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How to Start an Online Food Business From Home

Would you like to turn your cooking hobby into an actual company?

Many people love to cook and bake at home. Making your own food from scratch is a uniquely rewarding activity. It nourishes you and your family, tastes great (hopefully!), and is a fun and creative outlet.

Perhaps you yourself are a well-known cook or baker among your circle of friends and family. Do people rave about your recipes and dishes? Have these friends and family members even suggested that you start your own bakery, restaurant, or online food business? Have you ever considered it?

While restaurants and bakeries are certainly worthwhile ideas, most people who first consider selling their edible creations will be particularly enticed by the idea of an online food business.

Choosing the top food business opportunities can be a challenge, however. There are so many options! If you’re not sure where to start, here are some of the top foods that are sold from home:

  • Non-refrigerated (packaged) baked goods
  • Candy and chocolate
  • Dry mixes (for baking or battering)
  • Fruit butters, jellies, and jams
  • Blends of herbs and spices
  • Nuts, snacks, and dried fruits
  • Trail mixes and pre-mixed granola blends
  • Syrups, pastes, sauces, and marinades
  • Nut butters
  • Pasta (dried)

Some of the questions that arise when discussing online cooking businesses and food ideas to sell from home are:

  • Can you sell homemade food online? Is it even legal? (Yes, it is!)
  • What licensing is required?
  • What permits are required?
  • Can I sell my foods anywhere in the country? Anywhere in the world?
  • And many more

In the article ahead, we’ll attempt to answer these questions. We’ll also outline the best home-based food business ideas and explain the basics of how to sell home cooked food online.

How to Start a Small Cooking Business From Home

So, you want to know how to start a small food business at home, and you’re ready to start right away — great! You should begin by making a food business checklist.

Before your official launch, you should have:

  • A great business idea (more on this below)
  • The capital you'll need to get started (even if it’s only a small amount)
  • The supplies and resources you require (for making your food, storing, packaging, delivering or mailing, etc.)
  • The proper licensing and permits (more on this below)
  • A user-friendly, attractive, and easy-to-find website
  • Accounts/profiles for other sites where you want to start selling (e.g. Amazon, Etsy, Instagram, etc.)

Food Business Ideas With Small Capital

When you want to know how to start food business from home, you first have to have that initial spark of an idea, right? Here are a few winning online food business ideas to consider:

  • Simply selling food products online (by mail)
  • Food delivery (you go to the customer)
  • Food takeaway (the customer comes to you)
  • Catering

All of these ideas have the potential to turn into successful endeavors — even if you don’t have a lot of capital to start out with.

Do I Need a License to Sell Food From My Home?

Yes, you will need licensing. Cottage laws in your country, region, and/or state will outline:

  • What you can sell
  • Where you can sell
  • How to sell your goods (storage and packaging requirements, etc.)
  • What earnings thresholds you need to stay under (before you are considered a legitimate food manufacturer)

Unfortunately, we cannot give you the exact details of these legal requirements as they will all depend upon what exactly you’re making and selling, your selling location, and where you plan to sell (the destination of your goods).

In addition, the requirements differ depending on whether you’re simply selling online, delivering food or providing takeaway, or offering catering services. For more on these requirements, conduct individual searches for:

  • How to start a food product business online (no physical contact with customers)
  • How to start a takeaway business from home
  • How to start a food delivery business from home
  • How to start a catering business from home with no money

Selling Homemade Food Online

Part of selling homemade food online is marketing. You’ll need channels and platforms online in order to advertise and push your brand. Fortunately, there are many useful tools and resources available to people who want to cook and bake for a living — whether you’re selling homemade food on Amazon, with your own website, or through a different channel or platform.

Your website is what you should set up first. Make sure it’s comprehensive, attractive, and user-friendly. Next, consider using one or several of these channels or platforms:

  • Etsy
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Amazon

Know the Legal Basics of Selling Food Online UK, North America, and Asia

When it comes to selling homemade food online Canada, the USA, UK, and Asia all have different requirements. These requirements change year by year. For example, with an online food business Philippines 2020 requirements might be different than Philippines 2121 requirements.

It’s also important to pare down where exactly you’ll be selling and target the laws there, not forgetting about the laws in your own country. For instance, in order to sell food online Malaysia online food companies need to know Malaysian food business permit and licensing laws as well as the permit and licensing laws in the countries where they’re selling.

