Transitioning from making butter for your friends and family to making butter for public sale opens the door to a potentially successful business. Well-developed business and marketing plans are essential, as much depends on how well you organize your business and position and market your product. When it comes to deciding how and where to sell homemade butter, think creatively to find the most profitable opportunities.
Although not every state regulates the cottage food industry, those that do may determine how and where you can sell homemade butter. For example, state laws may limit your sales to farmers markets and community events, or they might allow you to sell homemade butter wherever you choose. Information about cottage food regulation is available from your state’s Department of Agriculture. However, even states that have no regulations typically encourage cottage food producers to conduct product-safety testing and get training on safe production and packaging practices.
Establishing the right target market requires that you make a number of important decisions. One of the most important is deciding how to position your product. Because homemade butter isn’t something customers see every day, you could position your product as an organic, luxury or gourmet item. Doing so helps you define your target market, and it provides a starting point for distinguishing your homemade butter from your main competition: large businesses and dairy manufacturers.
Because homemade butter is a perishable food, you must choose potential sales outlets with care. Consider packaging, temperature control and delivery methods -- especially if you’re just getting started and operating within a tight budget. Common sales outlets for new businesses include flea markets, farmers markets and local grocery stores. Consider marketing your homemade butter to local -- preferably upscale -- restaurants, either as a food ingredient or as a featured retail sale item.
Although in the beginning you’ll be the one pursuing potential buyers, create a strategy designed to bring buyers to you. One way to get exposure is to enter your butter in local and national food competitions, such as the World Dairy Expo, and to win awards. That kind of attention will create a buzz about your product and allow you to market your homemade butter as “award-winning.” This is helpful for establishing trust and elevating your status to that of an industry expert.