Top 11 profitable food business ideas for first-time entrepreneurs

When you operate a food business you will bring smiles to the faces of your customers while making a living doing what you love. While there will always be a strong demand for good food, when it comes to starting a food business as a first-time business owner, it can be critical that you first assess the market saturation and competition in your local area. Doing so can help you determine what type of food business idea you will pursue.

So, here are 11 services and products that you may consider when it comes to starting your own food business as a first-time food business owner. We cover new food ideas to food vending ideas, and many things in between. We will also cover off how to grow a food business.

11 food services and products you can sell

1. Food truck

If you don’t want to be locked in to one location, opening a food truck business can be a great option. Food trucks are much easier to transport to other locations than traditional restaurants, which enables you to cater to different customers and gain more business. You also have the freedom to create your own menu – anything from spicy lobster salad to burgers to fine finger food. There’s really nothing stopping you from trialling different types of foods and seeing what your customers enjoy the most.

Recommended reading: Insurance for Food Trucks and Mobile Food Vans

2. Gourmet popcorn shop

Gourmet popcorn is a delicious, nostalgic snack that food entrepreneurs can use to create a steady income stream. Key flavours of gourmet popcorn include strawberry, cheese, and caramel, to name a few you may sell.

3. Cooking classes

Perhaps instead of selling food you may build a food business around selling your food expertise – in the form of cooking classes. You might consider teaching cooking classes at your home or place of work if you are particularly skilled in a certain type of cooking, be it baking, health foods, Asian recipes, or desserts. It can be very rewarding to teach others, and there are many ways to approach it.

You may even host online cooking classes, which you can create and share online for a fee. Online courses and video classes allow students to learn at their own pace. You can also choose to organise your online cooking classes according to skill levels, such as advanced, intermediate and beginner. There is a large market for budding home chefs who are looking for cooking tips online, so it may be in your interest to put yourself out there.

4. Ice cream shop

Ice cream is a favourite dessert all over the globe. Ice cream can be served with almost any other dessert, or simply on its own. It comes in many styles and flavours, including frozen yoghurt, gelato, and sorbet. Ice cream can also be used in a variety of other different ways.

5. Coffee shop

Coffee isn’t just an essential part of our morning routines. A cup of coffee can also help us get through a challenging workout, a long work meeting, or for the simple pleasure of warming us up on a chilly day. Coffee is consumed in many forms worldwide, and Australia is renowned for its high-quality coffee. Because of that, strong branding may be needed to help you to distinguish your business from other coffee shops.

Recommended reading: Staring a Cafe Business in Australia: A Checklist

6. Personal chef

A career as a personal chef might suit you if you have a certain flair for creating delightful dishes. Personal chefs are skilled cooking professionals who provide home-cooked meals to clients who may have special dietary requirements.

7. Sauces

Sauces can be a great product for first-time food business owners. Sauces are a popular product that can be easy to sell. Food lovers are open to trying new flavours – the more exotic, the better. Great, original sauces can very quickly gain a cult following.

Think about the popularity of Sriracha sauce, or the communities that have been built around intense hot sauces. Sauces can be used in many different ways and as a condiment they can offer many surprises. Sauces are an integral part of almost every cuisine, and they are easy to adapt to various diet restrictions.

Sauces are an integral part of almost every cuisine, and they can be easily adapted to any diet restrictions. They can be sweet, tangy, or spicy – and sometimes you can find all three in one sauce. And remember that sauces are not just for dinner. Custard sauces such as butterscotch and hot fudge are equally popular with desserts.

8. Meal kits

 Meal kits can be categorised as a subscription service that offers pre-portioned ingredients along with simple instructions to make chef-prepared meals at home. While they have become very popular over the years partly due the convenience and nutritional value that they offer, there are still many food niches that are yet to make their way into meal kits.

If you choose this model for your new food business, you can sell meal kits on a subscription basis. Customers who sign up will receive a new week’s menu each week. You may even create a series of themed kits that you can sell a la carte.

9. Baked goods

Bakeries are one of the most traditional types of food businesses. Bakery owners typically enjoy regular sales and have a steady stream of customers year-round. There are many product options when it comes to baked goods, which opens up many opportunities for your food business, including those that cater to certain dietary requirements or specialty items like muffins, cakes, and pretzels.

While most bakeries are located in brick-and-mortar locations, you can also sell baked goods online through online platforms such as Shopify. Don’t be afraid to expand your food business online, as online bakeries offer many perks that aren’t always available to physical bakeries, including lower costs for scaling up and access to a larger customer base.

10. Jams and jellies

You might consider making jams or jellies that you can sell under a food label if you enjoy the idea of growing fresh produce. Home-grown foods are considered more nutritious than those made by commercial food producers, which can give you an edge over other, larger competitors if you market your products well.

You can also make your own jarring machine at home, which can be a great cost-saving option. Additionally, you will be able to add a personal touch to your products that will resonate with your customers. You may borrow inspiration from other retailers who produce similar products.

Branded statements such as, “Crafted right here on the farm”, or “Made with love by our family for yours” can be effective for making a lasting impression on consumers who prefer organic or homemade food products.

11. Baby food

Parents are generally very selective when it comes to what they feed their children. Parents want healthy, non-GMO baby food that has positive effects on their physical and emotional wellbeing. This growing trend may be worth exploring, perhaps by making your own baby purée products from homegrown vegetables and fruits.

There is also potential for growth in this category, given that doctors can recommend different types of foods for children of different ages. Food brands have many options at their disposal to increase or update their product lines. As such, there are many niches that you can target as a first-time food entrepreneur, including formula milk for infants and solid foods for toddlers.

Start your new food business

So there you have it, plenty of promising food business ideas that may inspire first-time entrepreneurs to back themselves and create their own food business.
Remember that to grow a food business and turn it into a profitable small business can require that you reduce your risk. And an effective way to do just that is via business insurance.

Have you got food business insurance for your business?

Many unexpected things can happen when you run your own food business, whether it be a fast food business, a small food business, or something else entirely. From bouts of food poisoning for customers, to losing power and having to dispose of food products that can no longer be used, to damage to property owned by a third party due to negligent business activities, business insurance can be an effective way to reduce your risk.

Build your start-up food business by reducing your risk via food business insurance – also referred to as insurance for restaurants and cafes, or hospitality and restaurant insurance.

Learn more about how hospitality insurance can help reduce the risk to your food business. Compare competitive hospitality insurance quotes from Australia’s leading insurers online, get covered in 10 minutes, and get on with your day.

This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
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