Food is one thing that will never go out of style as everybody needs to eat, several times a day. That’s why starting a business centered on food can be a truly rewarding enterprise.
Food Business Ideas
Here are 84 examples of food business ideas to consider.
Similar to the dietician, a professional meal planner helps people to eat healthily over a set period of time. This works especially well for people on a diet who are trying to lose weight as the planned schedule for their meals can help eliminate extra snacking and unhealthy impulse eating.
Fitness Food Prep
Another excellent business idea is a combination of meal planner and nutrition coach. Preparing food in advance for the likes of athletes and bodybuilders is something of a niche market. And you would need to have potential clients lined up in advance, but if you are already a part of the health and fitness world with contacts at gyms and fitness centers, there is definitely an opportunity to start a food prep business.
Organic Food Shop
There has been a huge surge in the popularity of organic food in recent years, so an organic food shop could be the perfect food business idea for you.
While supermarkets and chain stores sometimes have small organic food sections or offer a few such items on their shelves, a store dedicated to such products will always be more attractive to shoppers seeking organic groceries.
Berry, Apple, Pumpkin, etc. Picking Farm
As a farmer with any of these crops, you can create different business plans. First you can distribute your harvest to restaurants, farmers markets or other food-related businesses. Additionally, you can also have people come to your farm and pick the crops themselves.
This is especially profitable with seasonal events such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and others.
Cake Decorating Classes
If you want to supplement the income of your cake shop, one of the best ways of doing it is by offering cake decorating classes.
These classes are inexpensive for you to conduct and very popular for foodies who want to learn one more trick of the trade.
The food delivery business is now a standalone business. Although there are big national brands in the segment, you can start your delivery business by specializing in certain cuisines or locations.
Take a look at the delivery service in your area and find out how you can make it better.
There seems to be no end to the popularity of craft beers. If you have a passion for beer and you want to make your brew, this is a great business opportunity.
Once you have the right brew you can sell them to consumers directly, bars and special events.
The initial investment for a fish farm can be expensive, but once you have a working system in place it is very lucrative.
With the right product you can supply restaurants, grocery stores and even direct to consumers.
Whether it is an outdoor mall, sports venue, parks or other locations where there are a large group of people, food kiosks are a must.
If you get the right location with the right food, you will be guaranteed to get customers. It can be as simple as selling cold water and drinks or food.
While kiosks are limited on what kind of food they can sell, a food truck can pretty much sell almost any food item. Food trucks require a hefty initial investment, but they are worth it if you have the right product.
Again, location is very important for food trucks. But if you have great food, people will make the journey to taste your offerings.
Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks around, and they are healthy to boot (if you cut out the butter). But with gourmet popcorn, you can create a wide range of flavors and colors to make them even more popular.
You can start the business at home and grow your customers or open up a shop. This is one of the more affordable food businesses you can start right away.
Health Food Store
People are more aware of the food they eat and health food stores are for everybody now. The good thing about this industry is it continues to grow.
You can further specialize by providing unique natural products grown locally as well as herbs and spices from around the world.
The right herb can take an ordinary recipe to another level. One of the good things about herbs is you don’t need a very large piece of land.
With the available technology for indoor farming, you don’t even need to be out in the country. You can rent a warehouse and start an herb farm in the middle of the city.
You’ve probably seen a hot sauce challenge on YouTube. As a matter of fact, one of the more popular shows on YouTube is Hot Ones, which has 7.59 million subscribers.
The show has celebrities eating increasingly hot chicken/vegan wings. And some of the hot sauces they use are unique brands using different peppers and herbs.
This is another business you can start in your home.
International Food Retail
The international aisle in grocery stores leaves much to be desired. For most foodies finding these ingredients means running around town to markets from different nationalities; if they are available.
Opening an all in one international food store is one way to grab the market.
People want to eat good food, but their busy schedules don’t allow them to cook the food they want to eat.
By making meals that are ready to eat, you can quickly establish a large customer base. This can eventually lead to a restaurant and other business options.
