The Best Small Scale Food Business Ideas and Resources - Kids, Cash and Chaos (2022)

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Five years ago I had a two year old and an infant when I jumped in to starting a small scale food business. I wasn’t thinking about where I was going with this business, I just started baking.

At that point, I had recently realized that I was suffering from Postpartum depression and was trying to do more things for myself. I love to bake and my Aunt and Uncle wanted to offer gluten free baked goods for their cafe so it seemed like a win-win situation.

My scatterbrained start actually lead to a real, profitable business. It took some time but I found a niche, created some great products and started wholesaling.

I can’t say I recommend starting a business with so little thought, but since you are here looking at food business ideas you are probably trying to plan better than I did. My site has tons of resources that can help you including Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Small Scale Business.This will lead you to all sorts of helpful resources for starting and running your own business.

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The Best Small Scale Food Business Ideas and Resources - Kids, Cash and Chaos (1)

Do Your Research

Before starting a food business you need to do some serious research about the laws in your area. Every place is different and you could be dealing with overlapping laws for your city and state. Do a Google search of “Cottage Food Laws in (Your City and State)” to get started.

This article from the Small Business Association also list many of the national laws that have to do with food safety and labeling. And this article has a list of state agencies that issue licenses and permits.

You can also find a ton of resources at Small Food Business. There are many articles about Cottage Food Laws by state and you can read all about my granola business!

If you are in an area where you can’t certify your home kitchen, don’t despair! There are many different ways to bring a food product to market.

Do a search for commercial kitchens for rent to see if there are any spaces that rent by the hour. When I outgrew my home kitchen I was able to find a commercial kitchen I could rent and continue to produce my granola myself.

Another option is to use a copacker that will make and package your product for you. Then all you need to do is sell it!

Small Food Business Ideas

Baker

Whether you are baking from your home kitchen or using a copacker there are hundreds of different products you can make. Create a niche with your flavors, items, decorating style or even what you leave out!

  • Cookies – individual or in gift baskets.
  • Muffins – sell on Saturday mornings at your local farmer’s market.
  • Cupcakes – They have been all the rage in the last few years and don’t seem to be slowing down.
  • Bread – Is there anything in the world as yummy as fresh bread? The answer is always no.

Candy Maker or Chocolate Maker

Candy and chocolates sell great packaged as gifts for easy giving. Or let businesses offer them for individual sale at the counter. If you develop a large variety you can set up at markets and sell yourself too.

Ice Cream Maker

This might be a seasonal business depending on where you live but offering specialty ice cream can be a great business. You might be able to figure out a way to sell at local tourist destinations with a truck or stand. Package your ice cream in pints to sell locally or open a seasonal ice cream stand.

Caterer or Personal Chef

Whether you offer entire meals, desserts, or sandwich platters you can find customers for prepared food. Look around your area and see what is already being offered. Find a way to be different from your competition and you will stand out.

You can work out of your licensed kitchen or a commercial kitchen near by when you are doing large parties. You can also consider using the clients kitchen in certain situations. If your customer is looking more for meal prep using their kitchen can be perfect.

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Cake Decorator

Wedding, birthday parties, graduations, or holidays all call for fancy cakes! If you are an expert cake decorator you can make some good money with this kind of business.

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Cooking Class Teacher

Are you an expert in a certain type of cooking such as gluten free or Italian? Teach a class! Focus on kids, couples or easy dinners for Moms and get the word out there!

Canning Foods

Got a secret sauce that your friend’s can’t get enough of? Can it! Some things can be done only in canning facilities depending on acidity and ingredients, so do some research on your local Cottage Food Laws.

  • Sauces
  • Jams and Jellies
  • Dressings
  • Pickles

Food Truck

There are Food Trucks popping up all over now, not just big cities. This can be combined with other ideas such as baked goods or an ethnic specialty.

