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Q: I have a family recipe for vegetable and meat pies. I have been exploring the ways and means of establishing my own business. Can you help me locate a co-packer who would formulate, manufacture, package and label my product?
–O. Sefa, Hackensack, New Jersey
A: There are a number of good food industry resources to contact, such as the American Institute of Food Distribution (201-791-5570), which represents canners, packers, manufacturers, brokers, wholesalers and retailers. The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Inc. (212-482-6440) represents food manufacturers, processors, importers, retailers and brokers of specialty and gourmet foods. You should also attend and participate in food trade shows, where you’ll have the chance to network with other entrepreneurs like yourself, as well as introduce your product to industry insiders. For example, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Inc. sponsors International Fancy Food and Confection Shows. For more information on how one entrepreneur, Michele Hoskins of Michele Foods, formed a partnership with a major food retailer to market her family’s prized recipe syrup, see “Cooking Up Deals,” April 1999.