Everything You Wanted To Know About Co-Packing... But Were Afraid To Ask

Everything You Wanted to Know About Co-Packing… But Were Afraid to Ask (Part 1 of 2)

Everything You Wanted to Know About Co-Packing… But Were Afraid to Ask.

Don’t be shy! You know you want to ask it.  What is “Co-Packing” at Repack Canada?

Repack Canada's logo

Let’s start with our logo! What do you see? I love the transparency of this open box. It invites you to be a customer with questions: what goes in or comes out of that box anyway?

And “REPACK” —  if something is already “packed” what purpose is there in “re-packing” it? The work “repack” implies a secondary action, to change or correct the first packing, doesn’t it? But what and why?

Knowledge is Power

Dear Reader, don’t ever be shy with questions! The co-packing world is vast and varied.

Even those businesses specifically seeking the services of a co-packer may not realize the breadth and depth of co-packers.  Partnering with a co-packer becomes a powerful asset in terms of saving time and money because you have access to a multitude of services coordinated under one roof.  If we don’t do a particular activity, chances are we have an affiliate who does or we can at least point you in the right directions.  We’re good that way!

So it is with pleasure that in today’s blog post I will provide some general definitions of typical terms used in the wonderful world of  co-packing.  (If there is a reader who disagrees with my definition I welcome your feedback on correction or revision in the comments below!)

Here we go…

Co-packing Defined

Co-packing / Contract Packing / Contract Packaging

The above three terms are pretty much synonymous.  While co-packers all offer similar services, we tend to specialize in certain areas.  Therefore, some co-packers may have attained government licences for certain activities, specific machinery for particular tasks and so on.

In Repack Canada’s case, we provide a hands-on service to those businesses requiring further manipulation to their product.  This can mean a multitude of actions by hand or machine: conversion, labelling, lot coding, shrinkwrapping, multi-packing/club packs, bundle wrapping, shrink sleeving, customer redemption, fulfillment programs, heat sealing, poly bagging, in-store displays, pallet displays, kit assembly… Let’s break down those terms too, working in alphabetical order.


A Co-Packing Glossary


Bundle wrapping:  Applying a clear film (thicker and more opaque than shrink film) to  in a tray.  The bundle wrap stretches and shrinks down while being run through a heat tunnel.  Bundle wrapping is typically used to secure product for shipping.

example:  applying coupons to individual jars, then re-bundling to ship to stores.



Coding:  While we are pretty clever, we are not actually coding new lines of software!  Rather, we use specialized machinery that ink jets identification codes as required:  lot codes, best before dates, etc. onto a product’s label or surface such as bags or bottles, paper packaging or boxes.Inkjet coding by Repack Canada co-packing

example: lot and date coding plastic bottles.


Conversion:  No, we’re not trying to change your mind about something! Repack converts or changes the format of how product ships.

example: a product in twelve packs is to be sold as a six-pack.  Here we are in action with Blue Diamond Almonds.


Customer Redemption/Fulfillment Programs (aka “Pick & Pack”).  We warehouse a portion of product from which we “pick” from and “pack” individual SKUs or cartons to be palletized and prepared for shipping.  Clients send us shipping requests on an ongoing basis, as orders are required.  This can apply B2B or B2C.

Repack performs regular inventory counts and the client continues to replenish our inventory as needed to fulfill orders.

Pick and pack fulfillment for Costco Road Show orders by Repack Canada co-packingexample:  replenishing Infinite Aloe stock for their Costco Road Shows.  Picked and palletized and ready to ship to store.



Displays – retail in-store displays (aka POP displays):  Corrugate POS displays are custom designed structurally and graphically by The Freelance Portfolio, printed, produced and finished.  Finished corrugate is received at Repack Canada for assembly and pre-packing product into it for quick and easy store level set up.

And don’t forget Pallet Displays:  Usually comprised of decorated corrugated trays filled with single product or multi-packs and stacked on a pallet.  A great showstopper to grab shoppers’ attention and interest to purchase.

Floorstand display, Full Pallet display, Half Pallet display, trays - by Repack Canada co-packingexample:   floor displays, end aisle, shelf, PDQ, half pallet displays, full pallet displays… etc. and commonly seen in banner stores such as Costco, Walmart, Loblaw, Shoppers Drug Mart, etc.



Flowwrapping: Repack Canada enrobes product in a clear wrapping applied by a flowwrapping machine.  It is faster and cheaper than shrink wrapping and appropriate for smaller items.

example:  Nutribars flowwrapped with a coupon for sample distribution.  Also refer to our Febuary blog on How to Promote Sales with Plastic Film Packaging –> https://www.repackcanada.com/how-to-promote-sales-with-plastic-film-packaging/


Heat sealing:  Items are placed into a poly bag by hand, then heat sealed by hand.

