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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
For more ideas, check out our list of the best food products to sell online.