Plenty of people can make some delicious dishes. If you’re one of them, you might wonder what it would take to sell some of your best dishes and make a little money from them. There are a lot of ways to go about starting such a business, and all of them will involve investment in online communication. In fact, social media might prove to be an essential part of your food business.
It turns out that selling food on Instagram is a real thing. You can sell home-cooked meals to people who are interested in buying your cooking. It’s a newer business model, and it is exploding in popularity. The overall concept is easy. Fire up your kitchen, and you can use Instagram for selling food from home.
In practice, things are a bit more complicated. If selling homemade food online sounds compelling, you’ll have to learn about your state and local commercial food regulations. Most likely, you’ll be attached to cottage food laws (more on that in the next section).
You also need a sustainable business model. You can’t just read a quick article about how to start selling food on Instagram. You have to map out your costs, sourcing and distribution. Sure, you can sell a batch of cookies every now and then as a side hustle. But, if you want to make this a living, you need to do your homework. The first thing to learn is the rules and regulations that will govern your new business.
If you want to know how to sell food from home legally, you have to look into state laws. In every state, it is legal to use Instagram to market your food business. That said, there are always rules in place, and they vary by state. There may be additional local rules as well.
For the most part, you have to learn about cottage food laws. This is a term given to the regulations that govern selling food from home. So, if you’re wondering, “is selling home cooked food illegal,” the answer depends. There is a legal way to do it, but you can’t just fire up your oven and assume that everything will work out just fine.
For most states, cottage food laws tell you when selling food on Facebook is illegal, and it largely depends on the type of food you sell. Many home kitchens can produce baked goods, pickled goods, jars and jams without a special license (although some states require a license even for these goods). These are food items that represent a particularly low risk for food-borne illnesses.
If you do find that you need a permit for your home kitchen, you’ll need to go through the proper channels in your state.
This leads to the obvious question: do I need a license to sell homemade food? As we already covered, that answer depends on the type of food and the state where you want to operate. For the most part, selling home cooked food to the public does require licensing, and the penalty for selling food without a permit will start with heavy fines. If someone suffers ill effects from an unlicensed food business, penalties can even include jail time.
For the most part, if you want to sell anything with meat or dairy, you will need the appropriate commercial food license. This means that you will have to go through a checklist to ensure that your kitchen is safe (pets are usually prohibited, as an example). You will likely have to have your workplace or components of the home formally inspected. This can include water inspections, sewage inspections, kitchen appliance inspections and a lot more.
When everything is approved and you are licensed, you can sell food that you make in your kitchen. You can use Instagram to find customers, and you can push the venture as far as you are willing to take it. It's time to optimize your profile, build a website, and start making sales!
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.
Never track down a payment or oversell products again. Real-time inventory tracking and secure payment processing make life easier for you and your customers, and our order form builder makes managing custom requests a breeze.
With our marketing tools, your email marketing can go on autopilot. We make it easy to promote your latest products, announce custom order availability, and stay connected with customers.