If you're a homemade food artisan, handcrafted culinary chef, or simply a good cook with a great idea for a home-based food service business, then you'll want to know the basics of cottage food laws and just what types of foods can be sold directly from home to consumer.
Cottage industries date back to the early 1800s, before the large scale production of food and consumer goods existed. Items were handcrafted and foods were grown, slaughtered, and/or cooked and sold by local community members.
Today, best selling cottage foods are those food products and dishes that are prepared in someone's home or other non-commercial kitchen location and sold directly to the consumer. Cottage foods are sold from homes, roadside stands, farmer's markets, food trucks, kiosks, fairs, and other such places.
Cottage food laws by state will and each state has different agencies to make sure cottage food laws are followed to protect the health and safety of the general public. These state agencies include the Department of Agriculture, Departments of Health and Human Services, and local and state business regulatory agencies.
No matter the state you live in, you should become very familiar with how to obtain a cottage food license and a business permit. You will also want to know if your state requires any training or certification in food safety and if there is a requirement to have your home kitchen inspected by the health department.
The cottage food laws by state were put into effect to clarify which foods are safe for preparation and distribution from a non-commercial kitchen, and from which locations cottage foods cannot be sold - such as restaurants and stores.
The fun part about starting a home-based food service is selecting which cottage foods you will decide to prepare and sell. There is a wide range of low-risk foods that you can cook, bake, smoke, pickle, can, dehydrate, or candied.
Some of the best selling cottage foods are baked goods such as cakes, cookies, pies, and breads. But today, many people have artisan sauces and spreads that can also be safely prepared and sold. Here is a list of cottage foods published by the state of Georgia that are commonly deemed safe for sale from a residential kitchen in most states:
Even more important than what you can sell as a cottage food, is what food items you cannot sell. These include high-risk foods that have the capacity to spoil, decay, or cause food-borne illness if not stored at specific temperatures.
If any of your recipes contain a banned cottage food product, then consider making substitutions to prevent passing foodborne illnesses to the public.
When cooking your foods in a residential kitchen, you'll need to know how to sell food from home legally. For example, what are the requirements for advertising and/or selling homemade food online? LIke any other enterprise worth starting, you will need to do your homework to find out do you need a license to sell baked goods from home in your state.
For certain, you will want to be well organized and let the public know about your business by publishing a cottage food website that describes your food selections, pricing, and any food pick-up or delivery options. While you can certainly post flyers, door hangers, and other advertisements locally, right within your neighborhood, don't stop there.
Almost everyone today finds out about a new business in their community by doing an internet search. You should have a cottage food website built on e-commerce software specifically designed for organizing a cottage food business. This makes it so you can easily and quickly handle the business side of your new launch, so you can focus on preparing and selling your foods.
For example, Castiron is a mobile platform that supports a community of home-based food operators. It contains everything you need to build and grow your home kitchen business. Not only can you easily create your online store to sell homemade foods, it has tools for keeping up with your kitchen inventory, making and tracking sales and deliveries, and important marketing tools to let the world know that you are up and running as a bonafide residential-based kitchen operation.
It is so essential for home chefs to be a part of this larger community, where tips for success are shared - such as how to photograph and post your foods, how to launch a food business, and how to sell food on e-commerce websites like Facebook Marketplace and the Amazon Grocery & Gourmet Food category.
To get all the website tools you need to successfully launch your home-based food business, visit Castiron to launch your culinary business today!
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.
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