Juice or Smoothie Bar

Fresh juice and wholefood smoothies are all the rage right now. Not ready for a shop? What about a delivery service?

Nutrition Counseling

There are many people who need help with regular nutrition planning. Get certified and offer your services to help others become healthy.

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Tea Blending

Herbal teas or traditional tea blends are very popular. They can be sold in bulk or individual tea bags. Wholesale to local tea shops or retail in stores and markets.

Coffee Roasting

Offer locally roasted coffee to local coffee shops and restaurants. Sell by the pound in retail shops or local food stores. Sourcing sustainability grown, fair trade coffee makes for an even better product!

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Cheese Maker

There are many types of specialty cheese that can be made with a variety of milk types. Cows milk, goat or sheep milk or even vegan cheese from nut milk!

Gourmet Popcorn

Flavored popcorn, kettle corn or snack mixes are a great food to sell at markets or events. Prepackaged they can be sold in stores or online.

Bartender for Hire

Are you a bartender? Rent your skills out at parties or events. Clients provide the supplies so all you have to do is show up!

Coffee Service

With the popularity of K-cups lot of offices keep a stock of cups for employees to use. Start a business keeping the office stocked with cups and other supplies. Buying the K-cups in bulk will help you to offer them at a competitive rate.

Farmer’s Market

There are tons of things you can sell at a Farmer’s Market. From fresh baked goods, jams and jellies to produce or flowers you grow in your own garden. All you need is a tent and a table to get started.

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Fresh Pasta

Another item you can make and package for either retail or wholesale.

Food Blogger

Love to cook and take pictures of it? Become a food blogger? You need to be able to take beautiful pictures of your food to be a popular food blogger now, but blogger can be very profitable.

Herb and Spices

Provide small quantities of specialty herbs and spices for cooks who don’t want to buy in bulk.

Vending Machines

There are traditional vending machines but there are also lots of new models that include healthy foods and drinks.

I hope this list of food business ideas helped inspire you in all the different ways you can get started. There are so many different ideas out there. Take your time and plan a sustainable business to set yourself up for a profitable future.

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FAQs

What is small food business? ›

Started by a food entrepreneur over 10 years ago when the search for food business specific information turned up nothing, the goal of Small Food Business is to provide a community for food artisans and entrepreneurs along with the tools and resources needed to be successful in today's marketplace.

Is food a good business? ›

As we know, food is our primary need. We can resist from buying new clothes, but it will be hard to resist hunger. This is why food business is one of the most profitable business in the world. Compared to other sectors such as retail and fashion, the food and beverage industry is rising in popularity.

Can I sell food from my house UK? ›

If you want to sell food in the UK, you need to apply for food business registration through the government website. This is free, but needs to be done at least 28 days before you plan on selling food from home.

What is the easiest food to sell? ›

Easy Food To Sell To Make Money
  • Candy and other confectionery.
  • Cookies, pastries, and other baked goods.
  • Dry herbs, seasonings, and herb mixes.
  • Homemade fresh bread.
  • Hummus and other dips.
  • Jams, jellies, and other preserves.
  • Nuts, coated, and uncoated.
  • Pickles and other pickled vegetables.

What food sells the most? ›

The Number 1 Most Popular Foods in America are Hamburgers!
  • Potato Chips.
  • Donuts.
  • Ice Cream.
  • Chicken Tenders.
  • Soft Drinks/Soda.
  • Pizza.
  • Oreo Cookies.
  • French Fries.
7 Sept 2021

Which food can I sell to make money? ›

Food business ideas: 13 products and services you can sell
  • Food truck. Food trucks have become an especially popular way to get into the food business. ...
  • Ice cream shop. Ice cream is one of the world's most beloved deserts. ...
  • Cooking classes. ...
  • Personal chef. ...
  • Coffee shop. ...
  • Meal kits. ...
  • Baked goods. ...
  • Sauces.
27 Aug 2021

What food makes the most profit? ›

List of Most Profitable Food Businesses -Sorted by Highest Profit Margin:
  • Honey production – 30% average profit margin.
  • Coffee shop – 25% average profit margin.
  • Popcorn business – 22% average profit margin.
  • Custom cakes – 19% average profit margin.
  • Chicken poultry -17% average profit margin.
  • Pizza – 15% average profit margin.

