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How to Sell Food on Instagram

If you are looking to use Instagram to advertise and sell your homemade food products, you’ll need to make sure that you are fully aware of the rules and regulations that come with using the social media platform for your business. You may have questions — such as, do you need a business license to sell on Instagram? Can you sell on Instagram without a website? Are there any Instagram selling fees that you need to keep track of? — when it comes to selling food on Instagram. Questions are a part of the process and they help you to create the most effective (and legal) social media store for your business.

Before you can get into the more specific details of your business — such as how to start a baking Instagram account or how to sell cakes on Instagram — you need to know what is allowed and what is not allowed. For example, you will need to ensure that you are following any local regulations for selling food from a home kitchen before you can legally sell your homemade food online. For more specific food business from home regulations, you should be able to do a web search and find your local as well as national laws and rules to follow.

Innovative Ideas for Food Business

As society continues to embrace the world of e-commerce more fully, many small businesses are finding themselves needing to find new and innovative ways to catch the attention of their customers and expand their audiences. This is where having so many different online food business ideas, such as having a website and social media accounts, can be so helpful.

Just like any other business, coming up with unique food business ideas can be what differentiates your business from your competitors and convinces your customers to place their orders with you rather than the bigger bakery company down the street. Using social media to sell your food can actually be one of the more profitable food business ideas because making an Instagram page does not take a lot of time or resources to create and maintain and it can bring with it incredible rewards — such as increased visibility and accessibility to a wider audience.

Do I Need a License to Sell Food on Instagram?

There is a long answer and a short answer to this question, and the short answer is it depends. The reality is that whether or not you need licensure completely depends on the state you are in, and their cottage food laws. To find out if you need a license or not for your business, you can look up your state’s regulatory process. This will typically be run through your state’s department of health.

Failure to comply with proper licensing practices can result in fines and sometimes even jail time as well. So, before you begin shipping out your delicious homemade creations, be sure to get any licensing that you need from your state.

How to Start Selling Baked Goods on Instagram

Once you’ve figured out all of the licensing details you are ready to start thinking about what you want to sell on your Instagram account. For example, if you specialize in creating delicious cookies you may want to look for inspiration or tips on how to sell cookies on Instagram effectively. Similarly, if you have the all-time best brownie bakery, it may be useful to look for tips and tricks that other bakeries may use to see how to sell brownies on Instagram.

Maybe you don’t actually want to sell any form of baked goods at all and you are wondering how to start a cooking Instagram account where you show your customers all of the amazing homemade meals and snacks that you could provide for them. No matter what type of food you are wanting to sell on your Instagram account, there are likely to be Instagram food business ideas, examples, and tips that other social media food businesses have created that can help you to have a successful food business Instagram account. 

Food Businesses on Instagram

Your food business Instagram account can be as simple or as creative as you want — it is only limited by your own imagination and creativity. So, if you want to make a more humorous account you can look at examples of funny food Instagram accounts, if you want a more focused and storefront-centric account it may be helpful to look at bakery Instagram posts that highlight that bakery’s items, fulfillment methods, and other more business-related details.

It can also be helpful to look at examples of what other food businesses use to describe their pages on the platform. You can do this by looking at some of the food businesses that you may already follow on Instagram or you could do a web search for something like “description for food page on Instagram.” Another thing that can be great to look at examples for is coming up with Instagram food page name ideas. You may be able to use the name of your food business — if you already have one — but it also may be taken on the social media platform already so you may need to brainstorm a little bit.

What to Know Before Selling Food on Instagram

If you want to know how to start selling food on Instagram, there are a few things to think about. First, is selling food on Instagram legal? Is selling food on social media a successful business model? Is all of this really going to be worth your time? We can answer all of these questions and help you figure out if this is something you want to try.

Let’s start with regulations. Is selling food illegal if you don’t own a commercial kitchen? That answer can be a little complicated, but generally speaking, there are legal ways to sell food from your own kitchen. You have to look up the local rules, but as long as you follow them, you can proceed.

That means that selling food on social media is also legal. As long as your kitchen is not violating health laws, you have the freedom to pursue this path.

So, knowing it’s legal, we have to address the next issue. Does selling food on Instagram really work? The answer to that is a resounding yes. There are countless food business owners that promote and sell their food via Instagram. The process is simple enough. Show your followers what you cook and let them DM you to place an order. It works with Facebook and other social media outlets too. Of course, it's easier to make sales if you have a website.

So the real question is whether or not this is worth your time. Only you can really decide that. To help you weigh your options, we can dive deeper into these topics. We can talk about what it takes to make a food account for Instagram and Facebook. We can explain the regulations at play. When you see it all laid out, you can determine if that’s something you want to do with your time and effort.

How to Start an Instagram Food Account

If you want to know how to start an Instagram food account, it starts by figuring out the basics of your business model. You need to know what you want to sell. Perhaps more importantly, you need to know what you will call your business. It helps with promoting food Instagram content when your business name matches the Instagram account name.

As for using Instagram to promote your food, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, pictures will always be worth more than words. You can have both, but tantalizing pictures of delicious food always resonate with people.

