Do you know that home food processing and sales can be lucrative? It’s true! All 50 states now have “cottage food laws” that allow home-based bakers, chefs, and other food artisans to make delicious food at home and sell it to the public. Some people use a baking side hustle to earn a little extra money here and there, but others turn it into a full-blown business.
Public demand for broader cottage food laws is ongoing and increasing. Since 2016, 34 states plus Washington DC have either created new cottage food programs or expanded their existing programs. If you're considering becoming a home baker for money, then it's important to follow all of the laws and rules that are relevant to operating a business where you live.
While it's not very complicated to launch a baking business, there are rules on selling food from home to be mindful of. In most cases, the rules are limited to sales caps (how much money you can make), basic labeling requirements, acceptable sales venues, and the specific foods that you're allowed to offer.
Cottage food laws are similar in every state, but also unique. The best way to find out which laws pertain to you is to call your local health department. You may be required to take a food handling safety course, which normally costs less than $20. And depending on the state you live in, you may be subject to a home kitchen inspection before you're allowed to launch your operation.
And of course, there are other considerations, again, depending on where you live. The good news is that, regardless of your location, there are cottage food laws in place that will allow you to generate extra income by selling certain homemade foods, including your delicious baked treats!
Is it legal to sell baked goods from home? Is there a penalty for selling food without a permit? Will you need a domestic kitchen license?
Good questions, and ones that many people are asking today. It all depends on local cottage food law, which are the regulations for selling baked goods from home in a given state or county. There are some food operations that do not need permits, but others do.
Cottage food laws in Florida incorporate some of the finest features to promote entrepreneurship. The Sunshine State makes it simple to start your own home-based baking business. Floridians are not required to obtain a license or a permit in order to launch their cottage food operations. Plus, there are no home kitchen inspections to worry about either.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is in charge of cottage food law enforcement in the state. But they are relaxed and not trying to make life difficult for aspiring home-based food artisans. In fact, it’s the opposite: they want Floridians to be entrepreneurial and make money selling certain types of foods from their homes.
Florida House Bill 663 passed in June 2021, and raised the income cap to $250,000, which is quite a lot more than you're allowed to make in many other states. Florida also conveniently allows sales by mail delivery and to retailers, and it also prevents local governments from making additional laws that pertain to cottage food producers.
Really, the only thing you have to do, in Florida, to begin a cottage food home-based business, is to begin cooking and selling!
Selling baked goods from home in PA isn’t as simple and laid-back as it is in Florida. Pennsylvania cottage food laws are still being written. However, currently, home-based bakers and chefs are allowed to sell their creations under the “Limited Food Establishment Program.”
There are several steps involved in getting set up to launch a home-based food business in Pennsylvania. It typically takes up to four weeks, but once you go through the motions, Pennsylvania can be a great state to be a home baker in. Unlike various other states, PA allows sales in retail stores, restaurants, online, and via the mail.
Once you have your license to sell food in PA, you'll enjoy the fact that there is no sales cap whatsoever. That's unusual. Most states do limit the amount of money that home bakers can make, and most of them are not set as high as Florida’s $250,000/yr. Pennsylvania goes further with no annual sales cap!
Tennessee SB 693 went into effect in April 2022. It made it so that TN home-based food entrepreneurs can legally hire full-time employees to support their operations. It also prevents local municipalities from imposing additional regulations on home food producers.
It couldn’t be much easier to begin selling baked goods from home in Tennessee. You will not require a Tennessee food permit, and there are few Tennessee home-based business laws to abide by. All you have to do to begin selling home-baked foods in Tennessee is decide that you want to, and then start cooking and selling.
Like Pennsylvania, Tennessee imposes no sales cap on home-based food entrepreneurs in the state. Cottage food laws in Tennessee are not restrictive at all, allowing statewide sales via the Internet, telephone, direct, and third-party transactions.
Home bakers in Tennessee are required to label the foods that they sell. Each label must at least list your name, address, the name of the food, its production date, the weight of the food, and the ingredients that the food contains, in order, by predominance of weight.
Labels on all cottage foods sold in TN must also include this statement: “This product was produced at a private residence that is exempt from state licensing and inspection. This product may contain allergens.”
Do you have to have a permit to sell food from home in Texas? No, you don’t need one.
However, all Texas-based cottage cooks are required to complete an approved food handler’s course before beginning to make and sell their foods. Other than that, it’s very easy to get started as a home food producer in the Lone Star State.
Texas cottage food law 2022 limits the types of foods you can offer. However, there are quite a few acceptable foods that you can bake, including Bagels, Breads, Biscuits, Brownies, Cakes, Churros, Cookies, Cones, Danishes, Doughnuts, Muffins, Pastries, Pies, Pizzelles, Rolls, Scones, and Tortillas. Now that’s a lot of choices for bakers to capitalize on!
Selling baked goods from home in Texas can definitely be an excellent side hustle or full-time business. The state does impose an income cap of $50,000, which is primarily done to encourage cottage cooks to grow their operations into full-scale restaurants or food prep facilities.
Home bakery sales transactions may be completed at concession stands, community events, farmers’ markets, and online. You may also offer delivery or home pickup. Currently, indirect or wholesale transactions are not permitted in Texas. You may not sell your baked goods to restaurants.
Are you wondering about how to sell baked goods from home or where to sell baked goods online? It’s OK, lots of people are!
Currently, 43 states and Washington DC allow home-based bakers to sell their foods online, but most limit sales to be only within state boundaries.
22 states and the District of Columbia allow home bakers to sell their food products in retail outlets like restaurants and grocery stores. Further, 35 states plus Washington DC allow home food businesses to deliver cottage food products by mail, within state boundaries.
Every farmer's market has its own unique rules. The best way to learn about them is to stop by and ask the manager on the premises. Take a walk around and talk to other vendors. You'll gain valuable information about setting up a booth of your own and selling your delicious home-baked goods for sweet cash!
Without a doubt, the best website to sell your home-baked foods on is Castiron. Castiron is much more than a website builder and food ordering template. It's a complete suite of tools and services that every home-based food entrepreneur needs. Our state-of-the-art platform gives home bakers everything they need to launch, manage, and grow their businesses.
Castiron incorporates features to manage your inventory, customer data, communications, marketing, payment processing, and order fulfillment. You can launch your professional home bakery website within just minutes, and you won't even need a credit card to do it.
If you're psyched-up about beginning a home-based bakery or another type of home food service, learn why we are the world's best resource for aspiring and existing home-based bakers. We have the tools independent culinary artisans need and are waiting to help you!
Castiron is free for cottage bakers to use. That's right, it's 100% free forever.
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.
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