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If you want to know how to sell food from home legally, there are various avenues you can take to reach customers.
Depending on the state you live in, there are a number of ways you can sell food to customers without having to go through kitchen inspections or other barriers common in commercial food businesses. We'll give you some tips on how to set up your business at home, how to sell homemade food online, and share some other ways you can share your creations.
It's important to know, first and foremost, what is cottage food law and how it will affect your food business. Cottage food laws are those laws that allow you to sell food to customers straight from your home. These laws will vary state to state and even city to city, so it's important to check with your local health department for any details. Below are some details to remember before you launch your food business.
Most cottage food laws require people to only sell cottage food which is non-perishable and can be kept outside of the refrigerator. These include foods that don't contain dairy or any meat products.
Foods you can sell from home include:
If you plan on selling baked goods from home or other cottage foods, make sure they are part of the allowed non-perishable items allowed by your state. For instance, some states might allow baked goods with fruit fillings to be sold, while other states do not.
In general, you can only sell cottage foods directly to consumers. Some states, such as California, will allow you to sell commercial retailers with a special license.
For the most part, however, you will need to make sure your goods are sold directly to the consumer through delivery, pick-up, or from a farm-stand. Below are some of the avenues that you can take to sell your food from home. These will vary state to state, so make sure to always double-check with your local health department for specific rules.
Selling from home is perhaps the easiest way to sell homemade food. Customers can come to your home and pick up their goods, and you can accept payment directly from home. This is a simple way to sell foods, since you are selling directly to the customer, which is allowed in every state with cottage food laws.
One of the best ways to share your food is to sell through an online app or website! Selling homemade food online is generally only allowed if the food is hand-delivered to your customer, or if they come to your home and pick up the food themselves. If you live in Pennsylvania, however, you're in luck, as they are one of the only states that allow you to ship your food to customers crossing state lines.
Once you've determined whether you will need to deliver your food or have your customer pick it up, you can use an app that allows you to fulfill orders through these methods. For instance, Castiron allows you to fulfill orders through pickup, delivery, or shipping! If you're wondering how to sell food online without an app, you can also set up a website to sell to customers. Make sure your website protects your customers' payment information and ensures their privacy.
As we mentioned earlier, some states will allow you to sell to commercial retailers such as restaurants, grocery stores, even online giants such as Amazon. However, you might have to go through these third-party stores and follow their requirements before selling your goods.
For instance, if you're wondering how to sell on Amazon Fresh, you will need to be invited by Amazon, as selling is done on an invite-only basis.
Other restaurants or grocery stores might only agree to sell certain foods, such as baked goods, cookies, candy, or desserts.
Finally, one of the main ways you can sell your food is to sell through events. For instance, many states allow homemade food to be sold at farmers markets. These are public areas where various home cooks meet to sell their products to others. Other states allow home cooks to sell through major events or through food stands.
The bottom line - do your research to determine what's the best way to sell food online so you can start selling home cooked food to the public. If your state allows you to sell food online, use a free online platform like Castiron to help you fulfill orders and grow your business!
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