How To Start a Freeze Dried Food Business

How To Start a Freeze Dried Food Business


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.

Research Your Target Market

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:

  • On-the-go people looking for meals and snacks to bring during travels, hiking, and adventure.
  • Individuals who are always busy and don’t have time to cook for themselves a lot.
  • Health-conscious individuals looking for quick, healthy meals.
  • Pet parents who only want the best, safe, and healthy treats and whole foods for their pet babies.
  • Families who desire to give their elderly parents access to healthy, easy-to-prepare meals made from real food.
  • Kids and adults who like to have fun trying out novelty desserts and snacks.

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.

Plan Your Business Model

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.

How To Start A Freeze Dried Food Business – Estimate Startup Cost

After planning your business model, you should now estimate your start-up cost. This will include:

  • Freeze-drying equipment and supplies
  • Raw materials
  • Labor
  • Overhead
  • Containers
  • Labels
  • Packing materials

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.

How To Start A Freeze Dried Food Business – Estimate Startup Cost

Look for Cottage Food Laws

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:

  • Farm markets
  • Farmers markets
  • Roadside stands
  • Other direct markets.

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.

Create an LLC

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.

How To Start A Freeze-Dried Food Business: Kitchen Setup

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.

Open A Business Bank Account

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.

Establish Your Brand

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.

Look for Cottage Food Laws

Create A Core Products List

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:

  • Candy – texture changes dramatically that’s why it’s so hot in the market. Some start with taffy, Skittles, or Jolly Ranchers.
  • Fruits – start with strawberries, raspberries, apples, blueberries, and pineapples. Some take a bit more time to prepare and freeze dry. But on average, you’re looking at 38-48 hours, depending on how much you’re freeze-drying. If a fruit is in season, look for deals in farmer’s markets and grocery stores.
  • Ice cream sandwiches – no-fuss preparation, easy to source and make.
  • Vegetables – there are people out there who are stocking food for emergencies. Some are for convenience since they don’t have time to prep and cook.

Remember to refer to your Cottage Food Laws to see if your chosen food item is good and what your requirements would be.

Look At The Competition

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:

  1. Packaging
  2. Cost
  3. Shipping
  4. Pickup option
  5. Labeling
  6. Customer reviews.

What you don’t want to do is to obsess over what they’re offering and doing, that you forget your brand and identity.

Create A Website

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.

Establish Social Media Presence

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.

Learn To Say No

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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