How to Start a Canned Food Business: Tips and Business Ideas

Nick Mirev
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    Canned goods are among the high-demand products in the food industry. From single ingredients like vegetables or fruits to ready-to-eat meals like chicken and sausage gumbo, a wide variety of canned products can be found on supermarket shelves. A lot of people can vegetables, fruits, and meals at home. The canning process is fairly easy and doesn’t require expensive equipment. Canning is especially popular in farms as a way to preserve food. But it can also be turned into a successful business endeavor. In this post, we’ll show you the steps of starting your own canned food business. If you’re interested in the subject, make sure to read our blogs on how to start a jam business and nut butter business ideas.

    Key takeaway: Before you start a canned food business, research local cottage food laws and other regulations. The most common endeavor in this sector is making and selling homemade sweet and savory preserves. Selling canned goods can help farms maximize profits and minimize food waste.
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    Canned Food Business Ideas

    Sell Homemade Canned Food

    Cottage food laws in many states allow the sale of homemade canned goods. Therefore, if you’re a landowner and you produce more fruits and vegetables than your household needs, you can always preserve them for winter. All excess canned goods can be sold at roadside stalls or farmer’s markets. If the excess amount is not enough to sell at markets, you can ask other farmers to sell it for you via consignment. Keep in mind that if you wish to sell wholesale canned goods in large quantities, you might need to obtain a wholesale license.

    Start Your Own Brand via White Labeling Services

    Even if you don’t grow any fruits or vegetables, you can still start a canned food business. You can partner with providers of white labeling services or co-manufacturing companies. It’s true that this minimizes profit margins, but outsourcing the manufacturing process can help you focus on other parts of your canned food business such as marketing and new product development. You can also partner with 3PL and contract packaging companies.

    Canned Food Subscription

    People who often consume ready-to-eat canned goods usually have a busy lifestyle. That’s why a canned food business that specializes in subscription services can be a great idea. It combines the advantages of canned foods like prolonged shelf life with additional convenience for customers. Such a business should benefit from modern eCommerce solutions.

    Canned Meal Kits

    People who frequently cook at home might benefit from purchasing canned meal kits instead of fresh produce. The extended shelf life of canned goods can reduce food waste. Furthermore, hiking hobbyists might also purchase bulk canned food and meal kits. These bundles of canned products can also be used to stock an emergency pantry supply.

    Canned Pet Food

    The retail and wholesale pet food market is growing rapidly. An increasing number of people in the US own pets. Thus, starting a canned food business that specializes in pet food can be a profitable endeavor. You can combine it with starting a pet bakery too. Check our guide on starting a bakery business for tips.

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    Steps to Start a Canned Food Business

    Starting a business in the canned food industry needs to be carefully planned. There are many aspects that need to be considered and researched. Let’s look at the main steps to start a canned food business.

    Research and Plan

    Conducting market research is of the utmost importance. It will show you the demand for different types of canned products and the competition in the sector. In addition to doing market research, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with regulations. Besides cottage food laws, people who want to start a canned food business need to follow food safety and labeling regulations.

    Doing a thorough business plan with a marketing strategy, goals, and financial projections can serve as a roadmap for your business endeavors.

    Product Testing

    Although most canned food recipes have been known for decades, new products emerge every year. You need to test different recipes and products on the market and see what customers prefer. Also, consider selling other similar products. For example, when comparing canned vs frozen vegetables, clients might prefer the latter. If you also start an eCommerce business to sell canned goods, keep in mind that clients who shop online might have different preferences compared to the ones who buy your goods at a farmers’ market.

    Packaging, Labeling, Marketing

    Food packaging plays a role not only in protecting the products but also in marketing. Thanks to custom packaging, customers will be able to remember your brand and search for it in the future. Labeling should be considered as there are various regulations related to packaging and labeling of food products.

    Distribution and Sales

    Although canned food in restaurants is commonly used, it’s unlikely that you will be able to find business customers, especially at the start of your business. That’s because companies in the restaurant industry partner with produce distributors that sell goods at lower prices. Instead, focus on D2C sales. Attend local farmers’ markets, sell goods at roadside stalls, or offer your canned goods directly to local households. This will allow you to establish a strong and lasting relationship with locals and the community. Make sure to frequently ask customers for feedback and adapt based on the market demand.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Canned Food Business

    Preserving food has been around for centuries. Nowadays, there are new and modern food preservation methods such as freeze-drying. Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s easier than ever to start a canned food business. If you need a reliable source of information, BlueCart’s blog is the place to start your journey as a business owner. Check the answers to popular questions regarding canned food businesses.

    Are Canned Food Businesses Profitable?

    Yes. Owners of truck farms can add an additional revenue stream by preserving food and selling it at farmer’s markets or roadside stalls. The reason why starting a canned food business is profitable is that it helps landowners minimize food waste and turn it into profit. Furthermore, one of the current trends in the food industry is to shop locally-grown products. That’s why many consumers are eager to buy from local farmers instead of large grocery store chains, even if it means paying more. Furthermore, canned products have a great potential for nostalgia marketing. The most popular types of canned food that small businesses should consider are pickles, salsa, jams, and jellies.

    How Big Is the Canned Food Industry?

    The size of the global canned food market is valued to be between 80 and 100 billion USD. Those numbers don’t include home canning which is a popular practice, especially in areas that rely heavily on agriculture and farming. The global canning industry is growing by roughly 3 percent a year. The main reasons for its growth are related to the convenience of canned foods and their low price. Most manufacturers in this industry benefit from purchasing ingredients at wholesale prices. Furthermore, they cut costs significantly from economies of scale and by producing canned products when the ingredients are in peak season. 

    What Are the Most Popular Canned Food Recipes?

    The convenience of ready-to-eat canned food is the main reason why it’s so popular. Some of the best sellers in this category include beefaroni, spaghetti and meatballs, beef stew with vegetables, chili with beans, and chicken noodle soup. It’s important for canned food businesses to experiment and introduce new products. People who regularly buy ready-to-eat canned meals usually have busy schedules and stressful lifestyles. That makes having a diverse diet increasingly important for them.

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