You can also learn a lot from Instagram food blog bio examples. Some of the most popular food bloggers on Instagram are @skinnytaste, @spoonforkbacon and @whole30recipes. Look at each bio and see how they present the food and how they talk about it. You can get ideas for the perfect caption to promote a food page on Instagram. The total presentation is what generates buzz and excitement. If you can master that portion of Instagram food blogging, your home kitchen is sure to succeed.

In addition to using good techniques, you can learn how to promote a food page on an Instagram story. There are paid promotions and organic methods. You can consider both as viable means to growing your home food business.

How to Promote Food on Instagram

When you learn how to promote food on Instagram, you will see that methods fall into two camps. The first contains your curation of your own Instagram account. The second is tied to external resources that can help your Instagram account get more attention.

Food Instagram story ideas will sit at the heart of the first method. You want to scan the site for restaurant Instagram post ideas. You can see what food gets the most attention and what techniques tend to keep people interested. You have to do more than post a few pictures of meals. People want stories. They want entertainment. They also want great food that they haven’t experienced before.

The best tips for food blogging on Instagram will show you how to curate the page and make it look good. The key to how to make your food Instagram famous is to make it look delicious and available. This means that you want bright lighting that highlights the colors in your food. It also means that you want to post consistently to keep your food in the minds of your followers.

As for external resources, you can use organic and paid search engine optimization techniques. Organic techniques are where you use different online resources to point back to your Instagram account. This can include your business Facebook page, LinkedIn, Google Maps, Yelp and anything else you can imagine.

If you can justify the cost, you can also pay Instagram to promote your page. This, more than anything else, constitutes how to promote a food page on Instagram.

Do You Need a License to Sell Food on Instagram

Building a good food page on Instagram can grow a business by leaps and bounds. Before you get to that point, you have to answer an important question: Do I need a license to sell food from my home? The answer to this is multi-pronged, but the short answer is sometimes.

When you are selling home cooked food to the public, you will fall under state regulations. Those regulations might include commercial food production, or they can be considered cottage food laws. The latter constitutes more relaxed regulations that apply to a narrow range of food groups. 

Depending on the state, you may or may not need a license to sell cottage food items. But, even if you do need a license, it will not be as strictly regulated as a commercial food license. If you’re wondering if you qualify for cottage food regulations, that depends on what you want to sell. In most states, the regulations only pertain to baked goods, pickled items, and jams and jellies. If you want to sell dairy or meat products, you’ll need to go through commercial licensing.

Naturally, you might be wondering how to get licensed to sell food. For that, you can go through your state’s regulatory process. Every state lists the process on their websites, and most states run it through their department of health. Typically, you will need to meet minimum safety requirements to sell cottage foods. This includes things like clean water, dishwashing and proper refrigeration. 

If you want to sell food that is commercially licensed, the regulations are more intense. The steps for how to get a permit to sell food from home will include multiple state inspections. You will also be subject to follow-up inspections as long as you remain in business.

So, is it illegal to sell food from your home? If you ignore regulatory licensing, yes. The exceptions can sometimes apply to cottage foods, but even then, if you’re wondering “Do I need a license to sell food on Instagram,” the answer is still yes. You have to go through these processes. Failure to do so can subject you to substantial fines and even jail time.

If you want to start an Instagram food business, the first step is checking your state cottage food laws and regulations to ensure that you know the right process to follow.

Selling Food on Facebook

Selling food on Facebook is comparable to selling food on Instagram. Part of that is because they are owned by the same parent company. Part of it is because they fall under the same state-level food regulations.

When you want to know how to sell food products on Facebook, you use the same methods that you would for Instagram. You want to include pictures and videos of your food that entice people with how tasty it all looks. You want to network your account to get internal and external resources directing people to see your food. The Facebook food marketplace is rich with hungry stomachs. Your goal is to be seen by as many people as possible.

Do you need a license to sell baked goods on Facebook? That answer is the same as for Instagram. It depends on your state. Whether or not you need a special license, you will be governed by cottage food laws, and baked goods are almost always less regulated than meats and dairy. Always double-check state regulations before you start posting. The last thing you want to do is incriminate yourself in public because you were unaware of food regulations.

All of this leads to a simple conclusion. The best way to sell baked goods on Facebook is to leverage every resource you can. By all means, contact Facebook about paid promotion and see if there is a package within your budget. Stay active on all of your social media and point all of it back to your Facebook and/or Instagram page. Post regularly. Make your food look as enticing as possible, and never allow complacency to work its way into your business model.

If you stay proactive and follow all of those rules, you can legally sell food on Facebook or Instagram. You can have a successful business selling food from your home, and you can enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

As a food maker, before you tell customers to DM you for an order understand the legality of growing your food business and selling food on Instagram!

Heather Brookshire

The Cake Whisperer


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!

Amanda McMonigle

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.

Kim Sims

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.

Katie Maschoff

Mill City Cooking Company


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.

Daniella Smith

Oso Good Clean Eats


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!

Ali Serpe

Kultured Kombucha


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.

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