Dietary Foods for Patients
There are many patients who have strict dietary requirements. If you are cook, you can get together with a dietician and start a business specifically designed to address this group.
If you get into this business, you are going to be working with clients with chronic diseases. So get ready for long-term relationships with them.
From birthdays to parties, celebrations and countless other events, having a bartender will make the occasion more festive.
However, finding a good bartender is not easy. If you pride yourself in being a good bartender, you can start a mobile bartending business. And with so many events, you can grow your business quickly.
The button mushroom was the only mushroom most people knew. But today the market has a wide range of mushrooms.
A mushroom farm can be a very lucrative business if you start growing gourmet or medicinal mushrooms. You can sell them directly to customers, restaurants or health food stores.
Olive Oil Retail
In addition to the health benefits of olive oil, it also provides great flavor to foods. The problem is finding good premium olive oil can be difficult.
With so many brands and varieties from around the world, opening a store solely dedicated to olive oil can be a destination.
If you are a chef, being a personal chef is a great way to get your career going. It can also work if you are a well-established chef.
Whether you are just starting or a seasoned pro, this part of the food industry provides more flexibility, creativity and great pay.
Bakery that Makes Food for Pets
Who doesn’t love their pets? And while not everyone can afford to give their pet gourmet food or baked goods all the time, they can be occasional treats.
With 68% of U.S. homes owning some kind of pet, there is huge potential in this segment.
If you are looking to gauge how people will respond to your food, you can open pop-up restaurants. If all goes well, you can decide on a location and go for it.
However, if you want to just open pop-up restaurants with different themes and menus, you can also do that.
According to the National Restaurant Association, there are more than 1 million restaurants in the U.S. as of the end of 2018. So, it goes without saying, they all need supplies.
Even though there are well-established suppliers, you can always get in by providing unique products. You can even choose some from this list, such as gourmet olive oils, mushrooms and more.
Salt!? Not that long ago, there were only one or two kinds of salt in most grocery stores. Now you can get everything from Himalayan to French Gray salt and so much more.
This a great business you can start in your home to supply your local eateries as well as customers online. And if all goes well you can even open a retail shop.
Just like the salt and herb idea, spices are also a great way to start a business in your home and grow. Granted the spice aisle in supermarkets are formidable, but in most cases, they have been sitting on the shelves for a long time.
Introduce fresh spices to your market, and it won’t be long before you start grabbing customers from everywhere.
Coffee shops are a dime a dozen and they also offer tea in most places. But if you specializing in just tea from around the world, you will have a good business model.
Since this will be a specialized shop, you have to find the right location as well have a strong online presence to ensure the long-term viability of the business.
There are many types of water being sold in the market. The bad news is you can’t find them all in one place.
As people continue to choose high-quality water, having a business solely dedicated to water and water paraphernalia is not that absurd. The industry is going to be worth $217.2 billion by 2026, so there is a great opportunity there.
Wine Shop, Class or Tasting
The total wine market value in the U.S. was $70.5 billion in 2018. This is a huge industry that supplies consumers and the food industry.
As a licensed operator, you can sell directly to consumers as well as business in the food industry. You can also hold wine classes and wine tasting to supplement your income in a very substantial way.
Canning fresh foods is a great business for people who want to preserve fruits, vegetables and even meats. The problem is the process is labor-intensive.
If you can provide a service for canning the foods people want to preserve, you can have a great business. It may be seasonal depending on what people want to can, but it can also go on year-round with other products.
Jerky meat is a very popular source of quick and readily available source of protein for health-conscious people. Even though it has been around forever, a new customer base is discovering this food.
Making jerky is relatively easy, but time-consuming. With the right tools and ingredients, you can start making jerky and have a lucrative business.
Online Cooking School
One of the greatest features of the internet is you can be anywhere and provide a service. If you are a professional cook, you can start your own online cooking school.
With this technology, you can start offering personal one-on-one classes or to multiple people at the same time. Best of all you can do it from the comfort of your own home or restaurant if you have one.