Home Based Food Business 

It should go without saying that an endeavor like a home-based food business isn’t as simple as selling handmade scarves or whittled wood creations online. This is simply because people will be ingesting your creations, not just wearing them or setting them on their mantle or side table.

Making and selling food means you’ll need to consider health and safety concerns, and this means obtaining legal permits and licensing. Moreover, selling food from home in Texas requires different licensing than selling food from home in Ontario or somewhere else like the UK or Malaysia.

Legal Guide to Starting a Home-Based Food Business

You want to know how to sell food from home legally. That's good! If you do not consider the legal ramifications of your food-selling endeavor, you could be fined, shut down, or even go to jail. This isn't legal advice, so always be sure to check with your local regulators before starting your business.

Every state, region, and country has different laws regarding best home-based food business practices. Here are some general guidelines to consider.

  • Your legal journey will start when you choose your business structure. You might start a limited liability company or a corporation, for example. You could start even smaller with a sole proprietorship. Find out what you need for each of these structures.
  • Many home based food business names are already taken, so choose one that’s unique. Taking another business’s name can lead to being shut down or fined.
  • Licenses and permits must be obtained before you start production. This usually means going to your local government health department. Different required information and permits will be offered depending on your business’s practices. Most require things like a full list of ingredients and equipment used, an inspection, a kitchen floor plan, copies of product labels, etc.
  • Finally, most companies require insurance. This is for your own protection.

How to Start a Food Business

Do I need a license to sell homemade food? Do I need a permit to sell food from home? What are the rules on selling food from home?

These are all excellent questions and those that you should be asking as you begin to understand how to start a food business.

Here are the main areas you’ll want to touch on when it comes to setting up your food business from home ideas and launching your company. These are the things that the government/health department in your local area (and the area where you’ll be selling) will ask you about:

  • The ingredients you'll be using
  • The equipment you'll be using
  • How you’ll package your food
  • How you’ll store your food
  • How you’ll label your food
  • How you'll deliver/mail your food
  • The layout of your kitchen
  • The layout and maintenance of your delivery trucks or vehicles (if any)
  • Use instructions for your food (for example, expiration dates and cooking/baking instructions where applicable)
  • The cleanliness of your kitchen
  • Sanitation procedures
  • Who you will employ (if anyone)
  • The cleanliness and sanitation protocols followed by you and your employees
  • Your current licensing (if any)

How to Start a Food Business With No Money

So, you want to know how to make money selling food from home, but you don’t have any money to start with?

The good news is, this can be done. However, you will run into a few extra challenges. What we suggest is starting very small. Obtain all the necessary permits, licensing, ingredients and equipment you'll need. Then, make a simple website for an affordable amount, and sign up for free accounts with social media platforms.

Next, try selling just to if you people you already know: friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. This will keep the time you need to devote to your business small at the beginning. It will also keep your initial expenses small. Hopefully, you will be successful, and you can gain more capital and expand.

How to Start Food Business From Home in India

If you want to know how to start a small cooking business from home in India, here’s a short list of things to do to get started:

1. Find the perfect niche. Knowing how to start food business from home in Mumbai is different than knowing how to start food business from home in Bangalore. These regions have different markets, different customers, and different laws. Pay attention to this, and conduct market research in your region before choosing your niche — be it online selling, catering, delivery, or takeaway.

2. Outline your business plan, and choose an available business name. Your plan can be for yourself only or for presentation to a loan officer if you need a business loan. In your plan, include your niche, your company name, your initial capital needed, your selling and marketing tactics, your sales goals, and future business development.

3. Obtain the necessary permits and requirements. Check with your local health department or authorities to obtain the necessary licensing. You’ll need to outline your business model so that you can be observed for the appropriate licensing. You’ll likely need a kitchen inspection; to provide a full list of ingredients and equipment used; and to show authorities how and where you’ll be storing, labeling, and/or serving your food.

4. Develop your website and get on social media. Make your site professional and easy for anyone to use. Allow for simple perusal of your offerings and easy checkout and payment. Sign up for sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with your new company name.

5. Purchase the necessary ingredients and equipment. Buy what you need and only what you need to begin. You don’t want to overspend before you’ve started to make money from your business.

How to Start Catering Business From Home in India

Catering is slightly different than simply selling your goods online. You’ll not only be making your food right before it’s served, but you’ll probably be delivering and serving it as well. This means you’ll be acting more like a restaurant and may require a staff. Having employees means you’ll need to fulfill other government business requirements as well. Keep these points in mind as you move forward.

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