Cottage Food Laws Defined
Thanks to new laws currently on the books in every US state except for New Jersey and several Canadian provinces (if you operate a farm), small-scale food businesses can now be operated from home kitchens.
These state laws, often referred to as “cottage food legislation” or “cottage food laws,” have nothing to do with cottage cheese and everything to do with allowing you to sell certain food products to your neighbors and community. By certain foods, the laws mean various “non-hazardous” food items, often defined as those that are high-acid, like pickles, or low low-moisture, like breads. Because of this definition, some of the state cottage food laws have been nicknamed Pickle Bills, Cookie Bills or Bakery Bills on their journey to becoming laws where you live.
There are four key questions you need answered in your state’s cottage food law before you get started:
• What products can you sell?
• Where can you sell your products?
• How are you allowed to sell your products?
• How much can you sell of your products?
Once you’ve answered these questions and understand how the cottage food law operates in your state, you’ll then need to figure out whether what you love to make is worth selling. If people are clamoring for your products, that’s an excellent sign.
In the end, your ability to sell products is based on creating items your customers want, need and are willing to buy at a fair price that they, not you, determine. That’s where marketing — covered in several chapters of Homemade for Sale — comes in.