George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Although most of us consider salt to be one of the most basic foods, there are many varieties of unique, high-quality salt from all over the world. From pink Himalayan rock salt to gray Celtic sea salt, curious cooks choose from a wealth of options. Enterprising entrepreneurs have been developing blends of salts and spices for home use; these are popular at specialty food stores. If you are interested in developing a product with many applications, a salt business could be a great option.
Research Salt Business Requirements
Contact your city and state revenue departments about the licenses and requirements for starting a salt business. Also contact your local health department and ask what type of facility you need to mix and package salt products and salt blends. You probably will not need a full-scale commercial kitchen with a stove and ventilation system, but you will need a licensed, inspected, sanitary facility with approved dishwashing equipment and easy-to-clean surfaces.
If you plan to hire, register as an employer with the IRS as well as your state's employment security department and department of labor and industries.
Determine Products and Pricing
Find sources for your salt. Research salt distributors online, paying special attention to those that specialize in a particular kind of salt, such as commercial sea salt production. Single variety purveyors tend to be primary sources rather than middlemen. Sample salts from these sources and at your local gourmet food store, and contact salt companies regarding availability and prices.
Develop a core product line of salt blends, including a salt and pepper mix as well as preparations that home cooks can use with different types of dishes such as chicken, fish or Mediterranean food. Decide on a price point for your products, such as whether you want to use only the finest materials and create a premium product or you want to use less expensive ingredients and target a wider market.
Choose Product Labels and Packaging
Develop packaging and labels for your products. Plastic or glass jars or containers are durable but expensive, inflating your costs and potentially placing your products in a higher price range. Plastic bags are considerably less expensive but trickier to display.
Design an attractive label showcasing your company name and logo and listing the ingredients of your product. If your product contains allergens, note this on the label as well. Include suggestions for how to use your product, such as whether it is especially good with chicken or fish.
Market Your Salt Business
Find markets for your products. Bring samples to specialty food stores in your area as well as specialty food distributors. Salt has a long shelf life even without time-consuming processes such as canning, so it makes sense to distribute salt products as widely as possible. Set up a booth at your local farmers' market so you can sell your products directly to consumers.
Devra Gartenstein founded her first food business in 1987. In 2013 she transformed her most recent venture, a farmers market concession and catering company, into a worker-owned cooperative. She does one-on-one mentoring and consulting focused on entrepreneurship and practical business skills.