So You’ve Got a Recipe and You Want to Sell a Food Product

You’ve been making this recipe forever and every time you share the results, someone says, “Wow, this is so good! You should sell it.” And that’s where you gets stuck, because you have no idea what to do next.

When you’re at this stage, at the very beginning with no clue what to do next, you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know even know what questions to ask. Eight years ago I was in your shoes. I needed help; I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know where to turn.

I stumbled along, making mistakes, spending money I didn’t have and sometimes getting lucky and finding solutions that worked. I looked for help from people who’d “been there” too. Shari Fitzpatrick, founder of Shari’s Berries, and I had a conversation during which I recall asking the most intelligent questions I could come up with. She was very kind in sharing her experience, but in hindsight, and to my point, I’m not sure I got as much as I could have out of that conversation. First because it was only about 15 minutes long and more critically, because I wasn’t sure what to ask. I wonder if she hung up from that call thinking, “ha, good luck to that girl ’cause she does NOT know what she’s doing.”

Eventually, I managed to piece together enough of what I needed to know to get the right incorporation, licensing, business and liability insurance, registration for sales tax, space in which to bake, ingredient, packaging and shipping vendors and so on. Quite possibly, I may have (unknowingly) violated some laws. This was not the fast track, but there wasn’t any other way, and I was determined to keep moving forward!

There is plenty of information “out there” about starting a generic business. Much of it applies to your start-up business whether you’re a food entrepreneur or a hair stylist. And it’s still confusing. Add in that you’re producing a product that people EAT, and laws that change frequently, and now it’s even more confusing and yet important that you get it right.

Here’s a brief checklist of the first crucial steps you need to take if you want to turn a recipe into a successful food business.

1. Determine to WHOM you are going to sell. Is there even a market, beyond your well-meaning friends and family, for your product? Many of the rest of your decisions depend on this one. PS: “Everyone” is not the right answer.

2. Incorporate your business. It’s important for tax purposes as well as liability and asset protection. Which type of incorporation you choose depends on your personal situation and merits discussion with your CPA.

3. Get liability and business insurance. Especially with a food business, there are too many factors and risks lurking to play around here.

4. Take care of these first two steps BEFORE you sell one bite of anything!

5. Register your business with the state and get any local city or county licensing.

6. Find a place to produce your product that fits your (probably) limited budget. Be realistic about how much you can sell, how much space you need to produce, and how much time it will take you to do it. Some states or counties allow you to start out in a home kitchen. Many do not and you have to find a commercial facility.

7. Figure out the most cost-effective way to buy ingredients. There’s a catch-22 when you’re starting out. You aren’t producing in large enough quantities to buy from a food distribution company and you can’t afford to buy ingredients at retail grocery stores. Wholesale clubs are one solution or depending on what kind of facility you’re using for production, you may be able to participate in a group order.

8. Determine what the best equipment to get the job done is. Do you need a mixer, oven, extruder, freezer, steam juicer? Will you have to buy it or can you find another way to get use of whatever equipment you need?

9. OR, are you going to work with a co-packer/contract producer and have someone else make your product on your behalf? Make sure you get referrals and ask all the right questions before committing to this kind of arrangement.

10. Find one or two or ten reliable packaging suppliers. Get samples of what you think you want to use. Test it all out and make sure it works for your purposes. BTW, if you only have one place from which to order your “unique” packaging, what happens when they can no longer supply you? (Trust me, I speak from panicked experience on this one.)

Lots of people have great recipes and many of them have thought about selling their food products. Some even take the leap and pursue the dream. The only ones who succeed are those who find the right resources and help along the way, whether deliberately or by sheer dumb luck. Are you going to rely on luck or would you like a roadmap?

Natural Energy Miracle Food Products – How To Determine Which Is The Ultimate One

Let’s face it; there really is no shortage of natural energy miracle food products these days. In fact, it often seems as though a new product appears on the market every day, and of course, with each new product, comes a string of promises concerning purported health benefits, many of which are totally bogus.

Nevertheless, I am a great fan of natural remedies and various homeopathic solutions, so new products do tend to pique my interest. While I most certainly have not tried all of them, I have tried many, and in fact, I still use three on a daily basis. I take omega-3 fish oil supplements, I take New Zealand green lipped mussel supplements, and of course I have my daily fix of high quality bee pollen.

Who would not want to take bee pollen considering just how fantastic it is? Did you know that bee pollen is classified as being a complete food? The reason for this being that it contains each and every vitamin and mineral your body needs in order to stay alive. Theoretically, you could live on the stuff if you ate enough of it. It is perhaps the most nutrient-dense food ever discovered.

With a high carbohydrate count and a very low calorie count, bee pollen is an outstanding natural energy booster. It is also a good source of protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Interestingly enough, on a pound for pound basis, it contains way more protein than even the best quality beef, chicken, or pork.

Pollen collected from the hives of bees is also an outstanding source of trace minerals and enzymes. One of the most fascinating things about bee pollen is how quickly it enters the bloodstream. In clinical trials, it was found in the bloodstream, cerebral fluid and spinal fluid two hours after ingestion.

Another highly desirable quality is the fact that it is believed to be an ergogenic substance. What this means is that not only can it raise energy levels, but it can also help to fine tune the way the body uses energy. In other words, utilization of energy is maximized, meaning no energy goes to waste. It is clear to see why bee pollen is held in such high regard by many top athletes.

During one experiment, pollen was given to a number of pregnant rats in order to determine if it would have any effect on the fetuses. Survival rates were significantly higher between the offspring of the pollen fed rats, when compared to the offspring of the rats that had been fed a regular diet.