Catering Equipment Rental
There are thousands of catering gigs taking place every week across the country, and not all of them have their own equipment.
This is a specialized segment of the food industry, but if you make inroads it can be very lucrative. At the same time, you can also expand to the supply side of the foods caterers need.
Menu, Food or Nutrition Consultant
As a consultant, you can address restaurants, chefs, nutritionists and organizations with food services such as schools.
With so many dietary requirements in today’s nutritional spectrum, being a consultant is an invaluable asset. This is a business that requires certifications and degrees, but with the right credentials it can be a strong business model.
Not all breads are created equal, and artisan bakers have managed to show people what they are missing.
If you are already a baker, making the switch will be much easier than starting over. But no matter which way you start your business, the growth of artisan breads will keep your company going for the long run.
Nut Butter Retail
You can make peanut, almond, cashew, macadamia, pistachio and other nut butter. By making them yourself without preservatives and added sugars you can have the upper hand of the processed products in the grocery stores.
The one downside is allergies and the cost of some of these nuts can be quite expensive. But if you find the right supplier and you are careful, it is a great food business.
Energy Drink Business
Energy drinks are everywhere, but they leave much to be desired when it comes to health. If you create your own natural energy drink, you can have a slice of this $32 billion market in 2018.
The process can be expensive initially, but if you believe you have the best product the payoff can be huge.
Gourmet Ice Cream Cones
Ice cream cones have come a long way, but it is still limited to a few choices. For ice cream parlors that are too busy to make their own, you can start providing gourmet ice cream cones.
You can differentiate your cones by providing more flavor profiles, colors and shapes. This a business you can easily start at home and scale as need as you supply local ice cream parlors.
Noodle houses are popping up all over the place, and not all of them make their own noodles in house. Making fresh noodles is a great selling point for all these restaurants.
What is more, you can create a range of noodles with different ingredients such as buckwheat and gluten-free alternatives.
Almost everyone has a sweet tooth, which is why candy manufacturing is a multibillion-dollar industry. But there are sweets connoisseurs who want something better than the mass-manufactured fare.
If you create gourmet candies you can sell them online, local high-end restaurants and bakeries as well as food fairs. This is also another business you can start at home and grow from there.
If you want a really good sauce you have to make it. And if you have made your own sauce in the past, you know it is a time-consuming process.
Making sauces is a great business you can start in your own kitchen. If you turn out quality sauces, it won’t be long before word of mouth gets your brand recognized.
Just like sauces, a great marinade can take your recipes to another level. And with so many options, you can create marinades for beef, chicken, fish, lamb as well as veggies.
If you know what you are doing in the kitchen and you are creative, you can create marinades that will have people coming back over and over.
The protein bar industry is slated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.4% until 20204. While this is great news for the industry, not all protein bars are created equal.
The biggest challenge is the taste, and if you can overcome this obstacle you can grab a market share from a growth industry. Take your time and experiment in your home until you find the right recipe and go for it.
Local Restaurant Guide
If you love the food industry, this is a great way to keep tabs on what is going on in your city. As local restaurant guide, you can bring customers and restaurateurs together.
This is especially a great business opportunity if you live in a big city with many restaurants. You can make money from customers and restaurants. And if all goes well you can expand to other cities around you or create tours in other countries known for their cuisine.
Doughnuts are readily available in every city. However, the growth of the gourmet doughnuts segment is showing people are willing to pay more for some exceptionally great doughnuts.
Everything from bacon to cereal, mangoes, jalapeños and more have been used. If you can create truly unique doughnuts, there is a market for you out there.
There are many romantic special occasions, and if you can plan the food side of said occasions you can have a good business.
This is a great part-time business. Whether you are a professional cook, an enthusiastic amateur or just starting out, this is a great way to get into the food industry. It is also a sold way to build a customer base for any future food-related business.
Vending machines run the gamut. You can put everything from candies to sodas, fruits, sandwiches, soups, nuts, and much more.
