Maybe your friends tell you that you make the best salsa in town, or maybe you want to capitalise on your grandmother's special lemon-garlic aioli. Whatever the reason, if you want to start a sauce business, it takes more than a great recipe or two. There are several details to take into consideration, from upfront capital and supplies to marketing and nutritional information.
Investigate the market. Search for competitors to see if someone else is already producing your sauce, and ask your friends and family to taste your recipe to ensure there will be demand for your product. If the market is already flooded or there isn't much demand, you won't sell much sauce and might waste your investment.
Perfect your recipe(s). Make sure the sauce always tastes the same, even in large batches. This is not always as simple as tripling everything in the recipe, because some ingredients become disproportionately more flavourful as they are added. You won't sell much sauce if it doesn't taste good, and you don't want a sauce that changes every time you open a bottle.
Research what your business requires. Depending on how large you want your production volume to be, determine what supplies you will need, like ingredients, bottles, and labels, and where you will procure them. Wholesale grocers and food co-ops are good places for cheap bulk vegetables and spices. Also determine where you will produce your sauce. Remember, the facilities will have to meet cleanliness standards, so you probably won't be able to use your own kitchen. You will also need a business license, so contact your local health department to determine the regulations for procuring one in your state.
Create a business plan. Calculate your overhead and establish 1) how much you will need to charge per bottle and 2) how many bottles you will need to sell to turn a profit. Determine if you will need a loan or an investment to cover the start-up costs.
Develop a marketing strategy. Design a brand name and logo. Consider hiring a graphic designer. Determine where and how you will sell your sauce. Consider promoting your sauce at gourmet vendor shows, on food blogs, or your on own website. Keep in mind that your sauce probably won't wind up in chain grocery stores right away, but if you keep promoting it, you'll continue to reach a wider market.
Often, you can order things like labels, bottles, bar codes, and nutritional information online.
It's a good idea to contact a lawyer to discuss how you should structure your business, register it with the government, and obtain business insurance.