Monday, January 16, 2012

Guide to Starting a Food-Based Business

In 2011, the Florida Legislature passed a state law allowing individuals to make and sell certain food items from their home. According to the Division of Food Safety, these “cottage food operations” do not require a license from the state of Florida and include items such as breads, cakes, jams, jellies, and fruit pies. Individuals cannot make more than $15,000 in sales per year and must sell directly to the consumer. 

What if you produce foods outside of the parameters of the Cottage Food Law? Check out a certified commercial kitchen. Blue Oven Kitchens is a local non-profit kitchen incubator that “provides access to inspected, commercial kitchen space while also providing business support services.” They are currently fundraising to build a rental space and host a handy Facilities & Referral Service. Their resources page lists information for food entrepreneurs including workshops, training, general information, and includes links to the IFAS Food Safety and Quality Program.

The Florida State Library provides access to the Business Plans Handbook through the Gale Virtual Reference database. Search within the Business Plans Handbook for “food” to see many sample plans for ideas.

The Information Slinger's recommended business reads:
Sell Your Specialty Food: Market, Distribute, and Profit from Your Kitchen Creation by Stephen F.Hall

Fun reads:
Chew by John Layman: A graphic novel series in which a detective gets psychic impressions from everything he eats.

Questions or comments? Email me at

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