8 Food Business Ideas to Make Money Online in 2022

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The internet is so full of opportunities that it’s hard to know where to start when looking for easy food business ideas.

We’ve taken a look over the eight best food business ideas to tantalize your tastebuds, and inspire you to take the next step by building your online food business.

What is a Food Business?

Food businesses are everywhere – from the food stand on the corner of your block, to getting take-out at home. They all started from the product: great food! In this article, we’re going to focus on online food business ideas, so you can cash in on this booming multimillion-dollar market that you can run from your fingertips.

Why Start a Food Business?

Here are a few reasons why you should think about starting an online food business:

  • Consistent demand
  • Resilient industry
  • Customer ease

Additionally, if you have something you’re passionate about, think about how you could use that to build your online food business. There’s so much choice! Choose from a range of niches in the food industry, all of which cater to different food for specific audiences, events or demographics.

8 Great Food Business Ideas

#1. Cooking Classes

food business ideas americas test kitchen
America’s Test Kitchen is the biggest provider of cooking classes in the US.

Cooking classes are a great business idea that you can get started with for relatively little initial capital. They can be held in your home or online, for different levels and specialties. If you’re not sure where to start, do some research to see what kinds of dishes are popular for lessons. Next, develop a business plan and set up a website that allows customers to book classes easily.

America’s Test Kitchen is a good example of a successful online cooking class: it includes a wide selection of over 320 courses with tried and tested recipes, in-depth lessons, and one-on-one instructors. It teaches everything from the fundamentals to more specific skills and dishes.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: A ‘taster’ course is also a good way of getting students to see what you can offer, so consider adding one to your website!

#2. Meal Kits

food business ideas hellofresh meal kit
HelloFresh clearly outlines what goes in each box, with fresh recipes released every week.

Meal kits are a subscription service that offers pre-portioned ingredients and simple recipe instructions to create restaurant-standard meals from the comfort of your own home.

To get started, do your research on food delivery trends and understand the market. Next, work out how you will source the ingredients for your dishes. How will you keep them fresh? How will you package and ship to customers? This may seem logistically intensive, but it’s worth having a good process early on. Then, create some clear and easy-to-follow recipes for your dishes.

People like the ease, no-fuss approach of meal kits. Let’s be honest, for our increasingly busy lives, it is one more thing we don’t need to think about! HelloFresh is probably the most popular meal kit store – they provide clear, simple recipes to follow paired with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

#3. Organic Baby Food

food business ideas baby food once upon a farm
Once Upon a Farm does a great job of establishing trust with customers on its website.

Selling organic baby food online involves a relatively low start-up cost – most baby foods are already very easy to make. All you really need is access to fresh fruit and veggies, and a blender! Once you’ve figured out how to package best for freshness, set up your online store. Think about what kind of digital marketing strategy and website layout would help you to gain trust from parents, and figure out how to position your baby food as the best.

Popular organic baby food companies in the US include Once Upon a Farm and Yumi – they both develop nutritionally balanced baby and toddler food for all ages.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Doctors recommend certain types of food for different ages, so there are fresh opportunities for online stores to expand or refresh product lines to accompany a child’s growth.

#4. Hard to Find Foods

food business ideas snuk
Snuk describes its experience as a ‘flavor discovery’, using thousands of unique ingredients from around the world.

We all have cravings for foods that are hard to find, but what do you do if you can’t buy them locally? Many online stores which specialize in sourcing rare food products and selling them online are becoming popular with expatriates and food connoisseurs alike. You could sell rare spices, foreign candies, or specialty delicatessen treats.

The first step would be to do your research and understand which part of the market you want to corner. Then, find suppliers for your food products – make sure you buy stock in smaller amounts at first to understand demand. Next, set up your online store and organize foods by country, or type, so customers can quickly find what they’re looking for.

Several companies such as Snuk and ChefShop have a focus on sourcing unique ingredients from around the world for the dining table – including recipes on how to cook with these exotic foods.

#5. Cookies & Cakes

food business ideas hickory farms
Hickory Farms offer a range of gourmet foods for different holidays and occasions.

