How to Start a Local Food Business

Learn how to turn your great recipe into a thriving business.

You’ve got an amazing recipe for tomato sauce, salsa, or hot sauce. Or you’ve figured out the best new snack food such as a new granola flavor, coconut chips, or nut clusters.

Your family and friends have told you how great it is and it’s a hit at gatherings and parties. Maybe you even entered a local competition and won. Congratulations! You just may have what it takes to launch your own food enterprise and become the next amazing brand!

How do you get started?

First think carefully about these three considerations at every step:

  • Speed - how do you go fast
  • Costs - try not to burn through cash
  • Risk - improve your chances for success

You want to move quickly since there’s always a lot of competition. You also want to keep your costs down as much as possible so that you don’t burn through cash getting started. Third, you want to try to minimize risks to success so that you get the best chance to lift your business off the ground.

Step 1 - Perfect the Recipe

Perfect your recipe. You may already have people liking what you make, but consider how to make it better. Can you reduce the number of ingredients? Are all of the ingredients considered healthy? Do you use a lot of processed ingredients? Can you reduce the sodium and sugar content and still make it taste great? Are there unnecessary gums or additives? Will you use organic or non-GMO ingredients? Can you make it vegan?

The consumer trend is up for purchasing natural and organic food with the size of the industry now around $70 billion. You can reduce risks to success by giving your food those extra advantages and powerful food attributes which are now important to consumers.

Step 2 - Create a Great Brand

Many consumers still navigate the wide range of products by the product name, the logo, and the label. Consider how consumers will associate with your brand. What will clue them in that your food is great? Do you have a great story to tell?

If you can’t think of a catchy name, call the food after yourself to start and see how it goes. Make sure you have a clean clear label and a simple logo. Display your food attributes on the label such as vegan, organic, gluten free, or non-GMO. Seek help from a designer and print out a few labels to see how it goes. Ask people about it. Visit the grocery store and check out the labels of similar products.

Most importantly, make the brand appealing to you as well so that you'll want to talk about it all the time. Lastly, determine if the container for your food is part of the brand. Is it in a unique bottle, jar, or eco-friendly package? Sustainability and environment is important to consumers as well.

Step 3 - Set Up Production

You may have started in your kitchen, but if you're thinking big, you’ll probably have to make the food in a commercial kitchen. There are many commercial kitchens in the bigger cities for food makers to rent hourly or monthly. If you don’t have a commercial kitchen nearby, some churches and community centers have licensed kitchens that they rent out. Make sure to get your food license as well from the state. If you don’t want to make the food yourself, look for a packer to do it for you.

Step 4 - Start Selling

It’s time to get the word out and take orders. Determine what sales channels will be best for you to get started. Maybe the local farmers market is a good place to start. With the competition in the grocery retail space heating up, it may be better to go online and developing your brand digitally using social media. After all, more consumers want to order food online and have it shipped to their home. Consider a basic website, but more importantly think about mobile selling. More shoppers are ordering by mobile phone and using their phone to discover food products. In fact, mobile sales are expected to surpass online sales in 2018.

The quickest way to get a mobile digital store front up is to create one in Treatmo. Treatmo is a mobile app that gives natural food merchants the ability to create a screen in the app to sell their products, display business info, tell their story, and add shipping details. Treatmo also helps with discovery of your business because Treatmo shoppers are always looking for new natural and healthier products. Merchants can also take preorders before their product is even ready for shipment.

Treatmo also removes the burden to start selling since a store can be created in 10 minutes and merchants are only charged by each transaction, so they only pay when a sale is made. Treatmo is a low risk way to start selling and make your business a success.

Learn about Treatmo for your business.