Before you can sell homemade food online, you must meet requirements set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (DOA), in conjunction with regulatory authorities in each state. You will need to meet licensing and permit requirements before you're ready to sell your goods. Also, you must carefully consider shipping and packaging options to be sure shipments of your food products arrive safely
Health and Safety
Regulations vary from state to state as the type of food-making and baking activities that can be done from home. Some states allow you to make homemade food and sell it, but restrict the types of food you can produce and don't allow you to sell it online. On the other hand, some states forbid homemade food production entirely and require you to use a commercial facility that's already met their strict requirements. In states that do allow homemade food production, obtaining a license typically involves a health inspection of your kitchen area from a local health agency.
Selling homemade food online means you'll have to comply with federal and state regulations for food labeling. Foods you sell online typically must be labeled with the name of the food on the package, and its expiration date along with a list of ingredients, in order from the most-used to the least. Some states that require you to mark your food as "unregulated" or "homemade" so consumers will know the risk.
To protect yourself and your homemade food business, you may want to invest in food liability insurance. This is especially important because you'll be selling to many different customers in different regions. Liability insurance can protect you in case customers file a lawsuit against you, claiming they got sick or poisoned from the food you sold. Insurance premiums you'll pay often depends on the type of food you're selling and the manufacturing process, as well as an estimate of your gross sales.
You can either set up your own e-commerce website for selling your homemade goods or you can sell them through online food marketplaces such as Foodzie, Abe's Market and Amazon's Grocery and Gourmet Food department. Selling your food with the help of established online retailers helps you gain a large audience more quickly than if you started from scratch with your own website. It can also help streamline your payment and shipping procedures.
Matthew Schieltz has been a freelance web writer since August 2006, and has experience writing a variety of informational articles, how-to guides, website and e-book content for organizations such as Demand Studios. Schieltz holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He plans to pursue graduate school in clinical psychology.