If you enjoy preparing food, and especially if you have one or more signature dishes that your family and friends can’t imagine gatherings without, you may or may not know that you already possess the most important tools you’ll need to become a cottage foods entrepreneur. Amidst all the mass-produced items many people gladly choose goods whose labels describe a manufacturing process with more loving care, so you may well find a welcome audience for your homemade products. Looking into how to sell homemade food online, you’ll see that homespun cottage food businesses follow different rules than restaurants, so check out what standards are specific to your state.
Before you fill your kitchen with treats, research whether your state requires cottage cooks to pass an online safety course and obtain a permit to sell food made in a private residence. This step takes the place of the official inspection restaurant kitchens must pass, and even though you’ll implement the knowledge in the privacy of your own kitchen you’ll want to take scrupulous care to keep your prep space sanitary and maintain your good reputation.
You may only sell food from your state’s approved list of cottage foods, which typically includes cakes, pastries, breads, flavored popcorn, seasonings, granola, some pickled foods, jams and jellies, candies, chocolates, nuts, and other items that do not require temperature-controlled storage. You’ll also need to be careful you comply with any limitations on how much income you can make selling homemade food online, as some states put a cap on this.
Besides what foods can be sold, perhaps the most stringent regulations to comply with have to do with where you can sell cottage food. In-person sales are usually limited to agriculture-based events like farmers markets and festivals, and online sales cannot typically go over state lines. With online sales in general trending ever upward, especially in the last few years, new online cottage food businesses are popping up, taking advantage of the expanding market.
Most information on how to sell food from home legally is readily available online, but before you start your online cottage food business you should contact state agencies to be sure you have the most up-to-date rules. Cottage food laws are made at the state level, and these laws vary from place to place, though rules for selling online are generally the same as those for selling in person. In lieu of an inspection by state health officials, some states require you to take a course on safe and sanitary food preparation to be issued a permit to sell food from home. It’s possible that you might also need to find out how to get license to sell food at the county level if a business license is required locally, but in most cases an online course is the main step in regards to how to get a permit to sell food from home.
With certain foods perishability depends on the acidity level, and these are often fruit- and vegetable-based or breads that use baking powder or baking soda to rise. You may have to submit samples to a lab to assess that your methods are producing safe, bacteria-free jams, jellies, and salsas, but like other rules on selling food from home this is a convenient way to certify your products and your business as compared to hoops large businesses have to jump through.
So now you’re researching the question, do I need a license to sell baked goods online? Let’s look at a few states as examples for different ways of regulating cottage foods.
So, what permits do I need to sell food in California? This state gives two different types of permits depending on your goals for the size of your operation. For a Class A permit, pass the food safety course and complete any local requirements necessary to apply for cottage food license California, and you can sell at local events like farm stands and festivals. If you’d like to take on wholesale accounts and allow bigger retailers to market your goods, obtain a Class B permit by taking the food certification course and successfully completing a kitchen inspection. Food permit California price depends on what it costs the local authorities to issue it to you.
However, when it comes to how to sell food online in California, things are a little ambiguous. Originally the law stated that selling online within state limits was legal, but later amendments removed this part without replacing it with other language covering this issue. Since amendments did not appear to want to block online sales the regulations probably allow it, but since the statements don’t actually exist we cannot know for sure at this point.
In response to the many food service workers laid off during the pandemic, the California homemade food act 2019 allowed residents to turn their home kitchens into micro-enterprise restaurants and offer home-cooked meals beyond the cottage foods list. At a food permit California price of $1000, the legislature gave people an affordable way to use their talents and start their own business. Selling food from home California 2021 affords would-be entrepreneurs lots of options.
You actually do not need a permit to sell food from home Florida. At the county level you’ll want to check if a business license or selling food online license is required, but the primary cottage food laws in Florida entail staying within the food list.
Besides checking with your local administration on whether business licenses are required, selling food from home NYC provides one of the easier pathways to get started. You don’t need a license to sell food online or in person, as long as you operate at farmers markets and festivals and keep sales within the state of New York.
You actually don’t need a permit to sell food from home in Michigan, but you should check with your county in case a business license to sell food online is required. A food safety course is not mandatory in Michigan. You may sell your non-temperature-controlled baked goods from within the approved foods list at fairs, festivals, farmers markets, and online within the state. Michigan limits the income you can earn from your cottage food business to $25,000 annually.
You will need a permit to sell food from home Texas, which is simply done by getting certified via a food handler course. Many counties here require local licensing, so be sure to verify, and as with any other state you’ll have to choose from the approved foods list and include mandatory information on your labels. Selling food online in Texas is legal as long as you don’t mail it but deliver it in person, and give labeling information beforehand.
