How to Start & Market a Food Business from Your Home Kitchen
What you'll learn
- How to navigate your state’s cottage food law that allows sales non-hazardous baked goods or high-acid products like jams or pickles, made in a home kitchen.
- Understand what types of products are allowed to be produced and sold from a home kitchen, including diving into what “non-hazardous” means.
- Based on your state’s cottage food law, understand where and how you can sell your product, along with how much revenue you can make.
- Gain knowledge on how to sell your product, from marketing strategies to setting up a website, tapping into social media and generating press coverage.
- Three straightforward methods to price your food products so you make some profit.
- Learn about the business strategies that go into running a profitable home food business, from how to structure your company to itemizing expenses.
- Practical ways to organize your kitchen and supplies while learning about ways to best manage your time and maintain work/life balance.
- Strategies for managing risk with several options for affordable product liability insurance as well as tips for better food safety practices.
- How to wow your customers with cost-effective and attractive packaging to engaging table display tips.
- Discover options for potentially taking your product to a commercial kitchen in the future.
- Ways in which you can advance the cottage food and newly emerging food freedom movement in the USA.
- Cutting edge information on the cottage food and food freedom movements from a national leader in the industry.
- For Wisconsin residents, understand the history of the successful lawsuit in which the instructor was a plaintiff that legalized the sale of home baked goods.
- A home kitchen, of course!
- Residing in the USA. As of 2022, every state in the USA has some form or variation of a cottage food law or some equivalent court ruling. Since starting a food product business out of your home is determined by which state you live in, you will need to understand your state’s law to determine what exactly you can sell. This course will take you through how to do that.
- A culinary passion for food products that might include baked goods, high acid canned items like jams, jellies, pickles or salsa, as well as a host of other items that may include chocolates, dry mixes and dehydrated or roasted items, depending on your state’s cottage food law.
- This class is for home bakers, canners and home-based food product entrepreneurs who want to sell products made in their home kitchen in the USA. While there are some laws in Canadian provinces that may allow farmers and/or some bakers to sell food products at a farmers’ market, the cottage food laws are not as widespread like they are in the USA. Therefore, this class is currently not designed for those food business owners living outside the USA. While some of the business content may be applicable if you live in other parts of the world, the course will not specifically address home-based food product business requirements in countries outside the United States.
- No previous business experience is required or assumed, since this course is intentionally designed to be both welcoming and accessible, light on the jargon and heavy on practical know-how that can be transferred to your business from the get-go. The course, however, also introduces ideas, strategies or marketing resources that may prove beneficial to more experienced business owners.
From pies to pickles, wedding cakes to granola, preserves to decorated cookies, fledgling food entrepreneurs now have the freedom to earn, producing non-hazardous foods in their home kitchen. This course offers an exciting snapshot of the growing “cottage food” business movement and the opportunities and the possibilities it offers. Thousands of home cooks are embracing the idea of launching their own food product enterprise from home. This course serves as the launching pad for your dream business built around your passions and a clear roadmap for you to start your own food product venture.
This course on starting a food product business from your home kitchen offers a comprehensive overview of everything you might need to launch your business tomorrow. From licensing requirements for what is commonly referred to as “cottage food laws” to developing your product for market and managing your business to make sure it remains fun, lucrative and successful. I’ll share my direct personal experience as a home baker and canner. I’ll draw upon numerous aspects food business start-ups covered in my authoritative book, Homemade for Sale, as well as expand upon my first-hand experience serving as one of the three plaintiffs in a victorious lawsuit against the State of Wisconsin that lifted the ban on selling baked goods in my home state. I’ll also be featuring numerous success stories of others around the country just like you, with a dream, a recipe and a passion for sharing what they bake or make with others in their community so you’ll have the confidence to launch your business, too.
This comprehensive and accessible course covers everything you need to get cooking for your customers, creating items that by their very nature are specialized and unique. Topics covered include:
Product development, packaging, labeling and testing.
All facets of marketing, especially ways to amplify your product displays, generate press coverage, tap into social media and with little to no investment.
Structuring your business and getting a handle on the financial aspects and deductions.
