In recent years, independent soup businesses have become more prominent as consumers have trended toward gourmet, healthy soups as opposed to condensed, canned ones. Some soup businesses are even run from homes, while other highly profitable ones started in a home kitchen before moving to a larger facility. If you are thinking of starting a home-based soup business, there are some things you should be aware of.
Contact your local or state health department to ensure you are allowed to run a food business from home. Most states do not allow this, but a few, such as New Hampshire and Alabama, do.
Make sure you can follow your state's guidelines for running a home food business. This typically means your kitchen has to be separated by a solid door from all living areas of the home and the kitchen cannot be used to prepare food for anyone in the home. You'll need to build a new kitchen for residential use.
Decide what type of soup business you want to start. For example, you can start a soup delivery business or sell dry, packaged soups via an online marketplace such as Foodzie.
Develop soup recipes that will be commercially successful by researching current food trends. Look through resources such as Food Trends or Epicurious.
For example, if you notice that ancho chilies are becoming more popular, you may want to develop a soup that features this ingredient. Likewise, if the trend toward pumpkin soups is winding down, you may want to rethink adding this flavor to your list of offerings.
Obtain an assumed name certificate (DBA) from your county or state, an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS and a tax identification number from your state, if required.
Attend a food manager certification course, if your state health department requires you to do so. Anyone working for you will likely be required to attend a food handler's training class.
Submit an application to operate a food enterprise. Different states have different names for this particular permit, but the most common ones are Food Business, Food Enterprise Retail Food Establishment and Commercial Food Business.
Purchase soup packaging and shipping supplies, if needed, from a supplier such as ULine or Nashville Wraps. You may also be able to find the packaging you need from your local baking supply store or commercial cooking equipment retailer.
Contact your local health department and request an inspection of your home kitchen. They will ensure you have all the required permits, that your kitchen is separate from the living areas in your home and that you are working from a sanitary space. This inspection will be required before you can start selling soups prepared from your home.