Selling food from home Washington state is a bit more involved, mainly broken down into a few more steps for licensing and submitting detailed plans to the health department. You’ll need to get your well water tested and apply for a food worker card and business license. You’ll also need to provide concise plans of how your business will work, including floor plan of your kitchen, plan for excluding children and pets from the kitchen during production, equipment list and how you’ll sanitize it, and method of packaging.
If you’re creative, have a talent for baking, and are itching to start a great online business run from your home, you’ll still need to stop and evaluate realistic management strategies for how to make money selling food from home. Of course you know you’ll have to deduct the cost of your ingredients, but don’t forget to factor in costs for your wrapping and label-making, portions for the water and electricity from the baking process, and your time. Remember to save your receipts for tax purposes since the IRS gives self-employed entrepreneurs write-offs for furnishing their own supplies.
Easy food to sell to make money would probably start out with cookies, which are easy to perfect, popular, and come together with cheap ingredients. Home-baked granola and flavored nuts round out the list as great homemade snacks to sell.
Especially for your online presence, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time and money to really make your business sparkle and stand out from the rest. Splurge a little for beautiful photography so your site grabs attention, and plan extra time to create some really amazing confections that draw the eye.
The cottage food industry began with neighbors selling to neighbors locally at county fairs and farmers markets, but savvy business owners pay attention to current habits and lifestyles of potential customers. Translate your homespun business into an even better way to make a living and learn how to sell homemade food online.
Running your own business from home while doing something creative that you love—that’s the dream, right? With events in recent years forcing everyone to spend more time at home than ever before, home-based businesses have multiplied. Stand out from your competition and capture the attention of people browsing the web with a well-crafted website. Bright, beautiful pictures of your freshly-made pastries and snacks make selling baked goods online a cinch. A good professional website builder lets you easily show your confections in the best light, and customers can feel secure when they see your food safety course certificate, list of ingredients and allergens, and rave reviews.
Form your plan of how to sell homemade snacks online. Think about the best packaging to use when safely and efficiently shipping orders, and the most appealing wraps to use to delight your customers with each unboxing. Reach more people through social media and posts about your products, and link them back to your site where they can discover more. Utilize made-for-cottage-cooks software like Castiron, which walks you through how to sell snacks online from your home kitchen. Create an engaging website with a convenient ordering process, keep tabs on deliveries and invoices, and organize records of batch numbers and ingredients.
Your cottage food business website takes your intimate local business and puts your baked goods into the hands of many more people. No need for the recipes you’re proud of to only be enjoyed by local friends; give other communities and areas the chance to fall in love with them too!
My business would not be the same without my Castiron website! It is an easy setup with lots of customization and tons of support! I am so glad I set up my shop last year before the holidays — it really helped increase my sales!
The Whimsical Cookie
Castiron provides me a professional site to my customers increasing my credibility and value while giving me the tools to effectively market and manage my business in an easy, user-friendly manner.
Wesley's Treats Hallie's Sweets
Castiron has made my cottage bakery shine, and my business easy to manage. As a platform they care about my business as much as I do.
Before Castiron, I was taking orders really manually, through emails or texts or Facebook. Now I can send customers straight to my website, and I don’t have to worry about missing any details.
I couldn't run my business without the Castiron platform. It made it so easy to get my shop up and running — it truly removed a massive barrier to me getting started!
I realized that the barrier of having to DM or text me to order was holding a lot of potential customers back.
Now that I have a professional website and a simple ecommerce checkout, I'm seeing a huge increase in new customers and they appreciate how easy Castiron makes ordering.
Easy to start, created specifically for local, handmade food: Castiron’s website builder was created to help you grow. Create a website in minutes with our templates, sell where and how your customers want to buy, and look professional without being technical. Keep customers coming back with email marketing tools, customer records, and more.
Food entrepreneurs, this is your moment. Your community is more and more conscious about what they buy and where it is from. They want food made with love. With ingredients they can pronounce. And they want to support their community while doing it.
Castiron is the best fit for your food business because we're not a one-size-fits-all tool. Selling local food is different from pre-packaged warehouse products. Whether you sell cooking classes, need local pick up, utilize pre-sales to plan inventory, or need a fully custom order form — we got you.
No code required. Add pages, sell your products, build order forms, and show off your beautiful work. We'll handle the tech so you can focus on growing your food business.
Never track down a payment or oversell products again. Real-time inventory tracking and secure payment processing make life easier for you and your customers, and our order form builder makes managing custom requests a breeze.
With our marketing tools, your email marketing can go on autopilot. We make it easy to promote your latest products, announce custom order availability, and stay connected with customers.