Online stores which sell cookies and cakes get a regular flow of business all year round – and there are plenty of different holidays to inspire themed treats. Not only is there a high demand for baked goods online, especially for any specific dietary needs, but it’s also cheaper to run a bakery on the web!

To set up your online bakery business, take a look at the laws in your country that govern food sales. Next, decide what kind of cookies or cakes you want to specialize in, and build your business plan from there.

One inspiring example is Katz, which specializes in selling gluten-free baked goods. While companies such as Hickory Farms focus on gourmet foods and cater to different occasions.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: It’s a good idea to do several taste tests first to make sure you’ve nailed the recipe.

#6. Meal Planning

food business ideas emeals
eMeals sums up its service simply on the website.

Meal planning businesses take the fuss out of the weekly family meal prep, particularly for those who have specific appetites, or are simply too busy to deal with writing out a grocery list. For example, companies such as eMeals offer custom meal plans, recipe ideas, and a bunch of other features with a range of subscription options to choose from.

Do some research to figure out which dietary plans are the most popular, and then start developing your business from there. You could create different plans for vegetarian, vegan, keto, paleo, gluten-free, or low-calorie diets! Next, set up a subscription framework – we recommend offering a free trial to get your first customers on board. Finally, present all of your ideas on a website that tells customers what your business offers, and gives them an option to sign up.

#7. Event Food Boxes

food business ideas foxtail catering
Foxtail Catering offers Virtual Private Party (VIP) Boxes for virtual events.

Another great food business idea is to sell food boxes that cater for specific events – this could be anything from corporate events, to romantic meals and movie nights, to dinner parties.

Food boxes can be a nice gift to send employees at work events, or a birthday gift to a buddy. This is a relatively new market, with plenty of room for an emerging business.

Foxtail Catering creates party food boxes and corporate gifts for virtual events, including VIP dinners, conferences, and office parties. If you want to create a similar business, you first need to figure out who your target audience is. What makes your event food boxes different? Who are you trying to appeal to?

#8. Specialty Tea

food business ideas republic of tea
Republic of Tea offers a variety of different tea blends for different tastes.

Specialty tea is an emerging market, and as the second most widely consumed beverage in the world after water, the demand for tea isn’t going anywhere. With a relatively low start-up cost – particularly if you buy in bulk, or package the tea yourself – you can get this business off the ground pretty quickly.

Companies such as SpecialTea offer a wide range of different tea blends, in either loose or bag form. Republic of Tea also boasts a broad selection of tea, as well as mugs, teapots, and more.

To set up your own specialty tea business, we’d recommend working out which tea blends you’d like to stock. Which teas are most popular with customers? Is there a niche you’d like to tap into? Then, figure out your business plan and build your online store to display your specialty tea.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Drinking tea is often treated as a ritualistic experience, so try to make your customer experience focused on this.

Summary

We’ve gone over plenty of food-related business ideas for you, but now it’s time for you to decide which suits you best. If you’re passionate about food, try baking your own treats to sell online, or teaching cooking classes. If logistics are your strong suit, consider creating a meal planning service, or you could set up a hard to find food store.

The best thing about an online food business is that you can save on upfront costs, and scale your business quickly. So, try to not overthink it – often the best ideas for food business stores come from people who love their craft.

FAQs

With the right amount of drive and enthusiasm, you can make any food business profitable. If you’re looking for a low-risk, low-cost food business idea, take a look at dropshipping. Dropshipping is a business model that means you can sell food online, while working with a third-party supplier that produces, stores, and ships your products directly to your customers.
Anyone can make money selling food, but it’s best to validate your product idea before you open a business. You want to know your product rocks before it hits the market. Try meeting directly with potential customers, doing taste tests, gathering feedback, and exploring the community around your product to see if it has potential.
Many foods sell in high quantities, but the bestselling ones usually either cater to a specific dietary need (e.g., sugar-free cookies) or combine familiar favorites with an enticing novelty (e.g., pistachio ice cream).

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