What business can I start with food? ›

Food business ideas: 8 products and services you can sell
  • Food truck. If you don't fancy being tied to a single location, then opening a food truck business is the option for you. ...
  • Gourmet popcorn shop. ...
  • Cooking classes. ...
  • Coffee shop. ...
  • Meal kits. ...
  • Baked goods. ...
  • Jam and jelly. ...
  • Baby food.
22 Mar 2022

Which business profit is more? ›

Which Industries Are Most Profitable?
IndustryNet Profit Margin
Financial services8.87% to 32.33%
Software-10.36% to 29.04%
Real estate-3.17% to 21.77%
Health care2.42% to 16.64%
5 more rows
31 Aug 2022

Can I run a cafe from my home? ›

You'll need to get a general business license that pertains to your jurisdiction. If your city doesn't have a business licensing department you can get the license from your local tax office. You may need to look into getting a professional license for your home-based coffee shop as well.

Do you need a Licence to sell food for charity? ›

Food organisations that donate food such as charities and homeless shelters and people who produce food in their home for members of the public; jam making, cake baking, etc. will also need to be registered.

How can I make money from cooking at home? ›

Here are 13 ways to make money cooking at home!
  1. Teach Cooking Classes. ...
  2. Join a Direct Sales Business Opportunity. ...
  3. Sell Cooking Class Subscriptions Online. ...
  4. Apps for Selling Home Cooked Food. ...
  5. Earn Money as a Recipe Writer. ...
  6. Become a Food Blogger. ...
  7. Watch Cooking Shows. ...
  8. Start a Cooking Channel on YouTube.
24 Aug 2021

How do I start a profitable food business? ›

For now, here's a quick overview:
  1. Decide what kind of food product you will sell.
  2. Validate your product ideas.
  3. Develop a business plan.
  4. Start building your brand.
  5. Start building your online store.
  6. Find and grow your audience.
27 Aug 2021

What is the best homemade food to sell? ›

BEST EASY FOOD TO SELL
  • Garlic bread.
  • Calzone.
  • Vegetables – are pretty easy to sell in general, but bad side of selling them is little markup.
  • Shaved ice.
  • Pretzels.
  • Sweet potato fries.
  • Bruschetta.
  • Fried shrimps.

What is the #1 food in the world? ›

Pizza is the topmost liked food in the world. Today you can find pizza in almost every corner of the world. This traditional Italian dish is made of flattened round dough topped with cheese, and tomatoes, and additionally garnished with basil, olives, and oregano.

What food can I sell in summer? ›

5 Fun Food Business Ideas for the Summer
  • 1 Lemon Bars.
  • 2 Homemade Spanish-Style Sardines.
  • 3 Chocolate Chip Cookies.
  • 4 Filipino Streusel-Topped Buko Pie.
  • 5 Quick Pickled Green Mangoes.
16 May 2017

What is in the food? ›

Food is mainly composed of water, lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. Minerals (e.g. salts) and organic substances (e.g. vitamins) can also be found in food. Plants, algae and some microorganisms use photosynthesis to make their own food molecules.