Heat sealing poly bags by Repack Canada co-packingexample:  pack samples, coupons, brochures, etc. into appropriate poly bag size and heat seal to close.



Kit assembly:  Various components are packed into one package to create a kit.  The package may be a pouch, a bag, a corrugate box, the sky is the limit!

example:  first aid kits, pharmaceutical sales kits, etc.



Labelling:  Some refer to this as “stickering” in some cases.  Labelling can involve adhering a full label to a can or package (by machine or by hand).  Or it can mean adding an extra label in an unoccupied area OR over labeling incorrect information.  

For instance, we can apply a new label to an imported product for the purpose of meeting Canadian regulations or to have greater appeal to the Canadian target market.   Labelling or stickering may cover a printing error or may be used to help meet information required by Health Canada regulations (ie. Canadian Nutrition Facts). 

example:  check out these jam jars getting a whole new label entirely wrapped around by machine.


Multi-packs/Club packs:  Creating a two-pack or multi-pack typically shrinkwrapped or shrink banded together.  Sold as value packs in retail stores like Costco and Wal-Mart.  These often are displayed in Pallet Displays.

example: here we are producing Patak’s twin packs that we stack into trays to form an impactful pallet display in Costco.



Poly bagging:  Items are manually delivered into a poly bag and ziplocked.  The bag may also be heat sealed for tamper proofing.

Tea samples and coupon - polybagged and heat sealed by Repack Canada co-packingexample:  tea samples in a printed carrier and coupon (designed and produced by The Freelance Portfolio) packed together to turn into an desireable sample giveaway. 

Other examples include garments requiring standardized shipping to meet a distributor’s vendor shipping requirements.  (Careful folding into specific poly bag thickness, hangers removed, romance card added, etc.)



Primary Co-packing (vs. Secondary Co-packing):

Primary packaging deals with the first layer of packaging that directly contacts the product. Special licensing needs to be in place to handle the primary packaging of food or pharmaceutical products.

Secondary packaging refers to the next layer of packaging or the packaging used to group various pre-packaged products together. Depending on the type of co-packing required, licensing may or may not be required for secondary packaging.

Secondary co-packing is typically used for the purposes of branding and display. Secondary co-packing can also bundle or group products together in a new configuration (multi-pack, etc.) for ease of shipping or storing.*

(For food and pharmaceutical, Repack Canada is your secondary co-packer!)


Reclamation projects:  We fix the “oops, that wasn’t supposed to happen!”

Check out our previous blog entries elaborating on how we can help you –>

“What’s So Remarkable About Specialty Fulfillment” https://www.repackcanada.com/whats-so-remarkable-about-specialty-fulfillment/  “How to “How to Fix Your Packaging Disaster” https://www.repackcanada.com/how-to-fix-your-packaging-disaster/

example:  Fixing or replacing labels that have gone askew, sorting through and culling product damaged in transport, quality checks on printing, etc.


Shrinksleeving: Applying a clear shrink film that is in the form of a tube or “sleeve”, then run through a heat tunnel to shrink down around the product to secure it as a solid single package.

Shrinkbanded twin pack by Repack Canada co-packingexample:  alternate method of creating two-packs (instead of shrinkwrap), tamper proofing.


  Applying a thin clear film to create a twin pack or multi-pack or club pack, heat sealing and shrinking film firmly around product via a heat tunnel.  It is used to hold and protect multiple pieces together for retail.

Shrinkwrapping by Repack Canada co-packingexample:  sealing Tender Corp’s first ait kit packs for Costco. 


OK let’s stop there!

Are you finding these explanations helpful? Are you on the edge of your seat for more?

Don’t despair, I have part 2 coming out shortly to talk about the kinds of machinery we co-packers like to use to help create uniformity and generate faster turnaround.

In the meantime, have we addressed everything you wanted to know about co-packing? Do you still have questions?

Well then by all means CALL or EMAIL us! We love helping people find solutions!


1-877-804-4841 or info@repackcanada.com

By Eira Braun-Labossiere



*Quoted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copacker)

Eira Braun-Labossiere

Eira’s seemingly unpronounceable and usually misspelled name creates excellent conversation opportunities. A content crafter for Repack Canada and The Freelance Portfolio, you can reach her via email (eira@repackcanada.com) or the good old telephone (1.877.804.4841). Contact me with any questions or to request a quote.