Start Selling Food From Home: 8 Business Ideas

July 17, 2023

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May 25, 2021

Your friends and family have finally gotten through to you. After sampling your food at family gatherings, dinner parties, and cookouts, you’ve heard enough of those magical words: “You should really sell these.”

If you’re ready to start selling food from home, there are several pathways you can take. Some home-based food makers prefer to focus on one specialty area, like cookies or canned goods. Others want to build a bigger, event-driven business through catering or private chef offerings. The right choice will depend on your business goals, your local cottage food laws, and what you’re passionate about. 

Keep reading for food ideas to sell from home: 

Sell baked goods from home

Do you make the best muffins in town? Maybe you sell the gooiest cookie dough or the biggest, most decadent brownies around. One of the most common product choices for food entrepreneurs who want to sell food from home is baked goods. Many states’ cottage industry laws permit the sale of baked goods that meet certain requirements, making them a popular starting point for budding business owners. 

Have you started your own home bakery? Sell your baked goods to your community on Castiron, the only ecommerce platform built for food artisans. Join our waitlist.

Start a home-based catering business

If you’re an event lover — or if you come from a catering background — an at-home catering business might be your forte. Catering for events is certainly no small task, but if you excel at cooking a variety of foods, it can be a lucrative business venture. Many caterers start off servicing smaller events, so there’s plenty of wiggle room for new catering business owners. If you specialize in a certain cuisine or type of event, you can market yourself and build a brand as an expert in that domain. 

One thing to keep in mind about catering is that you may need to invest in a few extra helpers on event days or leading up to an event. You may also consider using a home kitchen management app to keep track of inventory and orders for the events you cater. These may involve additional costs that you’ll need to make sure you can cover with your business profits. 

Open your own meal prep business

Meal prep is all the rage, from programs that cater to special diets to set-it-and-forget-it delivery services that take the work out of making dinner for the week. Most meal preparation companies select a niche to serve — maybe a type of cuisine, but more commonly, either heat-and-eat meals, or uncooked but portioned meals. Some entrepreneurs offer meal prep workshops. 

As with all of these food business ideas, make sure you’re aware of local rules and regulations around home-based food businesses. Research packaging and labeling requirements to make sure you’re running a legally compliant business.

Sell unique specialty food items

You might not be a baker, and that’s ok. Although baked goods tend to rise to the top of the list when it comes to independent food business ideas, there are plenty of other options for makers. Your state may have specific rules about what you can and cannot sell, so make sure you do your research. 

If you live on a farm and grow your own vegetables, you might sell homemade pickles or giardiniera. Maybe you make the best hot sauce or barbecue sauce you’ve ever tasted — you could bottle it and sell it. In general, shelf-stable foods tend to be the safest bet for your business, but you might decide to sell beverages, homemade crackers or snacks, candy, or even specialty compound butters. 

Offer personal chef services

If you love cooking but aren’t thrilled with the idea of preparing meals for potentially hundreds of guests, a personal chef business might be of interest to you. Personal chefs may work for one or multiple families who don’t have the time to cook their own meals. Many chefs prepare meals in bulk, delivering them to customers weekly or on a regular cadence. 

Because they work according to the needs of the families they serve, personal chefs often specialize in certain cuisines or diets. If you’re making meals for a family with a food allergy or intolerance, you’ll learn valuable skills that you can pass on to other customers.

Personal chefs are building their businesses on Castiron’s ecommerce platform, built just for food artisans. Join our waitlist today.

Teach cooking classes

Do you love to teach? Maybe you’re a lifelong learner who wants to share their knowledge with others. If you’re a pro at baking croissants or love cooking multi-course Peruvian meals, why not turn your passion into a class? It’s easy to advertise your services, too, opening your business up to an entirely new market. You can even design your business around working in your clients’ kitchens, so you don’t have to worry about a cooking space.

Focus on specialized nutritional and dietary needs

Nutritionists want to start their own food businesses, too. As a nutrition expert and a food lover, you can work with clients to create meal plans that help them achieve their nutritional goals. If you’re a cook, you can add meal preparation services on top of that. By focusing on specific dietary and nutritional needs, you can find a niche for your business.

Write a cookbook or start a blog

If you’re not ready to start your own business selling food, you can build a brand around making it. Start a blog or Instagram account to document your food knowledge and you might just build a following that allows you to pursue other business ventures down the line. Once you’ve compiled enough content on your blog or found your specialty, you might even consider writing and selling a cookbook. You can make money through affiliate marketing, advertising, and partnerships with brands. 

The options are nearly endless when it comes to starting a food business and selling homemade food online. If you’re ready to grow your food business, sign up for Castiron — the only ecommerce platform for home-based food entrepreneurs. 

About the Author
Emily Brungard

Growth Marketing Manager, Castiron

Emily is a sister, a friend, a cook, a world traveler, an interior design lover, and Growth Marketing Manager at Castiron. A career startup marketer, Emily has firsthand experience growing small businesses with marketing.

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