If you find the right location and differentiate your machines with quality sandwiches, soups and other items, you will have a great business. The key to this business is location, but once you have that you can grow fast.
Gluten-Free Food Business
Gluten allergy can make people with celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten sensitivity miserable. And for these people as well others with a milder form of the allergy, finding gluten-free foods is not always possible.
Creating a business catering especially to people with a gluten allergy or people that want to avoid gluten entirely is becoming a viable business model.
Asian Grocery Retail
Owning your own Asian grocery store will help you offer traditional and authentic Asian products that big chains don’t. Your bottom line will be affected by your location and the products you plan to sell.
Your products can be diverse and can include canned goods, sauces, produce, spices, and meats. Your knowledge of Asian dishes can help you understand what is on demand. Asian grocery can be rewarding as it is a convenient way to explore new cultures and hone in your entrepreneur skills.
Baby Food Business
The global baby food market is an enticing one as it is set to reach $76.48 billion by 2021. Even more so with parents looking for natural baby food recipes free of preservatives, sugars, salt, fillers and artificial colors.
You can do experiment with producing your own baby food through a combination of steaming, roasting and pureeing. Before launching your product, test your recipes on family and friends with children to get feedback.
If all goes well, start marketing your baby food.
Bagel Shop Business
Made famous in New York as a classic breakfast food, bagel shops are now available almost everywhere. Despite its potential to make you a tidy sum, bagel shops are a lot of work.
You will need to churn out fresh bagels every day. But the rewards are plenty if you succeed in building a good customer base. Plus, you can also sell beverages and side dishes to increase your revenue.
BBQ Catering Service
The mere simplicity and popularity of a BBQ is a great idea for a business. Whether social functions or corporate events, BBQs parties are great.
Barbeques are simple enough to cater. However, if you’re holding a large function planning, ordering, preparing, and cooking food for your guests can become complicated. The one drawback is there is huge competition, so your BBQ has to be great.
Biscuit making can be a fulfilling business that comes with little startup capital. Despite mass-produced automated biscuits companies in the market, many consumers prefer fresh biscuits from a local bakery.
The biscuit making business has a huge potential market as biscuits are almost consumed in every home on a daily basis. Key to your success is packaging, flavors and of course health-conscious ingredients.
Candy and sweets are high margin products-meaning higher returns from sales. Most everybody loves candy and treats, as such a candy store not only brings smiles but profits as well. America’s candy manufacturing industry generates $20 billion annually, so there is a market for more.
From the odd indulgence to the holidays we all go to the candy shop for our sweet cravings. The benefit of opening a candy store is you have almost unlimited options when it comes to inventory.
By buying in bulk for high sought after brands and sweets you stand to make a killing in retail.
There are lots of businesses looking for expertise to run their canteens. From following up inventories to help host events, canteen management can be fun.
This business requires expertise across a range of fields. But if you have the skills, there many canteens which want to leave the management to experts.
Cat Cafe Business
Cat cafes have been popular in Asia since the 1990s. The first Cat café was opened in Taipei, Taiwan and has now spread across the world. Cat cafe businesses offer people a place to relax with friends and cats while enjoying a warm beverage and pastries.
Some cat cafés serve food and drinks while others are just relaxation spaces to unwind with a cat. In addition to serving human customers, many cafes also help the cats they house by making the cats available for adoption. If you love cats and cafes, this might be a fun business idea for you.
But before you start, make sure the regulations in your area allow pets with food service.
Catering can be a profitable business provided you know your meals and have a knack for pleasing people. With a moderate startup capital investment, you can start your business by catering to friends and family.
However, it requires a solid understanding of every detail related to this business. One of the biggest reasons caterers fail is because they can’t manage everything. As an owner, you have to know everything.
If you are a great cook and know how to make a delicious cheesecake, why not launch a business? You can start making money quickly by selling them to friends and neighbors.
