How to Start a Baby Food Business
Nowadays, parents are more food-conscious than ever. The children of the microwave dinner era have grown up to become locavores and vegans. The popularity of organic foods without preservatives has peaked in every corner of the food industry. If you’re interested in opening a baby food business, the popularity of organic, raw, and homemade foods is a great way to capitalize on trends while providing a quality product to the most important little members of our society Unique Press.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown that will help you get your business up and running.
- – a plan
- – a kitchen (licensed)
- – a permit
- – a website
- – a logo
- – informative fliers/pamphlets/brochures
Step 1: Do your research
Never launch a business without getting a feel for the marketplace. Take the time to investigate your local and regional terrain. Stop at farmers’ markets and check grocery stores or specialty shops that stock home-made baby foods. Look for the unconventional options; you’re not competing with Gerber just yet. What you’re looking for: the details. What do these companies do that sets them apart? Do they donate proceeds to a great cause? Do they use recyclable packaging? What are their ingredients? All of this info will help you formulate a competitive brand, logo, and product, so take notes.
Step 2: Now do more research
Before making a food product to sell, you’ll need to know the FDA’s rules and requirements for contents and labels. You’ll also need a food handler’s permit (these are akin to what a server or barista receives in most cities), probably a manufacturing permit, and you’ll also want to know any special rules that might apply to your start-up homemade food company. Making food at home comes with a unique set of requirements, and the last thing you want is to get slapped with a fine because you didn’t do your homework.
Step 3: Envision, design, develop.
Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned about the current baby food industry and let your creativity take the reins. You’ll need a logo, a brand, and some panache. Decide where you’ll be purchasing your fruit and veggies and how you can use that information to appeal to your target audience. Keep your name clever and simple, and don’t forget you’ll need to notify the county clerk you’re in business. Presumably, you’ve got the makings of delicious, natural baby food down pat, but if not, don’t be afraid to experiment. Roasting, pureeing, steaming, and using a mixture of organic foods and spices will produce delicious concoctions. Just don’t forget to write recipes down as you go, and remember that a little less of this and a little more of that can turn a gross paste into a tasty pate. Additional research into which foods are best for babies, which should be avoided, and which ones cause upset tummies, colic, and other symptoms are also recommended … even for the experienced parent. Use a reliable guide while you’re experimenting with recipes. If even the most sensitive baby can eat your foods, the reward will be endless customer loyalty, and loyalty equals success.
Step 4: Set up shop
Find a licensed kitchen space to rent (building your own from scratch will be an excessive expense) and use it for prepping and packaging. Catering companies, churches, and other community centers often have kitchens they only use part-time, so these are often available for rent at reasonable prices. Once you’ve developed and cooked a baby food you’re proud of, you’ll want to test its shelf-life. Some companies will do this for you; spending the extra money to use them will pay off in the long run (and in some places, maybe mandatory).
Step 5: Compare and contrast
This is where you and your product go in for the kill. Break down the nutritional information in your products and show how it compares to your closest competition and mainstream brands. This way, while it will likely cost the consumer more, your product should prove itself worthy of the added investment. Don’t forget to point out that your food doesn’t include any fillers, so babies eat less of it. Then hand all this out (with permission) at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other baby-friendly arenas.