This is where we publish our full list of food business ideas. These ideas come from interviews with real food and beverage startups, big and small. So far, we’ve interviewed over 100 food business owners across almost every food category imaginable.

Whenever possible, we reveal detailed revenue and sales figures when guests are willing to share their numbers with you. Whether you’re only beginning the search for a business opportunity or just want to understand the food business better, we hope this helps.

Keep tabs on this resource because we’ll be adding new case studies regularly so you never run out of startup ideas! Enjoy the brainstorm!

Packaged Food Business Ideas

These food ideas can be packaged to be sold in retail stores or online.

Cookie Business: According to reports the packaged cookie industry reached $11 billion in annual value in 2019. This isn’t surprising. Who doesn’t love a good cookie? But with opportunity comes stiff competition for shelf space in stores so you’ll need to come up with a creative spin on your recipe to stand out as revealed in the case studies below.

The cookie business can be big business.

Spice and Seasoning Business: This is a attractive industry to be in for a number of reasons. First, there’s incredible demand for spices from home cooks even during the toughest of economic times. Second, you don’t need to worry as much about spoilage of the product. Shipping to retailers or distribution centers is also more affordable since salts, peppers, and seasonings are smaller and more lightweight than other food products.

Case Study: How We Started a $10 Million Dollar Spice and Seasoning Empire

Nut Butter Company: Have a passion for making artisan peanut butter? Got an almond butter idea that everyone seems to love? Consumers are moving beyond recognized brands like Jiffy and exploring alternative and small batch butters made with creative ingredients like cashews or hazelnut.  The nut butter industry is expected to grow to $4 billion in total value by 2024 according to a reputable market research firm.

Case Study: How we started a handcrafted nut butter company. 

Baking Mixes: Baking mixes allow consumers to enjoy fresh baked goods at home without all the work of finding each ingredient on their own. After all, most folks don’t have the time to make everything from scratch. Pre-packaged baking mixes can help at-home cooks make cupcakes, cake, pancakes, brownies, cookies, and more.

Case Study: How a Full-Time Registered Nurse Started Snacktivist Foods

Tahini Paste Company: Sometimes all you need to do is take a product popular in another part of the world and bring it to the United States. That’s what the founders of Soom Foods did in the case study featured below. After living abroad in Israel and falling in love with tahini as an ingredient, the cofounder wondered why it wasn’t widely available in the United States. With a lot of work, the lightbulb moment turned into a profitable business.

Case Study: How I started a $150/month tahini paste company. 

Bread Company: You might think the bread isle of your local grocery store is an impenetrable space for startups. But the founder of Orange Dot Baking Company proves white space remains for new entrants. By baking really good tasting gluten-free breads and muffins, you can attract a hungry group of customers that otherwise couldn’t enjoy this food item.

Case Study: How I started a $150K gluten-free bread company

Protein Bars: The total value of the protein bar market is expected to reach over $7 billion by 2027 according to market research firms. This is the ideal product to market to individuals who want health or performance benefits from their food. The founder of Atlas Bar shares tips about the recipe development process in our case study:

Taste is king. It seems obvious, but I think there are many who make the mistake of prioritizing other things above that (functional benefits, plant-based, etc.) When starting out, I was one of them. You could make the most nutritionally-sound, functionally-beneficial product in the world, but if it tastes like compost no one is going to eat it, much less pay you for it.

Case Study: How I sold over 1 million protein bars

Core Ingredient: You can build a business around a key ingredient. Take our example, Soulful. This company has been able to build a $3+ million dollar business around the concept of using the ancient grain millet. They’ve created breakfast cereals and drinks around this basic concept. You could do the same with a flexible ingredient you’re passionate about like soy, chickpeas, or popcorn.

Case Study: Soulful: transforming millet into a contemporary Indian consumer brand

Hummus Company: The hummus market is expected to be valued at $911 million dollars by 2024. Hummus is a flexible product that can used as a dip for snacks or meals. The product is also ideal for adding a variety of innovative flavors like garlic or chocolate.

Case Study: How to start a plant-based chocolate hummus company

Liquor infused food: You can add alcohol to all sorts of food products to make them distinct. Popular items include ice cream, candy, and even baked goods as demonstrated in the case study below. Your customers will need to be 21 years of age or older to enjoy these products in the United States.

Case Study: How I started an $1,800 month booze infused baking business

Bakery interior.

Candy bar company: Kit Kat, Snickers, and Hershey’s Chocolate are all examples of candy bars you’ve enjoyed since childhood and available for sale in the checkout lane of gas stations, grocery stores, and department stores like Target. You too can create your own unique chocolate or candy bar brand as demonstrated in our case study below.

