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List of Small Business Ideas For Cooks and Foodies

Updated on July 16, 2011

If you love good food and cooking, consider starting a small home-based food business to earn extra money. From specialty pasta sauce to baked goods to catering - the possibilities are almost endless!

This list focuses on business ideas related to preparing and cooking food. If you're more interested in producing great food than cooking it, check out my list of small business ideas for farmers and gardeners.

Home Bakery Business Ideas

Homemade baked goods are among the most popular small food business ideas. The following are some ideas for a home-based bakery business:

  • artisan breads
  • biscuits
  • brownies
  • cake decorating
  • cakes
  • cinnamon rolls
  • cookies
  • cupcakes
  • ethnic breads
  • ethnic cookies
  • flatbread
  • gluten-free cookies
  • granola
  • muffins
  • pastries
  • pies
  • pretzels
  • raw vegan breads
  • scones
  • sourdough bread
  • vegan cupcakes
  • vegan cookies
  • whole grain bread

Photo by Benimoto
Photo by Benimoto

More Home-Based Food Business Ideas

There is an almost endless array of specialty foods suitable for a home-based food business. Ultimately, the choice should come down to foods that you make best and most enjoy making. Meanwhile, here are some ideas ranging from common to unusual to help you get started.

  • apple cider
  • aronia juice
  • bacon
  • barbecue sauce
  • bread mixes
  • bison jerky
  • candied nuts
  • catnip tea
  • chili
  • chips
  • cooking classes
  • dried fruits
  • dried mushrooms
  • flavored popcorn
  • goat cheese
  • gourmet sandwich delivery
  • handmade chocolates
  • herbal tea
  • homemade wine
  • hummus
  • infused oils
  • jams, jellies, and preserves
  • kimchi
  • maple syrup
  • marinades
  • marmalade
  • mole
  • organic beer
  • organic meal delivery
  • pasta sauce
  • peanut brittle
  • pickles
  • raw local honey
  • raw vegan personal chef
  • roasted chestnuts
  • salad dressing
  • salad mixes
  • salsa
  • saurkraut
  • sausages
  • smoked meats
  • spice mixes
  • stone-ground grains
  • tamales
  • truffles
  • truffle oil
  • vegan catering

Specialty Niches For Home-Based Food Businesses

There is often a market for delicious foods that cater to specific dietary needs, restrictions, or preferences. In addition to the ideas mentioned above, consider catering to any of the following markets:

  • artisan
  • dairy free
  • free range
  • gluten free
  • grassfed
  • halal
  • kosher
  • living foods
  • local
  • low carb
  • low fat
  • nut free
  • organic
  • probiotics
  • raw
  • vegan
  • vegetarian
  • wheat free
  • whole grain

Are Home Based Food Businesses Legal?

Laws regulating home-based food businesses vary from state to state, so it is important to check with your local Public Health Department to learn about local requirements. Some towns and cities also have zoning laws that may affect your ability to run a home food business.

You can get basic information and links to more in depth resources about legal issues revolving around home food businesses at the US Small Business Administration's website.


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    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 7 years ago from New York City

      You know what? I LOVE a great list and this is it.

      Why not do something that is necessary and excellent - like artisan bread - I like that one. Also preparing vegan sweets and cookies! My neighbor is a vegan chef. She's amazing and when she is not catering wonderful vegan meals - she is consulting to open vegan restaurants. She also has a detox website - one thing just leads to another.

      Great list ideas you have. Rated up of course - and more! Thanks!

    • profile image

      haley 7 years ago

      for me, the best business really is food business. no matter what season it is, you will still have a profit at the end of the day, of course this also depends on the location of the food business and what kind of products are sold/served.

    • profile image

      ccjames2010 7 years ago

      This is an interesting article and I just became a member of home based baking dot com a membership site that supports home food processors, like bakers. I am a cake designer and starting my own little business was a challenge, but I had lots of support and I have been baking now for two years and never looked back. Thanks for sharing this info.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I would dearly love to but the law is so strict that it is impossible unless you go into the big way. Thank you for such a helpful hub. Thank was very kind.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      Great ideas and motivation for those who crave the food world 24/7! Insiteful and helpful. Dried fruits and artisan breads make an outstanding combination! Will be interesting to know just how many will owe you some 'thanks' following their home food business success!

      Great job!