What food can I sell from home in India? ›

7 home-made food items you can sell online
  • Pickles: Pickles have a unique flavour that enhances the taste of any meal, no matter how bland it otherwise may be. ...
  • Spices and Masalas: India is a land of spices. ...
  • Snacks: Snacking is one of the most favourite pastimes for many of us.
22 Jun 2017

How can I start a business with no money? ›

Here are some tips on how to start a business with no money.
  1. Vet Your Business Idea. ...
  2. Tap Into Free Resources. ...
  3. Network With Communities of Support. ...
  4. Live on Personal Savings. ...
  5. Look for Alternate Funding Options.
6 Jul 2022

What menu item has the highest profit margin? ›

Pasta Dishes

This is because a large proportion of their menu is pasta-based dishes such as ravioli, spaghetti and pasta, which are all made from cheaply sourced durum wheat. These dishes can also be vegan and made with toppings such as olives and mushrooms which makes it an even highest profit margin food item.

What food has the highest markup? ›

These Foods Have the Highest Markups in Restaurants
  • Drinks. Whether it's wine, cocktails or soda, this is where most restaurants consistently levy the highest markups. ...
  • Pasta. ...
  • Edamame. ...
  • Fried Rice. ...
  • Eggs.
10 Feb 2017

What food can I make at home and sell? ›

People who manufacture food at home can only sell low-risk foods such as coffee and tea blends, dry foods such as granola, chips and popcorn, baked goods such as breads, cookies and some cakes, and jams and preserves. Many food items fall within acceptable parameters.

Which business is best for students? ›

Ideas for Local Businesses Founded by College Students
  1. Tutoring Business. If you excel in a particular subject, help your fellow students as a tutor. ...
  2. Cleaning Business. ...
  3. Essay Writing. ...
  4. Delivery Service. ...
  5. Plan Local Events. ...
  6. Personal Trainer. ...
  7. Photography Business. ...
  8. Food Delivery Services.
2 Aug 2022

What business can I start with 5k? ›

If you need a little more help brainstorming, here are six businesses you can start for under $5,000.
  • Tutoring or Online Courses. ...
  • Make a product and sell it online. ...
  • Open a consulting business. ...
  • Create an app or game. ...
  • Become a real estate mogul. ...
  • Virtual Assistant.
1 May 2022

What is the cheapest most profitable business to start? ›

If you want to start a low-cost business, these 25 ideas will help inspire your entrepreneurial passion.
  1. Content creation. ...
  2. Personal or virtual assistant. ...
  3. Event planning services. ...
  4. Errand/concierge service. ...
  5. Professional reviewer. ...
  6. Social media consultant. ...
  7. Etsy shop. ...
  8. Online courses and tutoring.

What are the cheapest foods to make? ›

Meals to Make When You Have No Money
  • 1.) Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This one's a bit obvious, but PB&J is a classic staple and a REALLY simple meal. ...
  • 2.) Pasta and jarred sauce. ...
  • 3.) Bean and cheese burritos. ...
  • 4.) Pancakes/waffles. ...
  • 5.) Grilled cheese sandwiches. ...
  • 6.) Chili cheese dogs. ...
  • 7.) Sloppy Joes. ...
  • 8.) Goulash.
27 Oct 2021

How can I earn fast money? ›

Other Ways To Make Money Quickly
  1. Become a Ride-Share Driver. Average income of up to $377 per month. ...
  2. Make Deliveries for Amazon or Uber Eats. ...
  3. Become a Pet Sitter or Dog Walker. ...
  4. Get a Babysitting Gig. ...
  5. Install Christmas Lights for the Holidays. ...
  6. Become a Home Organizer. ...
  7. Help With Home Gardening. ...
  8. Assist With Deliveries or Moving.
19 Nov 2021

What can I make and sell for extra money? ›

10 Things You Can Make and Sell for Extra Cash
  • Jewelry.
  • Art/Décor.
  • Soap/Bath Products.
  • Candles.
  • Sewn Items.
  • Organizers.
  • Decorative Dishes, Cups, and Glasses.
  • Magnets/Pins.
18 Jun 2020

What food business is most profitable? ›

List of Most Profitable Food Businesses -Sorted by Highest Profit Margin:
  • Food Trucks – 7% average profit margin.
  • Candy Stores – 6 to 8% profit margin.
  • Bakeries – 4 to 9% profit margin.
  • Ice cream shops – 3 to 19%
  • Restaurants – 3 to 5% average profit margin.
  • Grocery stores – 2% profit margin (organic and natural foods 5-10%)

What food can I make at home and sell? ›

People who manufacture food at home can only sell low-risk foods such as coffee and tea blends, dry foods such as granola, chips and popcorn, baked goods such as breads, cookies and some cakes, and jams and preserves. Many food items fall within acceptable parameters.