Fairs and festivals can also help boost your sales as well as reputation. Quality is of the utmost importance. If you have a great product it will evolve to word-of-mouth advertising and bring you more clients.
Cheese Shop Business
Turning your passion for artisan cheese into a successful business will require careful planning. The key to your success will greatly depend on your ability to source your products and the variety of cheeses you can offer your clients.
You can start small by offering a casual setting where people can come and enjoy the different cheeses. But rest assured, you will grow quickly if you stock quality cheeses from around the world.
If you love making chocolate treats and crafting candy, a chocolate shop/business might be for you. Sourcing is especially important for raw chocolate. But with the right chocolate, you can start making a wide range of treats.
With the average American eating an estimated 22 pounds of chocolate every year, let’s face it, it’s the nation’s guilty pleasure. You can sell your chocolates in retail, wholesale or events. If you’ve been sitting on a family recipe that always has people begging for more, why not pull it out and make it profitable?
Coffee Roasting Business
Fresh coffee roasters have a distinct advantage. And the value lies with the fresh factor. With the advent of designer coffee shops, more and more people are looking for creative brews in their coffee.
With the right equipment, mad roasting skills and an appealing shop you can brew your way to success. What is more, you can start providing your services to other coffee shops.
Let’s face it, coffee is what really drives our economy. Can you imagine your office without coffee? From boosting productivity in the workforce to promoting a relaxed environment as well as the health benefits, coffee is truly king.
More than two-thirds of Americans consume coffee every day. With a customer base of more than 200 million people, this is always a great business. But with so much competition, you have to find a way to differentiate yourself. Do that and you are guaranteed to have customers.
Cupcake shops are considered recession-proof. The lure for patrons is that cupcakes have a small price tag, and they are the ultimate feel-good purchase that won’t break the bank.
Benefits include low startup costs, simple business model, the ability to create one’s work schedule and the business can be run from home.
Since the 1800s delicatessen, better known as delis, were brought to the U.S. by German Jews. Operating a deli can be both fun and profitable.
You can start many different types of delis, the key is to identify the market in your area and provide the food they want to eat. Your product line is unlimited as you have a choice from soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees- the sky is the limit.
Diners are a staple in the American restaurant industry. Whether it is a classic diner or a new building, they are a solid business provided you have great and cheap food.
Your service differentiation can fall on a variety of factors. These could include speed, quality of service, price, restaurant theme and menu items. Good customer service and experience in the food industry can be an asset.
Let’s face it who doesn’t like to sit at a play or a musical and enjoy some fine grub? Having a keen sense of entertainment and identifying good food can go a long way here.
With a dinner theatre, you have three business units to manage the restaurant, the act and the bar. Dinner Theatre can be popular among tourists, couples on a date night or anybody who wants to squeeze in some entertainment while having a meal.
Edible Cookie Dough Cafe
An edible cookie dough cafe serves cookie dough, usually without eggs and other pathogen-carrying ingredients. The doughs are either served in cartons or on cones similar to ice cream.
The concept of edible cookie dough cafes came from the desire to allow customers to relive their childhood memories. Eating cookie dough off the beaters or licking the bowl and spatula clean can take you to a special place.
A farmers’ market is a great way to connect producers of local farms with a health-conscious public. As a business, you will to find sellers, stalls and win over a customer in a convenient location.
Customers include individual consumers as well as eateries looking for the freshest produce for their menu. Starting a farmers’ market is a great way to further other opportunities in the restaurant industry.
The competitive advantage a fast-food business has is its ability to provide affordable food to customers in as little time as possible. Fast food establishments come in all shapes and sizes from drive-thrus to traditional sit-down meals.
If you have a flair for providing excellent dining and catering to an upscale clientele, fine dining might just be right for you.
There are plenty of customers who are willing to splurge a little more for the optimal experience. Top-shelf wine, fine cutlery exceptional service are the hallmarks of fine dining.
Frozen Yogurt Business
A frozen yogurt business is all about offering variety to your customers. You can offer anything from smoothies to parfaits with an infinite amount of toppings and flavor combinations. You can add to your business model by also offering specialty drinks.
