Jul 6, 2023
Buying a Harvest Right freeze dryer is a serious investment. But did you know that it can help you and others as well? And as you help others build their food storage, you can also profit from it. Here’s how to start a freeze dried food business so you’ll get your money’s worth and help others at the same time.
Most of the time, people start a business because they have a passion for it. It’s a good thing because it can bring you places. But tie that with knowing what you’re market’s wants and needs, and you have a higher chance of succeeding in your business. Examples of target markets and their needs are:
Once you know which target market to focus on, you’ll know what food you can prepare. Especially how you will package it and let them know how it will help solve their food need.
After knowing the target market you want to serve, you should decide whether to manufacture or provide service.
For manufacturing, you’ll be selling freeze-dried products to your customers. Do you want to do your own production or outsource it? When you outsource, you save much money, which is great for start-ups. On the other hand, you’ll be investing a lot of money when you have your production. The good part is that you have more control of your process.
After planning your business model, you should now estimate your start-up cost. This will include:
On average, you’ll be spending $10,000-$100,000 on equipment only, depending on the size. That doesn’t include installation costs and necessary upgrades. Of course, if you already have a home freeze-dryer, that’s fine. But just in case you want to level up your game, you’ll need to think about these numbers.
Different states have different laws on what food you can sell. Under the Cottage Food Law, you can freeze-dry at home non-potentially hazardous food. These food items shouldn’t require time and/or temperature control for safety reasons. The food you process at home can be sold directly to customers through several avenues like:
Different states have different Cottage Food Laws. Search for state-specific laws on Google to learn the exact details. Or you could also contact your county’s local health district. The last thing you need is to face law problems when your business is up and running.
LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a U.S. business structure that helps protect owners from personal liability. You use your business as a business expense, and you also get different benefits for taxes. It only costs a couple of hundred dollars. It may be an additional cost at the beginning. But the protection and tax benefits make it worthwhile.
Having a commercial kitchen can do wonders for your business. But it does cost a lot! So what you can do for now is look at churches and private schools. They’re licensed and already setup, so you don’t have to worry about space and equipment.
One thing that makes it hard to audit your business expense is having a unified account. Don’t do this to yourself. You can always open a business bank account where all the income and expenses for your business go. It’s easier to track where the money goes, and you can better plan your costs.
Your brand is your message and identity. A logo will help people remember and identify your brand with your product. Whether you’re doing this as a side hustle or be serious about it, you want your brand to be top-of-mind.
There are several free tools out there that can help you design logos. Canva is good if you don’t know how to do graphics. It also makes creating social media graphics easy without you having to be a Photoshop whiz. Other Canva alternatives include BrandCrowd, Printful, and Design Evo.
Tailor Brands was initially for making logos. But now they branched out to over several services to help start-ups build their brand.
You don’t have to pressure yourself to make this perfect. There are a lot of big companies out there that redid their logo and remade their brand. Give it serious thought, but it’s not the end of the world if it’s imperfect. Perfection comes along the road as you learn more about your customers.
Why is this so down the road on our how to start a freeze dried food business guide? Because you need to know your market and capabilities before you begin your offer.
Did you notice some companies are selling only fruits, candies, or meals? That’s their core product. To know your core product, study what’s selling hot on the market. Join Facebook groups, look at YouTube and TikTok videos, or search on community forums. Next, check Etsy and see which shop is selling and what’s hot on their items. As more and more people start selling, the tougher the competition would be. So try to see what can differentiate your business from them. To help, some core items could be:
Remember to refer to your Cottage Food Laws to see if your chosen food item is good and what your requirements would be.
They say that when you start, don’t mind the competition. Focus on your business, not theirs. It’s true because they’re also doing their own thing. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Take some time to look at what your competitors are doing. See what’s working and what’s not. You could look at:
What you don’t want to do is to obsess over what they’re offering and doing, that you forget your brand and identity.
Having your own website makes it easier for you to establish your brand and authority. In addition, it makes it easier for people to identify you when they search for you on Google. People can easily see what your brand is about and what you offer. Plus, although most people are on Facebook and Instagram, nothing is as seamless as putting orders through a website.
Nowadays, you can’t run a business now without having social media presence. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are where customers are. You can also have a YouTube channel for behind-the-scenes (BTS) look at your business to help establish connections and trust.
Stick to your core products as much as possible, especially when starting. There’s a saying in marketing: sell to everyone, and you sell to no one. The success of your core products will lie in your research. Do it well and tie your freeze-drying passion with it. As long as you get the right message and target the right people, you’ll get customers interested in doing business with you.
How can you help make your presence known? Network with people by joining farmers market pop-ups. You’ll see pop-up events like this on Facebook and Instagram. Join them and set notifications when applications are due.
Research on what’s hot and in demand in the market and start selling those. Doesn’t matter if you don’t have it in your online store. It’s a one-time thing; you’ll see what resonates and what doesn’t in your market. What’s important is you get yourself out there and make your presence known.
We hope that we gave you a good idea on how to start a freeze dried food business. What made you decide to turn your passion into something that can work for you? Let us know in the comment section.
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