In a previous post I shared some easy, practical ways to get a food business started without spending a lot of money. Today I am sharing money saving tips concerning food startup packaging and labeling issues.
Food packaging must be food grade, or food safe. There is no wiggle room here. You don’t want your packaging leaking toxins into your food product. Start with a packaging product that is made out of a FDA or USDA approved material. Luckily there are several options if you are creative.
Packaging can cost more than the food product that it contains. If you are targeting a high-end market, it might make sense to package your product in an uniquely shaped glass container. But even if this is your market, I urge you to start with a less expensive and more easily sourced jar. Consider using a plastic container while you are testing your market. This is a good place to practice your creativity too. Explore unexpected, but not necessarily pricey, packaging, like take-out boxes, clear tubes, and stand-up pouches. Search Ebay or Craigslist for other businesses selling excess inventory – so you won’t purchase 1000 coffee bags only to find out after using 10 that they don’t work for your product.
When selling food, by law you must have a label that includes your business name and address, ingredient list and an allergen statement. Most of us want our labels to be more than just the facts though, and to be a visual representation of the business itself.
You can hire a graphic designer to design your labels and have them printed in large quantities. This saves money over the long run. But once again I urge you to start small. If you have any design talent at all design your own label on the computer using copyright-free stock photography. If you are putting together initial food product samples, you can even print out your own labels on a laser printer.
Home printed labels won’t hold up to wear and tear though, so when you start selling a product in any amount over 10, have your local printer make up about 250 labels. When you start using 250 labels a quarter, you may want to re-consider and go the graphic artist route, which can cost up to $4000 for 1500 labels (includes set-up fees and designer fee).
If designing and printing your own label isn’t for you, get labels printed using an online business like StickerYou. StickerYou has no minimum order, so you can try several designs. They also have templates to help you easily develop a new label.
Need help with your new business web pages, product development, or employee step-by-step guide? Contact me!