The key to success is how well you craft a specialty recipe along with your production methods.
Honey processing entails removing wax and other foreign unwanted particles from honey. There are lots of cost-effective machinery in the market that can help you achieve this.
Starting a honey business will require you to properly plan and prepare before starting operation. You not only produce honey but also byproducts such as beeswax and propolis. Propolis is widely used in food and cosmetic products such as lip balms, toothpaste, lotions, shampoos, cosmetics, and ointments.
Jam and Jelly Making
Jam jelly-making business is a profitable enterprise as they are the staple of most breakfasts. The business allows you to experiment with different flavors from fruits to make a wide variety of jam and jelly.
The key to success here is getting noticed. Offer samples to local networking meetings, grocery stores, and mixers to get your name out. Creating unique flavors is also key to differentiate yourself.
As a nutritionist, you can help your clients lead a healthy lifestyle. By assessing the nutritional needs of your clients’ you can determine the types of food and beverages they should eat to stay healthy.
A nutrition business requires degrees and certifications. But once you have them, you can work for yourself or companies in the healthcare segment by providing your services.
Cooking Competition Organizer or Cooking Reality Show
Who doesn’t like a cooking completion, especially an organic one? With more and more households being conscious of what they eat, organizing an organic cookout can be great.
By hosting these competitions, you not only get hard cash from sponsorship but also help communities be healthier. You can also raise your game from community competitions to city and statewide events.
Pasta Making Business
Although Italian pasta is the most well-known, your pasta businesses can also specialize in all types of noodles. Your target market for a pasta business can be foodies as well as restaurants who don’t want to make their own pasta.
Fresh pasta commands a higher price than dry pasta. Inventory management is key to ensure you always have fresh pasta and your supply doesn’t go to waste.
Pickling is a process of preserving fruit or vegetable through fermentation. You can produce different types of pickles according to the demand of your local market.
The ease of storing pickles allows for low costs in storage. You can sell your pickles at farmers’ markets, roadside stands or local grocer.
Potato Chip Maker
As there is an ever-growing demand for convenience foods, potato chips is riding the wave. Sliced, thin and fried potato chips are very popular ready-to-eat snack items for those on the go.
Healthier alternatives are also cropping up. Chips that are not fired as well as any added artificial flavors or colors are in demand. With the right supplier, your profit margins can soar by just making potato chips.
Processed Dairy Food Business
A processed dairy food company produces anything from cheese, yogurt, milk, and everything in between. The segment is a thriving and profitable industry.
Depending on your production capacity and delivery capabilities the business can be very lucrative. The key is finding good suppliers to process dairy.
A snack business is easy to set up and comes with low startup capital. By some estimates 94% of adults in the U.S. snack daily. This is because snacks are faster, easier and efficient ways of consuming food on the go.
Snack food producers can work towards building a profitable business as well as help provide the nutritional needs of busy consumers.
Sushi is one of the more popular foods in the U.S. This has resulted in more restaurants and individuals making sushi as part of their menu.
However, finding the right sushi rice, wasabi and other ingredients can be difficult. A well-stocked sushi supply store with original Japanese products is a good business idea.
As the U.S. Latino population continues to increase, tortillas will become even more popular. But tortillas are also becoming a staple in non-Latino households. If you have a passion for Latino food, and especially Mexican food, you may enjoy running a tortilleria.
Spice Powder Business
Spice grinding and packaging can be a profitable food processing businesses. Essentially you are providing solutions to your customer’s needs by saving them time and physical efforts from preparing spices. The demand for spices in the domestic and international market is growing as it is a huge consumable household item.
The customer base includes everyone from individual consumers to restaurants, hotels and more.
Vinegar is a very popular and good preservative commodity. It is composed of water and acetic acid and acts both as a preservative and medicine. It is available in different flavors including apple cider, balsamic, cane beer, and palm beer. From households to restaurants vinegar is always in demand.
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