MARKETING FOOD ONLINE



How to Start a Food Business Series: Subscriber Questions

Posted by Damian Roberti on

So I wanted to dive into these questions and the first one comes up. It's actually from, I've got my laptop open from Kristin and it's what additional regulations do you have to account for when you are selling across state lines, you have to work out of a licensed commercial kitchen and following additional FDA guidelines, correct? I'm wanting to sell a dry mixed product online, but I'm a bit confused about the extra steps needed to make that happen.

 

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Alright, so this was actually in regards to a spice video that I did. So here's how it works. If you're working out of your home, you're basically not allowed to sell across state lines. Of course, if you're in a commercial facility and you're licensed through your city and the County correctly to operate a commercial food processing business, then you could do that. You could ship online. Is there any additional rules, regulations? Well, you need to obviously make sure that you follow the FDA guidelines in regards to labeling the product correctly, which would be a nutritional information ingredient listing and allergen warning and all of those fantastic things.

 

But in order to do that online, is there any other additional business licenses that you're asking? Not that I've ever heard of? No, but when you get your business license though, many times the office that you get your business license in, and I'm speaking from my own experience is that when we started an eCommerce business, we had to specify that we were in e-commerce or online business.

And now that varies by every state and of course by every County and city dependent upon how the application, the business license is worded and what the County and city, where you are, needs to know what it is specifically that you're doing with food. How are you preparing it, packaging it or processing it and making sure that you're in a commercial facility. So as far as the FDA guidelines, the FDA actually put out, what's known as guidance.

Read Sam Hall's answer to Have you ever ordered some food from a restaurant with “I know what I am ordering” attitude only later to find it was not but you had to pretend to enjoy it yet it was disgusting? on Quora

They put out guidelines and it's known as guidance that they recommend you do this, this and this. So following and making sure that you've got the label, correct. And you're not making any additional health claims without substantiation and such. That is all that you need to do. So make sure you also get food business insurance, make sure you obviously have your food business license, and most likely either the health department or the USDA, the department of agriculture may be also inspecting your facility depending upon how it's set up within your state.

And of course the type of food operation that you have, a lot of restaurants are normally inspected by health departments, manufacturing, food facilities. The department of agriculture in some States will actually oversee that. They'll be the ones to inspect that. So if you're working from a commercial kitchen and you're renting it, double check with those who are owning the kitchen and managing the kitchen, you're working from, see if they need anything additional from you in order to carry out the processing that you're doing, where you're going to use. Our next question is actually about packaging spices. This was from the, actually the same video that I've found the question I just answered, but it's from, I believe  it actually says, hello, thank you very much. Very helpful lessons. I'm looking into selling spices on eBay as is the case cheapest platform I can afford at the moment.

 

No problem, nothing wrong with that because E-bay is actually where we started too. And it's always good to start small and continue to build up from there. So I have also found a supplier that would actually pack the spices for me in a hundred mil containers for a very reasonable price. So my question is starting up, how many of these containers should I order a month as I don't want to order too little or too much. And at the moment I'm concentrating on four different blends of spices. Thank you. Okay. This is actually a great question. And to be honest with you, there's no way in the world that I can answer it for you, but here's why I say that. And I don't say that in a rude way. I say it in a way that that's the, that's the thing about entrepreneurship. When you first start any business, you always want to order on the side of smaller, not to over order or order large.

So whatever their minimum is, or if you can maybe do a hundred bottles or maybe a hundred units, I personally would recommend that you order a small amount in sell out, then order another small amount and grow gradually. Those incrementally orders larger and larger and larger. If I said, you know what? I think, Esther, you have a great product. I haven't even tasted it or nor do I know much about the product order, a thousand bottles. And you'll be perfectly fine. That's not something that would be really good advice for you when you're starting every food business. And from my own experience, don't rush in, don't overload yourself at first, you need to have proof that it's going to sell. Okay? So you need to have an idea of what it is the product is, how are you going to package it and then label it and all that stuff.