Managing liability, risk, and government regulations.
Organizing your kitchen and managing your time to balance your business with family, outside jobs and other commitments.
Planning for future expansion with incubator kitchens or other commercial options.
Becoming a cottage food advocate, to expand your state laws to serve you, perhaps even calling for “food freedom.”
Special section covering both the new challenges and opportunities of operating during the covid-19 pandemic.
Special Wisconsin sections devoted to baking and selling high-acid canned items.
You can’t fail, at least in the traditional sense, when you launch a new food product business from your home kitchen. Everything you need, you already have in the cupboards or on the shelves in your home kitchen. Many bakers and canners already have perfected some of their recipes and food products. A few might even be State Fair award-winners! It’s about time to start selling them to your neighbors or others in your state.
From “Buy Local” to “Small Business Saturdays,” from slow food to fancy food, from farm-to-fork to hand-made artisan breads, more people than ever are demanding real food made with real ingredients by real people — not by machines in factories, the same way they make cars or computers, or with ingredients you can’t pronounce. This course gets you started, organized and cooking for your customers, creating items that by their very nature are small batch, fresh, unique, specialized and, of course, delicious.
Who this course is for:
- Someone wanting to become their own boss, work from home and tap into their creative baking, canning, candy-making and other culinary kitchen skills.
- Career changer looking to test your food-based dream before you quit your day job, something you can do at home with minimal investment.
- Culinary professionals who may be facing challenging times in food service due to the covid-19 pandemic.
- Retiree looking to stay relevant and active, plus make a little extra “fun money.”
- Specialty cake and wedding cake maker looking for a chance to share your artistic talent and creative flair.
- Stay-at-home moms wanting to earn extra income while keeping an eye on the kids.
- Avid bakers or canners eager to start a business with little or no cost to start up.
- Someone with food sensitivities or allergies, who, after years of struggle, has found delicious recipes that work for you and might work for others, too.
- Farmers who are exploring ways to diversify income with value-added specialty foods products made with ingredients you grow.
- Wisconsin home bakers or canners interested in state-specific knowledge for the unique situation in the state.
- Cottage food and food freedom activists — anyone who believes in the freedom to earn.
- While the business and marketing pragmatics for a food business might be generally helpful, this course specifically addresses the cottage food laws in the USA. No specific information is provided for cottage food laws or their equivalents in Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or any other English-speaking country.
A leading advocate for cottage food entrepreneurs, Lisa Kivirist served as a plaintiff in the successful lawsuit against the State of Wisconsin with a judge eventually declaring the ban on the sale of home baked goods unconstitutional. As a result, she and her family launched Inn Serendipity Fresh Baked Homemade Bakery, offering truly homemade bakery items to the local community and throughout the State of Wisconsin. At their home, they regularly offer hands-on workshops related to launching cottage food businesses from your home.
Lisa and her husband and co-author-and-photographer, John Ivanko, also write extensively on topics related to homemade food products or on-farm food service, like farm-to-table dinners on the farm or "pizza farms." They work with Renewing the Countryside, an organization that offers on-farm food service training programs.
As author of seven books, a national speaker and recognized spokesperson for the national sustainable agriculture movement, Kivirist is a regular presenter at numerous national conferences and library, university and community events. In addition to Homemade for Sale, she authored Soil Sisters and is co-author of Farmstead Chef, the award-winning ECOpreneuring, Rural Renaissance, Edible Earth and Kiss Off Corporate America.
Kivirist is a sought-after expert for the media, featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, MSNBC and on various radio programs across the country, including Martha Stewart Radio, the Sirius Satellite Network and Good Food on KCRW.
Lisa Kivirist serves as a Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems for the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota and served as a distinguished IATP Food and Community Fellow. She initiated Soil Sisters, an award-winning initiative of Renewing the Countryside that provides resources and networking for women farmers and food-based entrepreneurs.
Lisa Kivirist and her husband share their organic farm and Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast in Browntown, Wisconsin. The farm is completely powered by the sun.
I'd like to extend a special thanks for the music used in this course:
Haven by Nihilore
Licensed Under CC BY 4.0