longer the shift to run your products and the higher the volume, the lower the total purchase price of your run will be.


Anything less than two shifts will likely not be accepted by most co-packers. And, if the co-packer does accept it, you can expect to pay a higher cost.


How Much Will Your Primary Packaging Cost?


How Much Will Your Primary Packaging Cost To Outsource?


As you can see, pricing for outsourcing your primary packaging is very case-sensitive and requires some calculations. However, you can expect your total cost to fall within a range as presented in the two options below.


  1. Fast-moving items that are packaged into small single-serve amounts can be as low as $.02 per completed unit.

  2. Slow-moving, large weighted items can be high as $1.00 per completed unit



Once you have figured out your personal metrics for each of the elements discussed above, you will have everything you need to calculate the cost of outsourcing your primary packaging.


And while you are more than welcome to sit down with a pen and paper or computer and attempt to calculate this cost yourself, you may want to consider working with one of our packaging experts instead.


They will help you calculate your cost to outsource your primary packaging project.


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About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.