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Can You Sell Food from Home?

Perhaps you've been thinking of putting your culinary chops to good use and setting up a food business to earn extra cash. Starting a home-based food business is one way to transform your passion for cooking into a legitimate source of income. If you want to get into the food business but may not have enough experience, or you may not have sufficient funds to buy or rent a kitchen space with commercial-grade equipment, selling food from home might be a good starting point.

So, can you sell food from home? Most definitely! If you’re planning to utilize your home kitchen to sell food as your side hustle, here are some important things you should consider.

Check the Cottage Food Law in Your State

Each state has cottage food laws in place, which allow food entrepreneurs to make low-risk food products using their home appliances and sell their goods on a small scale to the general public.

Many states have eased food law regulations to allow for more sales of home-cooked foods. Several cottage food laws are already being updated and improved to make it easier for culinary artisans to sell foods they make in their home kitchens.

You might be wondering if you need to obtain a food license before you can start your home-based business. Under the cottage food law, several states do not require a licensed kitchen. In other states, you may be asked to get a permit to sell food from home. There are food operations that do not need permits, but this also varies depending on your state’s food handling laws.

Cottage food laws differ based on where you’re residing. For example, if you plan to sell bakery products, you should check your state’s regulations for selling baked goods from home. 

Cottage food license cost varies from state to state. However, even if your locality does not require a license or permit to run cottage food operations, it would still be a good idea to secure a license for your home-based food business. Getting a business license or insurance is helpful to minimize your liability and for your legal protection.

Know What Food to Sell

Cottage foods are food items that are not considered a public health risk. These are products that are less likely to cause food-related illnesses or injury. Typically, low-risk

home-prepared foods include jams, jellies, baked goods, dry mixes, and other

shelf-stable foods. In some cases, even tea and coffee

can be sold from home depending on the state you’re in.

If you're planning to start a home-based food business, consider selling food items that do not require refrigeration to keep safe, or foods that are not time-sensitive or temperature-sensitive.

Other Things to Consider

Coming up with a winning name for your home-based business can be tricky. When choosing a name, it is best to pick one that is snappy, grabs attention, and is easy to remember. You might want to avoid a name that is too long and too descriptive, or does not represent your business in any way.  

In some areas, you may be required to package and label cottage food products according to state and federal labeling and packaging requirements. Some states may require a listing of food allergens on a packaged food label.

Lastly, pricing your food correctly will allow you to earn profit from your business. To do this, you should include various factors into your price points, such as the cost of raw ingredients, the type of packaging you use, and the amount of time you spent making your products.

Market Your Business

After you’ve got everything sorted out – like what products to sell, your business name, your product pricing, labeling, and packaging – you should start thinking about how to market your home-based food business to get it up and running.

Word-of-mouth is a time-proven way to stir people’s appetite for your homemade goods. Another way to promote your food enterprise is through social media, particularly when you’re considering selling your products online. In addition, setting up a website can help you grow your business and gain more customers. Using a software platform such as Castiron can help simplify your website creation process. Lastly, you can let more people know about your business by reaching out to your various local organizations, such as schools, churches, community centers, and business affiliate groups.   

Sell Your Products 

One way to sell your cottage food products is from your home directly to your customers. Depending on state regulations, you can also create an online store to start selling your products online, or through marketplaces such as Amazon or Etsy. There are also apps that you can use to sell your homemade food. You may need to check with shipping firms to find out if there are any restrictions on transporting food and consumable items.

 

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