Many people have treasured, fabulous-tasting recipes and think about sharing them with others by opening a home-based food business. The idea seems ideal on the surface: the start-up costs would be low, there would be no need to employ staff initially, and you could work whatever hours you choose. However, your home-based food business will need to meet the UK's strict hygiene and safety regulations, which are difficult to achieve in domestic kitchens.
- Skill level:
Pick a niche for your home food business. For example, you can specialise in making and selling ethnic cuisine, vegan pastries, cakes and biscuits or gourmet preserves.
Contact your local council, which can advise you on the regulations you'll need to comply with. You'll need to register your business with the council before you can start making and selling produce.
Obtain the permissions required to start a home food business. This will include registration and may also need planning permission. Your home food business must meet all the requirements of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006.
Develop creative recipes to differentiate your business from competitors. For instance, if you start a business creating and selling homemade preserves, add in unique flavours, such as mango pineapple and peach to go along with standards such as strawberry and blackcurrant.
Prepare your kitchen according to safety and hygiene regulations. This means your kitchen must be separated from all living areas by a solid door, and that it cannot be used to prepare food for those in your household.
Make alternate plans for how to prepare food for your family. In all likelihood, you will not be allowed to use the same kitchen for your business that you use to make family meals. You can either build another kitchen in a different area of your home; use the kitchen of a neighbour, relative or friend; or resolve to eat out.
Secure venues to sell the food you prepare at home. Though you may be allowed to use your home kitchen as a commercial food preparation area, it is unlikely that you will be able to use your home as a shop. Your alternative options include farmers markets, Internet sites, festivals, events, and selling wholesale to local cafes, restaurants and independent shops.
Promote your home food business. Join an association to network, gain potential customers and connect with vendors. You can also start a promotional website or sponsor a local cooking contest.
Tips and warnings
- Getting liability insurance is a good idea, even though it may not be required. Should a customer get sick from eating your food, your business and personal assets will be protected.
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