Case Study: How I started a vegan chocolate bar company with a powerful mission

Mustard company: Regular contributor to this website, Michael Adams started a gourmet mustard company that he grew through farmer’s markets and more than 60 retail locations. Big players in the mustard market include familiar names like Heinz and McCormick Foods.

Case Study: 25-Step plan to making your food company a reality

Baby food company: The U.S. baby food market value is expected to reach over 70 billion in 2021. The organic baby food market is also growing and expected to reach $11,592 million by 2023 according to Allied Market Research. As you can see, baby food is an incredible business opportunity that can be simpler to operate than other food businesses from an ingredient sourcing standpoint. Many baby foods contain only a few simple ingredients like fruits and vegetables.

Case Study: None yet.

Burrito company: The burrito is a flexible food item. It an be consumed on the go. It can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner with minimal ingredient tweaks. Due to the low-cost of ingredients, simplicity to make, and demand from customers, it makes a terrific food product from a business perspective too. Is there anything the burrito can’t do?

Case Study: How to start a low-overhead burrito food truck like Anita Burrito

Salsa company: Pre-made salsa can be created with many unique recipes making it a product that’s easy to put a creative spin on. Most salsa companies use a tomato base, but corn and tomatillo are options too. Believe it or not, salsa is a more popular condiment than ketchup in the United States meaning this is an enormous opportunity.

Case Study: How to get salsa and other food products into Costco

Mobile Business Ideas

Food Truck: We had to include starting a food truck on the ultimate list of business ideas. Advantages to starting a food truck include much lower startup costs than restaurants and the ability to easily change locations. On the flip side, always finding new vending locations can be a challenge to operating this business.

We’ve got an abundance of case studies and interviews available to help you start this type of business.

Sweeto Burrito

Burritos come in many forms.

Hot Dog Cart: We love the hotdog business because it’s a low-cost way to make money serving a product people around the country eat regularly. If you’re a bit scrappy and able to find used equipment, you can get started for an investment below $5,000. This means you won’t take long to recoup your investment if you work hard finding vending opportunities. We’ve published an entire course around this business opportunity because we love it so much.

Coffee Cart or Truck: The coffee truck can be an extremely lucrative. Not only is coffee a high-margin product, but coffee carts can generate a nice profit selling ready-made items like muffins, donuts, and granola bars too.

Case Study: How to start a sustainable coffee truck

Cake Company: You could bake specialty cakes for weddings or other events like graduation or retirement. This can be a lucrative business if you’re able to develop a name in the local wedding industry where you could charge over $1,000 for a cake with a bride and groom on top.

Case Study: How we started a one-of-a-kind cheesecake business 

Catering Company: Professional catering services will always be in demand. Caterers deliver or serve large meals at events like corporate functions, weddings, or family gatherings. The nice aspect from a startup perspective is that you begin running a catering business from your home kitchen with minimal startup costs thanks to cottage food business laws.

Case Study: How I started a legit catering business out of my house

Meal Kit Company: Who has time to cook their own healthy meals? Cooking is a time consuming process that an be hard to do with a full-time job or kids. By creating a meal kit company, you help customers enjoy healthy, great-tasting meals at home while saving them time.

A Pad Thai Meal Kit.

Food Delivery Business: Another interesting opportunity is building a local company that delivers meals from take out restaurants to homes. This can be a low-overhead business to start if you already own a car and are willing to deliver meals on your own. This business can be scaled to a really big companies as demonstrated by UberEats.

Case Study: How I scaled a food delivery company to over 20 million total deliveries across 100 cities

Teach Online Cooking Class: If you love teaching and food, why not combine the two and start an online class? Thanks to free video sharing tools available on Facebook and YouTube, you can get started with nothing more than internet access and an iPhone. Some ideas for classes include teaching how to make a specific type of ethnic food, barbecue, or baking. Learn more about this opportunity in the case study below.

Case Study: How to teach a cake decorating or baking class at home or online

Food Business Consulting: If you’ve got a skillset food businesses could benefit from, become a consultant. This options works best if you have specific industry experience or a track record running profitable restaurants. Ideas for consulting services include improve efficiency and speed of sales in a restaurant, cutting cost with recipes, recipe development, operations and marketing training.

Case Study: How we help food businesses transition to animal-free meat

Food Distributor: You don’t need to make food. You can work to help other food brands gain wider distribution. This type of service will always be valuable to startup businesses that need help getting into online or brick and mortar retailers to increase sales.

Case Study: How Pod Foods helps artisan food producers get retail distribution

Tradeshow company: You could start a conference or trade show around a certain category of food. There are many annual