There are countless natural energy miracle food products on the market, but it is hard to imagine any of them coming close to bee pollen. Virtually every so-called miracle food gets analyzed in laboratories, and not a single one of them has come anywhere near the nutritional content of honey bee pollen.

How to Plan Your Garden Food Production for Self-Sufficiency

When you are new to trying your hand at growing your own food, it can be daunting to know where to begin. How do you plan a garden for food production? Is it possible to become self-sufficient in a short time? It’s understandable to want to grow everything your first year. Experienced gardeners and homesteaders know, from trial and error, that it’s best to get into self-sufficiency one task at a time.

Take these steps to learning how to plan a garden for self-sufficiency and build on them each year. Before you know it, you’ll be providing a year’s worth of food on your own land:

  • Grow High-Value Fruits and Veggies-What do you consider value? Flavor? Freshness? Or savings on expensive varieties from the supermarket? You can save money and enjoy flavors by growing varieties that can’t be found in grocery stores.
  • Get the most out of the seasons-Make use of late winter/early spring by using cold frames, tunnels, cloches and other devices to stretch the season and grow more food. You can get a head start on spring salads by at least a month. Extend your fall crops by using row covers to protect them from frost and deer. Extend both seasons to grow more cold-tolerant greens and root crops for food production.
  • Grow early-bearing fruit and berries-Grow June-bearing strawberries and early raspberries. You can put these up in your freezer before canning veggies take over the kitchen. In the fall, there are late-ripening raspberries and apples that come after the hectic food preserving frenzy of summer.
  • Utilize what grows in your climate-Some crops will be easy to grow in your area while others can be a challenge. Soil type also determines what will grow where you live. If carrots don’t grow well in your area, but beets thrive, then grow a small patch of carrots and all the beets your family can eat. This takes you in the direction of self-sufficiency.
  • Grow your beverages-Mints, sage, raspberry leaf and nettles make delicious and healthy teas. Even rhubarb stalk makes a tea that tastes like lemonade. Learn to make your own sodas, hard cider and wine from berries and fruits.
  • Grow perennials-Perennials come back every year and this save you in time and maintenance. Just weed, fertilize and mulch. Asparagus, rhubarb, sorrel, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, bunching onions and bamboo shoots are just some of the possibilities. Find out which ones do well in your area.
  • Choose varieties that grow in your area-Talk with gardeners around you to see what varieties grow well and produce high-yields. It’s frustrating to spend all summer tending to a tomato plant and only harvest a few tomatoes at the end of the season when a different variety would have produced an abundant harvest.
  • Grow Herbs-Culinary herbs like dill, basil, rosemary, sage, parsley and mint add flavors to foods for canning and freezing. They are easy and inexpensive to grow.
  • Don’t overplant one type-Yes, you can grow too much of a good thing! It’s easy to overbuy at the greenhouse on too many tomato plants. Don’t plant 50 when 10-15 plants will supply 2 people with a year’s worth of frozen, canned and dried tomatoes. The only reason to grow more would be to sell at farmers markets.
  • Grow something new-You don’t have to grow it all your first year. As you grow in knowledge and experience, add something new each year and keep learning. If something failed to grow in spring, see if it grows better as a fall crop.

Growing enough food to preserve for a year or more is a fine goal and achievable, but there is a learning curve if you’ve never done it before. Take one step at a time and build on your knowledge each year. Before you know it, you will have a pantry and cellar full of shiny jars of food you grew and preserved yourself!

©2011 Shanna Ohmes

Healthy Eating Myth 1: Low-Fat Food Products Are Good for You

A few months ago I published an article about why certain manufactured food products keep you fat, and are not a suitable solution for healthy weight loss.

I focused on the problems associated with the low fat approach to weight loss, which have been revealed by Harvard School of Public Health. Remember, this highly regarded institution branded low fat food products to be more dangerous than consuming moderate amounts of saturated fat? And their call was that it’s time to end the “low-fat myth!”

As Harvard reported the main issue is that when fat is removed from foods as part of the manufacturing process, it has to be replaced. Invariably that something is sugar or other refined carbohydrates. The way in which the body processes high dietary intakes of sugars and carbohydrates eventually leads to body fat – of the type and distribution associated with serious illness including insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular problems.

I also reported that an alarming number of profit-driven food manufacturers continue to produce an ever increasing range of these food products which they still assert to be the “healthy option”. Truly shocking! But their mission to flood the market with unhealthy, even dangerous, sugar-laden products continues, despite the well-publicised recent alarms about the health risks posed by sugar consumption.

The fact that, as I touched on in my previous article, the low-fat diet is a potential pathway to type 2 diabetes, makes it clear that it is the least appropriate weight-loss solution for those already diagnosed with the disease. Yet dieticians and other diabetics specialists working in the NHS in the UK advocate just that – read their diet facts sheets and see for yourself that manufactured low-fat food products are actually recommended! I have come across this in my own clinical practice several times in recent months for patients of both sexes, in newly diagnosed patients, in those who have been struggling to manage their blood sugars sometimes even for several years, and in cases of gestation diabetes. Even more shocking!

It is no wonder that some patients with Type 2 diabetes struggle to get their blood sugar levels to the magical “6” mark when the very products they being advised to take by supposed experts is so way off the mark!

For healthy weight loss – especially for those with diabetes it’s essential to ditch this damaging style of diet and boycott manufactured low-fat food products in preference for plentiful amounts of healthy fats!

By ensuring that a full complement of vital nutrients are consumed through an individualised tailor-made plan, the health problems associated with other diets are avoided.