ButterBall Farms Inc.

What to Look for in Custom Food Solutions for Meal Kit Production

The meal kit market is becoming more and more competitive. In turn, it’s also becoming harder and harder for individual meal kit brands to stand out in a sea of services that offer delivery, convenience, and variety.

It’s also becoming harder for meal kit manufacturers to do everything in-house due to labor shortages or manufacturing limitations. That’s why it’s essential to look for custom food solutions and find partners that know a thing or two about saving your company time without sacrificing quality.

Find out what to look for when you’re in the market for custom food solutions, some of the questions you should ask, and signs you’ve found a good wholesale partner.

Choosing Reputable Suppliers

Choosing a supplier with a good reputation starts with finding a company dedicated to food safety

Custom food solutions suppliers should have their credentials posted on their website—often in multiple places. They will also be happy to present them upon request if they’re verified.

Look for specific rating certifications from organizations like BRC, along with awards from the Clean Label Project, kosher labeling, and more. BRC ratings are notable because this international program ranks food safety from AA to D, with AA being the highest ranking in terms of quality standards. Butterball® Farms is proud to have achieved the rare AA distinction.


Quality Food Service Ingredients

Sources for Wholesale Dairy Food Suppliers

While there may be too many individual farms to list in some cases, many dairy wholesale food suppliers will indicate where their products come from, if they’re not working with you to directly supply ingredients. If you’re working with a supplier who sources your ingredients, they should be able to work with you to determine where to source your products.

If they don’t include this information right in their buyer guides, reach out to potential wholesale ingredient suppliers and ask them a few of these questions directly:

  • Where do you source your butter and cheese?
  • How often are you able to deliver?
  • What are your minimum order amounts on the ingredients I need?
  • What is your company’s policy on NDAs for customers?
  • How will this change my manufacturing process?
  • What other requirements do you have for working with you?

These are just examples—you might not need every question we mentioned, or you might think of some more on your own, depending on your company’s needs. Regardless, asking questions will help you ensure you’re choosing the right business partner.

One final important note on what to ask your potential suppliers: Ask them how their ingredients will fit into your current manufacturing process. In a production scenario where seconds count, being able to simply insert individual pre-portioned butter dollops or medallions into your meal kits can equal a time savings at scale.

Blending Quality and Value

It’s hardly a secret that with certain ingredients—tomato sauce, olive oil, and flour being prime examples—you get what you pay for. Butter is no different.

Your customers will notice when you use high-quality butter and other ingredients. Thus, you’re more likely to retain their loyalty over time. However, if they notice you’ve begun to use cheaper ingredients, your regulars may start to become irregulars or stop subscribing to your meal kit services altogether.

While slightly more expensive on its face, buying from a quality food ingredients distributor allows your employees to save time and labor, allowing them to increase their output. At the other end of the supply chain, providing quality ingredients in your meal kits allows your customers to save time on prepping their meals, without sacrificing taste. 

Customization Capabilities

Custom Branding for Bulk Food Ingredients

The best wholesale food ingredient suppliers will go beyond just offering you prepackaged ingredients in bulk—they’ll also treat your business for the unique entity it is. Offering intricate customization is a critical part of that, and it’s vital to look for custom food solutions that are proactive about your brand.

Certain food ingredient distributors offer white-label services to match your branding. In the case of Butterball® Farms, this goes beyond the usual package labels—we use the same embossing technology that helps us make our famous butter roses to add an extra touch of branding for our customers, in addition to printed branding, allergen information, and ingredients on our pre-portioned products.

Custom Sauce and Flavoring for Meal Kits

Customization shouldn’t stop with branding, either. The best bang for your buck will come from distributors who help you create custom ingredients such as sauces, butters, and other flavorings for your meal kit. These suppliers will help you with research and development to make sure your service stays a step ahead of competing meal kit services by keeping up with—or starting—new food and flavor trends.

One of the core services we offer with our custom food solutions is the ability to create custom sauces and flavorings for restaurants, consumer packaged goods, and meal kits. Whether you need compound butter for steaks in your meal kits or have a new flavored glaze or sauce concept you want to roll out, we’ll be happy to offer one less thing to worry about during the development process.

Consistent Delivery of Bulk Food Ingredients

Meal kit production typically doesn’t happen in short, limited-edition runs. It is an ongoing process that requires partners that can deliver consistently and quickly to keep up with subscriber demand.

When you’re in the market for a bulk food ingredient supplier, be sure to ask them about their turnaround, and if they can keep delivering what you need consistently. After all, with the market for meal kits being as saturated as it is, your customers and subscribers could sign up with your competitors by tomorrow if they can’t get their favorite meal options due to a supply shortage.

Custom Food Solutions for Meal Kit Services

Finding the right custom food solutions partner requires a lot of research. Seek out partners who care about your brand as much as—or more than—you do. They should be as proactive as you are, seeking opportunities to help your meal kit brand grow.Butterball Farms offers opportunities for customization in almost every step of our partnership with you, up to and including matching your branding and custom flavor needs for butter, fillings, sauces, toppings, and more. Connect with us today to learn more about what we can do for you.