How to start a plant-based food business

After studying Business at university and writing my dissertation on the benefits of sourcing food from farmers markets and supporting local communities, I knew that I wanted to start something of my own.

I was always baking and creating new recipes, absolutely obsessed with baking brownies and it became a bit of a ritual to bake for friends and family. After a few people had told me how good they were and suggesting that I could sell them, I thought.. why not?!

And here’s 5 steps to setting up your own food business too.

1. Food Health and Safety

When starting up a food business you must register with the Food Team at your local authority which is free of charge.

Complete Level 2 Food Health & Safety Qualification at your local authority, this took me 2 days of study with an exam at the end and cost £70.

I then had a food health and safety inspector come to look at my home and kitchen to complete a food hygiene rating. Make sure you follow all the guidelines in your training to get a 5-star rating!

2. Contact event organisers

I contacted farmers markets, independent event managers and festival companies. I was working a full time 9-5 job at this point and I spent my whole lunch break walking around town on the phone to event organisers, booking in markets and festivals so I could try as many as possible.

I chose Leek Farmers Market as my first one, I’m not going to lie I was so nervous that my stall wouldn’t look very good or something would go wrong (negative thoughts!!) so I wanted to go to a small market a little further away and it really was the perfect market to trial.

3. Equipment

· Source ingredients from sustainable suppliers – I chose organic ingredients and researched where to purchase these instead of going to my local supermarket

· Baking equipment, Freezer blocks, Boards

· Clip crates for storage

· Gazebo and table – some events provide these so always check!

· Presenting boards

· Aprons

· Price & flavour signs

· Freezer/storage

4. Marketing / Social Media

Instagram – This was a brilliant way to put out my photographs and reach out to local communities.

Squarespace – I used this to set up my website which was fantastic as it allows you to open an online store from your website extremely easily. I started to take online orders and started my delivery service.

Facebook – This was a brilliant way to reach out to community and as I did more and more markets, I received so many reviews from people that had bought from me at markets.

5. Community

I baked for a couple of local charity events in my community and donated a few of boxes which was great and was one of the most enjoyable parts of the work, meeting people in my own community and helping other. You do not realise how many people are on your doorstep.

#veganbusiness #businesstips

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