But then the idea of selling a large quantity right off the bat is normally not something that happens, especially when you're just starting out. And you're trying to understand e-commerce and get into eBay or Etsy or Amazon always try to err on the side of a smaller amount first, if as you can always increase it. If I said, Esther, you know what order 10,000 bottles, I'm sure you'll sell them someday. I'm going to have, you know, down the road, you're gonna be several months into it. You're gonna be sitting on probably 9,000 bottles because 1000 sold, but 9,000 still sitting somewhere. So the, there really is no specific guidance on that. As far as how much product you should order from them. Now, if you're finding a company, obviously that's doing it. As you mentioned in your question, they're doing it for you. They may have a minimum.

 

 

 

So that's understandable. They may say, you know what, Esther, we can only do 500 bottles of whatever their smallest amount is that you're getting. I say go small first and then you can increase that. Okay. It's always best to sell out than to be stuck with. Okay. So at any point in time who's ever watching this and if you're not doing spices and you happen to be starting a business and you have similar concern or an idea, always try to err on the side of a minimal amount and you can grow from there. So overextending yourself because I've actually done this before. And I wish I didn't, but I learned the hard way that if you put too much of it out there and you expect it to sell and it doesn't, then you're just going to lose money. It's going to be not a profitable business model.

 

 

Okay. So get as few as you can. I'd rather say, sell out and then go from there. Okay. All right. So next up, I'm going through my questions here. I've got a great question from Trey. Thank you, Trey, by the way. Um, there's the question there. If I am making a product such as a sauce, what certain license do I need and what is exactly required? Um, I am making the product and selling it directly also. Would I be able to ship it, ship it when a person orders from my website. Okay. So Trey, I have a few questions to your question. The first question is where are you doing this? If you're doing it from home cottage food business, um, it looks like you had mentioned it, I think in the bottom that you are in Georgia. So if you're doing it as a cottage food business, traditionally, you can't ship or selling product through a website.

Yes. There are a few States, very, very few States that allow you to do that and ship it over state lines. Now you're probably thinking why maybe I don't want to ship it over state lines. Can I ship it within the state? No, if you're doing it from home, you normally can't because again, you have to deliver it in transact in person. Now having a website and selling a product online is going to open you up to obviously the entire country or near the whole planet. But that means that you'd have to restrict the amount and the types of transactions. So that's why mostly cottage food businesses. You have to do it. If you're doing it from home, you have to transact in person. Now the next question is, and this is really important. You say sauce, what kind of a sauce are you making?

Because by the way, a lot of cottage food laws restrict, restrict the type of sauces you make based on the pH level, if it's too aesthetic or if it has very low acids, there's a lot of variation. So check with your state in Georgia about the cottage food laws in particular. Um, and you know what I'll do, I'll try to down in the description, I'll put a link to the Georgia department of agriculture website and you can check the cottage, food regulations and laws. See about that because a lot of sauces that have to be cooked and then cooled, and then canned, if they're not done properly, if they have a certain pH level, well, they're actually don't fall under the cottage food laws. You have to get a commercial kitchen to produce the product. Now, if that was the case, then that changes the ballgame.

Okay? Cause if you're in a commercially licensed facility and you happen to be mass producing this, and you're being regulated by the department of agriculture, not the health department and you're not doing it from home, that way you can create a website and now you're considered a commercial food manufacturer. You can sell the product through state lines, but that's totally different. So those are a few questions I have for you. And to answer your question, so check those and see what would be best fit for the product and where you're making it. All right. So our last question for this video, okay. I like to keep me around 10 minutes, cause I don't want to put you guys to sleep. Uh, then I video, uh, next question actually is Jeffrey Jeffrey Santos. Thank you again, Jeffrey for your question. And it's actually a great one. This is something that fall in line with a lot of people that actually subscribe to the show.

