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Selling Homemade Food Online

There are plenty of reasons someone may want to open their own business, and a food based business is no exception. People tend to think of restaurants as a primary business opportunity for cooks and chefs, but not everyone who enjoys such work is interested in opening a restaurant. The problem with restaurants for many people are the poor work hours. Restaurants require owners, managers, and employees to be available Friday and Saturday nights and holidays, essentially when people are out enjoying social events are when restaurant workers have to be at work providing the logistics for those events.

Another home based small scale business is to provide catering services. Again, this doesn't appeal to everybody who is a talented cook. Catering brings up issues of poor working hours and having to work to the needs of individual clients. It means not having set hours, as clients may need catering services late into the evening, on holidays, and even in odd locations such as on a boat or in a campground.

There is a solution which is based on food ideas to sell online. It requires food ideas to sell from home, and has a few specific needs in order to be a feasible business. Selling food from home is not the same as sending items to the local bake sale, but instead has to be treated as a home-based small scale business scheme. It is going to require a home-based food business license and a business plan with goals to work toward. The license is going to vary by state, so it will require a certain amount of research and possibly need the help of appropriate legal representation to file for.

Delivery of the food is going to be just as important as the value of the food being sold. Food can be shipped in dry ice if needed, in which case the recipe needs to either call for the food to be served cold or have a plan for the customer to easily heat the dish up after they receive it. Another option is to only use food ideas to sell from home and recipes which won't go bad at room temperature while going through next day delivery. Either way, the food has to be securely packaged and sealed in such a way the customer can be assured the food has not been tampered with since leaving the kitchen.

Can You Sell Homemade Food Online?

The question often comes up is, “Can I sell homemade food online?” It is legal, but there are certain requirements which must be met. The quickest way to answer such a question is to suggest the home kitchen must be treated like a commercial kitchen in order to sell food commercially. Many aspects of a home kitchen are not typically going to meet the requirements of a commercial kitchen, and may need to be upgraded before receiving a permit to sell food from home.

The first consideration before selling dinners out of your home is that of sanitation. A kitchen may be extraordinarily clean for a home and family, yet not meet the requirements of sanitation for public food provision. Every surface has to be cleanable in a way which assures sanitation. Specific requirements defining sanitation measures may be different in different states, do I need a license to sell homemade food in California is going to be different from what is needed in Texas or New York.

One of the most obvious differences between commercial and home kitchens are the appliances. At a glance, it might seem commercial appliances are designed to handle heavier cooking volumes, and are designed to handle rough use by employees who don't always treat equipment carefully, but those aren't the only differences. The real aspect of commercial kitchen appliances is how they are designed to be cleaned and sanitized daily.

Other than the type of appliances which are going to work best for homemade food products to sell is how food is stored. This involves both cold and dry food. Meats have to be kept refrigerated and separate from vegetables, which in turn have to be kept separate from dry goods. Supplies have to be rotated to assure older food is used before it goes bad, and if anything does begin to go bad it has to immediately be cleaned up and thrown way. Essentially, to sell homemade food to the public, the requirements restaurants have to abide by are going to be necessary to somehow fulfill at home.

Homemade Food Business Laws and Requirements Abroad

Selling Homemade Food Online Canada

Canada does not have specific laws concerning cottage foods, but each province does provide guidelines about selling homemade food in Canada. For the most part, foods that aren't considered high risk are going to be okay, specifically canned goods which are properly sealed in a way which doesn't require refrigeration until the jar has been opened and the seal broken. That can include things like fruit preserves and pickles.

The strictest rule is in Prince Edward Island, which requires cooking for sale be conducted in a separate area of the house than the main residential kitchen. Such a rule can be prohibitive for most small businesses based on selling homemade foods online, because most homes simply don't have a suitable area for such a purpose. It may not seem fair, but there is a reason for such a stringent requirement, which is to assure public health by providing for specific sanitation needs which aren't always met in a kitchen shared by parents and kids, or when pets are fed in the kitchen area.

Selling Homemade Food Online Singapore

The real question of, “Do I need a license to sell online in Singapore?” is best answered by business license requirements.Singapore does not have specific laws or require a license to sell home-based food Singapore, however, certain laws may apply to the business depending on the location of the home. The first being that of registering a business address. Some residences can have a business address registration if the primary purpose of the home is residential in nature. This means the business of selling food products in Singapore has to take up less square feet than the living areas.

Another concern is how the business affects neighbors. Cooking is fine, but employees outside the family cannot be hired to work in a residence. Shipping can be a problem if it draws in too much traffic. Also, vans and trucks aren't allowed to load and unload on a large scale, which means it's going to be difficult to send out bulk orders or bring in supplies.

A final concern is how food sold from home has to meet the same cleanliness standards as food sold anywhere else. Food has to be stored properly. Personal sanitation and kitchen sanitation have to be maintained, which can be difficult when a family and their pets live in the same home.

Selling Homemade Food Online Philippines

The Philippines are not much different in terms of cottage food laws than other first world countries, in that there are certain requirements for food sales based on health and public safety, but there are no specific laws preventing the sale of food as a small business. “The Food Safety Act of 2013” is the most important document to be aware of before selling food in the Philippines. The document outlines proper food storage procedures for both cooked and uncooked foods. It defines cleanliness in terms of how the kitchen must be maintained and how food is to be prepared.

With that said, a general business license is required to run the business, which may be problematic. Residential areas don't always allow for business licenses. That's a matter of understanding local laws and ordinances, as well as customs and expectations of neighbors. Generally speaking, if it can be done without disturbing the neighbors, they aren't going to mind. However, a home business can cause excess noise and traffic which does become problematic.

Cottage Food Law

Generally speaking, cottage food laws provide for how to sell food from home legally. In theory, it's a great idea. Starting a small food business selling home cooked food to the public can be a great way to make extra money or run as a full time job. The trouble comes with the concept of maintaining proper sanitation methods required to sell food to the public. Most people at home, especially people who enjoy cooking, are going to follow proper sanitation. However, home cooking simply doesn't always abide by the same standards as what restaurants use. Food operations that do not need permits usually only involve charity drives or making food as gifts for friends. The best advice is to check local laws first, because as mentioned earlier, selling homemade food in California is going to be different from selling food from home in Texas.

The difficulty comes when considering how to conduct inspections in a home cooking environment. If a health inspector comes by to check, it's easy for someone to declare they aren't using the kitchen to prepare food for public consumption, but are simply cooking for the family at the moment. That explanation isn't going to work. Once the kitchen is used for public cooking, it is going to have to maintain the health standards required for restaurants. Such a simple concept is going to restrict how to get a permit to sell food from home. It means children have to abide by the rules, the kitchen has to be cordoned off from pets, and someone with the flu won't be allowed to enter the kitchen. Although it's a great idea as a way to open a small business, the amount of rules involved are going to be too difficult for some people to successfully follow.

Additional Resources

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The legality of selling your homemade food online varies from state to state across the U.S. Learn how you can grow your food business with e-commerce.

Heather Brookshire

The Cake Whisperer


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The Whimsical Cookie


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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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