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Selling Homemade Food Online

Selling homemade food online can be a highly rewarding business. You’ll be selling home cooked food to the public, doing something you’re passionate about, and you’ll even be able to make money doing it. It is entirely possible to sell homemade food online, but there are some important things you’ll need to consider before you dive in. To understand how to make money selling food from home, you’ll need to know what goes into the process. 

Selling Food From Home

If you’re planning to sell food out of your home, online, you’ll need to make sure that your workspace is suitable for the task and that you’re going to be selling food that is legal to sell from home. You’ll need to understand your state’s cottage food laws. Cottage food laws, simply put, are laws that regulate the sale of goods that you can make and sell, generally in much smaller quantities than a restaurant or grocer would.

Ensuring You’re Qualified

Some states will require you to obtain a permit to sell food from home before you can sell cottage foods. This varies, from state to state, so you’ll need to be familiar with your state’s requirements and find out how to apply if your state requires qualifications. In California, for instance, you’ll need to obtain either a Class A Registration or a Class B Permit before you can sell cottage foods. In some instances, though, you can set up food operations that do not need permits. In Texas, for example, you won’t need a license, permit, or even inspections. 

Maintaining a Safe and Legal Workspace

Each state will have its own laws about the state of your kitchen, but you’ll need to ensure that your kitchen is compliant with state laws. For instance, in California, if you’re selling cottage foods with a Class B Cottage Foods Permit, you’ll be subject to annual inspections. In Texas, however, you will generally not be subject to health inspections. 

Choose Legally Compliant Foods

You’ll need to make sure that whatever you’re planning to sell is considered an approved cottage food in your state. In most states in the United States, these foods must be non-TCS foods (Time/Temperature Control for Safety) which means that they’re quite a bit less likely to spoil even if they aren’t refrigerated or frozen and that they’ll last longer before spoiling. 

The specific requirements vary by state, so you’ll need to check with your state’s regulatory agency and make sure that you’re making and selling food that falls within their definition of “Cottage Foods,” but some common examples include bread, jam, candy, and roasted nuts. These are foods that are generally safer to store and eat after longer periods. 

Other Considerations

There are a couple other things to keep in mind that will ensure you’re keeping everything above board and keeping your cottage food business safe and legal.

Knowing Your Market

Understanding your target market is essential for any successful business. Consider selling locally, because not only will it save you on shipping costs, but you’re likely familiar with the local tastes. Consider what people want when you’re determining what to sell. If you live in an area where pecan pie is all the rage during a certain time of year, this might be your go-to. If you’re living somewhere where people put mustard on everything, think about making mustard. It’s all about your target market. 

Going Online

Once you’ve made sure that you’re legally compliant, and you’ve identified your market needs, you might be wondering how to sell homemade food online. There are a few routes you could take if you are wondering how to sell food online. These routes include setting up a website with ordering information and having customers come by and pick up the food, selling through an app for selling home cooked food, and going through an online marketplace. Online marketplaces (think Amazon) are a well-established route to take, but you’ll need to ensure that you’re compliant with state guidelines and that you’ve accounted for delivery costs. Apps that allow selling food online are a highly popular option, as they allow you to streamline the entire process of marketing and selling, and connect you with lots of customers. 

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