A woman holding a homemade canning offering

How To Start a Canning Food Business From Home A woman holding a homemade canning offering

Starting a business is always an exciting prospect—especially one that centers around a favorite hobby. Canned goods have been around for ages and many people still enjoy this traditional method of storing food. 

Besides keeping fruits and vegetables on hand in the winter, canning also produces unique food of its own. Jellies, preserves, and pickled foods are the most popular types. Hobbyists can take their craft to the next level by learning how to start a canned food business from home and when you're ready TricorBraun has the right glass canning jars to help.

Investigate Local Laws

Every region approaches small-business-selling differently. This is especially true for selling goods that are intended to be consumed by customers. Some states may require a business owner to have their kitchen certified and safe for the market. 

Alternatively, a certified kitchen may need to be locally sourced. When it comes to canning, generally the techniques used to create goods make them very safe from contaminants and bacteria. As a result, your state may include canned foods among a set of rules called “cottage food.”

Cottage food can be made and sold without a food license or certified kitchen. The difference is typically how much food is handled during the cooking process, and typically canning is not handled much before being boiled to become shelf stable. Other laws may apply regarding what it takes to set up a business and should also be researched.

Setting up a business can be a lot of paperwork. There is a registration process that’s also different for every state. Businesses operating in multiple states sometimes have further paperwork to do to keep up with tax expectations.

Lastly, a tax ID number is a crucial asset to a new business. Merchandise can be purchased at wholesale prices using one, which can save money when it comes to stocking up on supplies.

Explore the Market

Before you start trying to sell your canned goods, the next step is to do market research. You’ll be competing with both convenience stores offering local and international brands, as well as those same local brands in smaller markets around you. Explore stores, farmer's markets, and bazaars in your area. Take the time to sample a few key goods offered by your competitors to better understand what advantages these brands hold.

Also, make note of pricing and the size variations. By studying trends closely, you can minimize waste by identifying what items always seem to sell out. This will tell you what matters most to your customers. 

Are they looking for natural and homemade alternatives in general? Or is it something more specific like flavors, convenient package sizes, or even attractive marketing with better packaging presentation? All these details will serve you in honing an edge to your marketing strategy. Be sure to put some deep thought into choosing the right mason jars for canning.

Source Your Supplies

How to start a canning business from home comes down to one thing: canning. While your family may have been happy with one or two preserves or sauces a month, that won’t work for your business. You need to have a steady backstock of product ready to go as soon as an order comes in. If your business becomes very successful, you may even be spending hours out of each day prepping the stages of your process.

What this means is that having a steady inflow of materials to use is a must. In canning, that comes down to jars, lids, fruit, vegetables, and any labeling and decorating supplies. At TricorBraun, we specialize in affordable packaging solutions. We have a broad selection of attractive wholesale canning jars ready to go. 

On the fresh side of things, reaching out to local produce growers is a great way to emphasize a homegrown focus on your brand. Supermarkets and other larger suppliers may also offer bulk discounts if asked. Explore your options and choose what makes the most sense for your business.

Plan Your Offerings

Market research should provide a pretty clear sampling of what products people are buying. This knowledge can be translated directly into the kind of goods you offer. Start by hitting top sellers. These are the common flavors of jams everyone wants at least one can of in their house. 

Think about popular varieties like strawberry, grape, and raspberry. You may also want to brush up on your sweet, spicy, and sour pickle skills. Carrying a tomato sauce and possibly an herb or garlic variation is also a safe bet.

Besides the common flavors, you may also want to experiment with specialty and seasonal goods. Think apple butter, pumpkin butter, lemon curd, and marmalade. Certain combinations of flavor work well, too, such as strawberry rhubarb or berry mixes. These kinds of things may not be your top sellers, but they will help you in the long run by supplementing your income with surprise spikes as holidays and events roll around.

Proper market research will also clue you in on competitive price points. You will need to carefully assess and record the actual costs that go into each item, and make sure you more than cover your cost. Once you know what you need to make, you can adjust your price to compete in casual or premium markets depending on your branding goals.

Market Yourself Appropriately

Once you have your goods and pricing down, it’s time to market. This comes down to having a strong brand and getting the word out. The former is accomplished primarily by labeling effectively. By law, labels must contain factual nutrition and ingredient information. 

Besides this, they can be very expressive. Explore shapes, colors, fonts, and images to inspire customers with your business’s message. 

Are you more of a family brand? An ecologically focused organic brand? It’s up to you!

Besides this, people need to know your brand exists. Normally this involves setting up an e-commerce platform of some sort. Customers that find your product by chance or who meet you in person can be redirected back to your hub shop and ultimately help spread the word.

Whatever your goals for your canning business are, we are with you all the way. TricorBraun is a leader in wholesale packaging solutions. We help businesses across the nation source the most affordable and effective packaging for their items. Browse our stock of glass canning jars and reach out to us today to discuss the needs of your unique business.

A Home Canning Business Checklist


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