Business is booming at your established food business, and you’re producing in higher volumes to meet demand — but the storage that was working well before, just isn’t cutting it anymore. Your co-packer has some storage facilities, but scaling up your business with your co-packer is going to be expensive, and you’re wondering what other storage options are on the table.
You basically have two options: build your own storage facility or pay someone else for storage. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each.
Option 1. Build Your Own Food Storage Facility
Pros: It’s all in one place
If you’ve got the space, and want to skip the storage middleman and deal directly with your distributors, then building food storage into your existing facility may suit you.
By building your storage facility next to your processing and packaging facility, you can run your entire operation in the same place. Removing the logistics of extra travel from your business processes will also allow you to save time and money and distribute directly to retailers.
Cons: The initial hassel and on-going costs
But before you start drawing up any plans, the first step would be checking with your municipality about what the process entails; this can vary provincially. For example, Toronto has a number of structural requirements for food storage areas, and that further depends on whether you’re building cold storage, or just adding racks and shelves. During the design stage, make sure you’re aware of any provincial and national food and safety regulations you need to comply with. Your storage design will need to meet these standards before you can submit your plans for approval.
The design process can cost you time and capital, but construction can also hinder your production ability, and even stop production altogether. Just make sure you plan accordingly -— and put contingencies in place, especially for circumstances when construction takes longer than anticipated.
Outside of construction, you’ll also need to think about what kind of storage equipment you will need (e.g., a freezer, fridge, or even racks), and ensure they follow national guidelines. Finally, remember to factor in the ongoing costs of monitoring, cleaning, and maintaining any new storage equipment.
Option 2. Third-Party Food Storage Facility
Pros: Saves you time and energy
Instead of going through the stressful process of building your own storage systems, it’s worth considering commercial storage facilities. That way you don’t have to worry about finding the space for new storage, or sink lots of time and money into the planning and development process.
Commercial facilities will also take care of all the cleaning and maintenance of their storage facilities, so you’ll be able to concentrate on scaling your business effectively.
When you’re choosing your storage facility make sure it’s food-grade,— food-grade storage should only be for food (not mixed-storage) — and there are a number of extra considerations such as cleanliness, air-flow, and shelf-height.
You should also ensure your storage facility can cater to the temperature requirements of your product. At OAFVC, we offer food-grade storage facilities with cold and dry storage options. Our cold storage is temperature controlled and monitored on an on-going basis, and our dry storage is climate controlled for temperature and humidity.
OAFVC also tags products for tracking purposes, so you can always find your goods.
Our friendly food-advisory team can help you find the right storage options, so you can be sure you’re storing your products safely.
Cons: Logistics and cost
When choosing a storage facility, remember to factor in the logistics of transporting your products to and from the facility. Finding commercial storage nearby will save you money with regard to logistics, and it will also speed up the time-to-shelf process.
You still lose the ease of process that would have come from having your production space next to your storage space. But at OAFVC, we also have food processing and packaging facilities onsite, so businesses can process and store without needing to worry about logistics.
You’ll also need to pay for using the storage facility, which means higher ongoing costs than if you build your own storage facility. But this depends on the state of your business and your storage needs, as the upfront costs of building your own storage might exceed paying a third-party facility.
As a non-profit municipal organization, OAFVC is able to offer affordable rates. For storage:
- Cold storage is $40 per pallet, per month
- Dry storage is $30 per pallet, per month
A Commercial Kitchen
At OAFVC, we offer more than just affordable food-grade storage.
The entire food production process can be done in the one place — from the moment you receive supplies till you’re ready distribute to retailers.
You can test new products in our commercial kitchen, label and package them in the packaging room, and store them in our storage facilities. Download a map of our commercial kitchen to see if we’ve got what you need.