Co-packing: a logistical masterpiece

Co-packing is an umbrella term that is used to refer to all packaging services: packing, repacking, enclosing or packaging, not to mention picking and packing of products by a packaging service provider (such as Karl Knauer). The term ‘co-packing’ – which is short for contract packing – also covers the storage and punctual dispatch of goods. Also frequently used is the term ‘contract packaging’ (or ‘contract filling’ in the beverage industry).

Co-packing is an interesting solution for all companies that are keen to concentrate on their actual core business and save themselves the often time-consuming and labour-intensive process of packaging their products. This covers all sectors, such as the beverage, food, chemical or cosmetics industries. After all, regardless of whether a product is a food or non-food one – everything that is packed in (folding) boxes, cans, bottles, bags or other solutions can generally be ‘bagged’ faster and more efficiently by professional co-packers than by the company’s own staff.

Verpacken von Schokoladentafeln
As an experienced contract packaging expert, we take care of the entire packaging process for you. From developing and producing the packaging, to packaging and delivery

Co-packing: a bundle of complex services

Are all 126 parts of the kit in the box? Was the maximum storage temperature consistently maintained during packaging too? And what is the best adhesive to use to attach the product sample to the packaging? These are just a few questions that demonstrate that co-packing is about so much more than the mere act of filling. Professional co-packers handle goods logistics as a whole, from incoming goods and quality control on delivery, to packing – either automatically or manually – and ensure on-time dispatch to the retailer or final consumer. If the co-packer also develops and produces the packaging, like Karl Knauer does, there are clear handling and cost advantages: Karl Knauer supervises all of a packaging project’s process stages – allowing our customers to focus all their energies on their core business.


Co-packers can do more than just pack, repack or enclose. They handle all the picking and packing tasks, including:

  • Building and filling packaging

  • Combining multi-part packaging (e.g. Advent calendars)

  • Filling (stand-up) displays

  • Identifying

  • Cleaning 

  • Correcting

  • Shrink-wrapping

  • Labelling

  • Bundling

  • Storing the goods – before and after packaging

  • Taking care of dispatch

Advantages of co-packing and why it pays off for everyone

While co-packing used to be purely manual work, nowadays state-of-the-art machinery can handle many stages of the packaging process. But packaging facilities capable of such work need to be available in the first place. And that’s something that companies – especially smaller companies or start-ups – rarely have at their disposal. But working with a co-packing expert can be worthwhile, not only for SMEs and start-ups but also for large corporations, because co-packers provide more than just sound know-how and established processes – they also have modern packaging machines and competent operating staff on hand.

So, for example, capacity bottlenecks, seasonal peaks or additional packaging effort involved in special sales promotions can be cushioned quickly and very flexibly – without any need to make expensive investments in your own machinery or to assign your own staff to packaging work. At times when skilled workers are a scare commodity, this factor plays a key role for a growing number of companies. Since Karl Knauer also has a great deal of experience in the field of mechanical engineering, it uses packaging machines that have often been specifically developed or optimised for the product to be packaged. In addition to saving on staffing and (investment) costs, professional packaging service providers score top marks due to increased process reliability and a full range of services that leaves customers with none of their wishes unfulfilled. And you can’t put a price on that. 

Custom co-packing solutions: standard at Karl Knauer

Whether it’s a special promotion for a young start-up, or a large-scale project with millions of units for brand manufacturers – none of our co-packing projects are alike. To ensure we can always offer our customers the ideal packaging and/or co-packing solution, we develop an individual, suitable full range of services for each order – and we are also happy to provide a customised packaging line. Karl Knauer’s co-packing service includes all of that. Even companies that are only looking for a picking partner will find what they are looking for at Karl Knauer. Our customers appreciate this flexibility and scalability, and usually reward us with loyalty that lasts decades. 


A prime example: nucao

Adventskalender aus Karton
Cardboard Advent calendar

Advent calendars are a successful example of extremely successful co-packing. Because a great deal of know-how is needed to ensure that the right surprise is waiting behind each of the 24 doors. nucao – a young chocolate manufacturer based in Leipzig – tasked Karl Knauer with designing and producing a plastic-free Advent calendar made of sustainable materials. We then assembled the calendar – consisting of 54 individual parts – in house and filled it with chocolates by hand. It then went on sale in time for the Christmas trade. 


Which product or campaign would you like to have packaged in the near future so that your product becomes a resounding market success? Let us know and benefit from our expert tips.
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