How do you get rich in the food industry? ›

7 Ways To Make Your Restaurant More Profitable
  1. Reduce Food Costs. It makes sense that the cost of food is a big deal for restaurants. ...
  2. Reduce overhead. ...
  3. Teach your staff how to upsell. ...
  4. Utilize a Good POS. ...
  5. Sell Merch. ...
  6. Manage reordering and inventory. ...
  7. Make sure you're marketing.

How can I make money cooking for others? ›

Here are 13 ways to make money cooking at home!
  1. Teach Cooking Classes. ...
  2. Join a Direct Sales Business Opportunity. ...
  3. Sell Cooking Class Subscriptions Online. ...
  4. Apps for Selling Home Cooked Food. ...
  5. Earn Money as a Recipe Writer. ...
  6. Become a Food Blogger. ...
  7. Watch Cooking Shows. ...
  8. Start a Cooking Channel on YouTube.
24 Aug 2021

What can I sell to earn money? ›

What can I sell to make money from home easily? 30 great ideas
  • Sell old clothes. If you have some clothing that's in decent condition, but you no longer wear it, try selling it. ...
  • Make jewelry. ...
  • Repurpose old phones. ...
  • Make decorative coffee mugs. ...
  • Make t-shirts. ...
  • Sell furniture. ...
  • Create planners or PDFs. ...
  • Get paid to write.
28 Jul 2022

Which food has the highest profit margin? ›

On average the highest profit margin food includes meat-free vegan and vegetarian dishes which utilise vegetables, pulses and legumes, sauces-based cuisines such as curries, chilli and soups, and other items which have low-cost base ingredients such as pizza and pasta.

What food has the highest markup? ›

These Foods Have the Highest Markups in Restaurants
  • Drinks. Whether it's wine, cocktails or soda, this is where most restaurants consistently levy the highest markups. ...
  • Pasta. ...
  • Edamame. ...
  • Fried Rice. ...
  • Eggs.
10 Feb 2017

What is the most popular food truck item? ›

Top 20 Food Truck Menus
  • Barbecue.
  • Amped-up Hamburgers.
  • Reinvented Hot dogs.
  • Coffee Trucks.
  • Smoothie / Healthy Drink Trucks.
  • “Grown-up” grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Beef Sliders (Variation on hamburgers.)
  • Cupcakes and desserts.
27 Nov 2019

Is it worth owning a food truck? ›

If you're looking for a money-making business idea, a food truck is a great one. Successful food trucks can bring in more than $500,000 per year, with startup costs around $40,000. Starting a food truck generally takes three to 12 months and requires these nine steps: Research local food trucks and laws.

What food sells best online? ›

12 best food products to sell in 2021
  • 1: Organic eggs. ...
  • 2: Vegan cheese. ...
  • 3: Plant-based meat alternatives. ...
  • 4: Immune-boosting superfood. ...
  • 5: Matcha tea. ...
  • 6: Vegan candy. ...
  • 7: Edible flowers. ...
  • 8: Plant protein.
3 Jun 2021

What foods can you sell online? ›

What Food Can You Sell From Home in California?
  • baked goods without custard, cream, or meat fillings (including breads, biscuits, churros, cookies, pastries, and tortillas)
  • dry baking mixes.
  • candy, such as toffee or nut brittle.
  • dried fruit.
  • chocolate-covered nonperishable foods, such as nuts and dried fruit.

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