When shopping for a co-manufacturer, it’s critical that branded companies match the right baker or snack producer to their needs.

First, there are the basics such as the production line’s capacity or how the co-manufacturer receive and prioritize orders. Is there a minimum order that must be placed? The company also needs to determine if the co-manufacturer can meet any needs for kosher, halal, organic or non-G.M.O. certification. It’s important that the potential customer know whether the co-manufacturer’s allergen policies line up with its own.

“There’s a fairly long list of requirements that the customer needs to define so the co-manufacturer can respond helpfully,” said Rex Parrott, president, Wyandot Inc.

Quality control and food safety are also high on the list of things bakers should consider.

“Typically, the co-manufacturer develops internal standards that are as stringent as their most demanding customer and applies them to all production,” explained Dave Van Laar, president, B&CMA. “This avoids confusion internally.”

For smaller companies seeking help developing a product, it’s important that they take a look at a co-manufacturer’s R.&D. capabilities. Some manufacturers have extensive teams and labs while others make a standard product very well and don’t require such expertise.

Overall, these conversations and inspections of a co-manufacturing facility are all to discover if this relationship will work.

“In the end, they have to have a good feel for how the company is going to communicate with them,” said Rich Scalise, chairman and chief executive officer, Hearthside Food Solutions.