Starting a food business where you make and market your own culinary creations is a dream of many people. A way to make a great amount of profit in the food industry is by becoming a manufacturer. While starting a food manufacturing company will allow you to sell your products to the greatest number of customers possible, it also requires more planning than other types of food businesses.
1. Decide what type of food you want to manufacture. You may choose to make and distribute confections, candies, powdered mixes, drinks, or ready-made meals.
2. Obtain a food handler’s permit, food manufacturing permit, and food manager’s permit from your state’s health department. You will also need an assumed name certificate from your county clerk, in addition to filling as a corporation, limited liability corporation (LLC) or limited liability partnership (LLP) in your state.
3. Lease a warehouse space that is at least 1,200 square feet total—this can cost anywhere from $1,000 per month to $1,800 per month. You will likely need to build out the space to the health department’s requirements for food manufacturing facilities. Alternatively, rent a commercial kitchen if one is available in your area.
4. Have the facility you’re using to manufacture food inspected by the health department so that it can be cleared for use. Keep in mind that you will undergo occasional inspections, so you should make sure you always adhere to the department’s guidelines.
5. Determine how you want to package your food products, and ensure that the packaging you choose is not only attractive and good for marketing, but FDA-approved for contact with food. Companies that sell food packaging include CPT Plastics, Ossid, and MeadWestVaco (MWV).
6. Set up a website listing basic information about the products you have available for distribution, your location and contact information. This will help not only consumers who want to research your products, but also distribution companies that are considering setting up an account with you.
7. Contact the food distribution companies in your area, and speak with them about setting up an account. This is essential, because without proper distribution of your products, you’ll just be making food that sits around without being sold. Food distribution companies will buy your products in large quantities and then sell them to retail businesses wholesale.