And also this is a good question. So Hey Damien. So I, when I get my selling permit to sell my rub, do I need to get a brand set up and logos for packaging before selling it online? And if so, is there one place that you know, that does all this for you? Okay. So yes, yes and no. And no. Okay. So number one, should you get a, should you set up your packaging and such to create your own brand? Yes. Most definitely. This is going to have to have you sit down and think about what type of a brand image are you looking to create with your packaging, the type of a logo. Is there some type of a font, a color, um, the logo itself, do you want it to depict something? Are you adding a character? So when you're creating a brand, that's going to encompass text, it's going to encompass an image it's going to encompass potentially even a trademark for your packaging.

So you want to kind of think about that and sit down and kind of brainstorm. You don't have to be an artist or per se, but you definitely want to go down and sit down and kind of write out some ideas now, where can you go to get that to believe it or not? I've got 12 different logos designed on fiber. Now you may or may not have heard of fiber, but fiber is a place where you can go and you can get a logo designed anywhere from 10 to 50 or even to $200, depending on your budget. I've actually had over a dozen of them done for our facility here and they have been fantastic. The highest I paid, I think it was 25 bucks. I'll actually put a link down, check that out for yourself if you haven't looked into it, not yet.

But part of your brand is the logo as your question asks. Yes, most definitely have that made for you. And a lot of times these designers will allow you to critique it and kind of revise it a couple of different times to make sure it's exactly how you want. So you want to sit down and kind of come up with an idea, think about it. If it's a, if it's an herb blend or a spice blend, who is the end user, are you wanting to be really kind of something more kind of whimsical? Do you want to have a character part of your logo, any of that stuff that you want? You want to work that out first now, before you go online, you also want to create your website and encompass that website. If you happen to do it with weebly.com, maybe if you're doing it with Shopify Shopify, we've, there actually are two platforms that I developed all of our websites on, um, or even go daddy.

Uh, these are places that you can build a website out, but keep in mind your brand when you're building in the website. So selling online, isn't just something simply that you want to take a picture of the product, throw it up there and hopefully people get it. If there's actually a brand or image and idea that you're trying to convey, you want that to be throughout your entire website. So as far as the brand or logo or packaging selling online, try to keep all of that in mind. And even the color scheme, the text, the font styles. Yeah, the images, everything you're putting on your website, make sure that that kind of screams, you know, this is Jeffrey's product, this Jeffrey's product Jeffrey spices. Um, so make sure that that image is really spelled out and it's throughout your entire website. Even if you do a blog, same thing, make sure that it all encompasses your brand because it's very important as people see that initially that's the imagery, that's the image, that's the brand they're going to take it.

So that is a great question. And is there a place that does all of this for you? Um, not really, but there are, there are a handful of websites. The fiver for instance, can do the logo for you. Um, if you're looking for package design too, believe it or not, fiver has designers who can create the package, a logo and a package are two different things. So if you create a logo and you want to bring that together with a style package, then most definitely you could go to Fiverr and get all of that in kind of in one place in a sense, but it's going to be up to you to make sure you manage that. And you supervise that. So it comes out and creates a final package, product design and brand that you specifically are wanting. Okay. So in this, I'll wrap it up in this video and covered a handful of your questions.

Please do keep asking. I'll get to your questions. As soon as we can. We get quite a few, we get a few hundred a day. So I try to answer them as soon as I can on top of running our business then in the back there. So I'll see you guys in the next video. And of course, check out all the resources that by the way, um, our website marketing online.com, we have a blog that has a ton of other useful information, absolutely free. And of course, even on YouTube here, if you're not a subscriber hit that subscribe button, we have over 800 videos to help you get started. We'll see you in the next video. Thanks for watching marketing food online. And if you are looking to create your own food truck, start at home based food business. Under the cottage food law franchise, a food operation start a packaged food business, private label, your own food product, sell on Amazon, get your own online store or sell food online. Remember to subscribe and check out these videos for more resources.

 

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