How to Start a Meal Prep Business In 12 Easy Steps

Lauren Platero
Table of Contents
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    Are you researching how to start a meal prep business? If so, you’re in the right place! According to recent consumer data reports, more people are purchasing from meal prep companies now than ever before. So, there’s endless room for high profits and growth opportunities

    The best meal prep services on the market did not achieve success overnight. Instead, they followed a set of guidelines that allowed them to flourish in a competitive yet niche market. So, if you would like to learn more about how your emerging brand can establish something similar, read on!

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    How to Start a Meal Prep Business In 12 Steps 

    Learning how to start meal prep business operations takes quite a few steps. It’ll also demand a significant amount of your time. But with the right plan in place, bringing your meal kit business plans to life can happen sooner than you might think. See below to learn how to start a meal prep business in just a dozen steps.

    1. Conduct a Market Analysis

    Before you can start a meal prep business, you must analyze the current state of the market. First, you’ll need to identify your ideal customer profile. Then, you’ll need to take a close look at competitors. Find out what their pricing structures are like and what they offer. It’ll be this information that helps you identify potential value propositions.

    2. Create a Meal Prep Business Plan 

    The next step is to create a thorough business plan. This document will eventually serve as a manual for how you’ll run the entire business. After all, it should contain everything from an outline of the business’ structure to financial projections. The business plan is also where you should map out marketing plans, a draft of your menu, the subscription tiers, and so on. 

    3. Register Your Business

    Before you can move forward with more of the technicalities of starting a meal prep company, you need to register the business as a legal entity. During this step is also when you’ll determine if it’ll be an LLC, a corporation, or another structure. Registering your business will also allow you to pay taxes, create a business bank account, register trademarks, and so on.

    4. Acquire Funding

    Of all the types of businesses within the food and beverage industry, meal kit services are probably some of the least expensive ones to operate. However, unless you have a massive savings account that you can take from, you’ll have to seek funding options. Whether you acquire business loans through a bank or work with an investor, the amount of funds you need will vary. 

    5. Obtain Any Necessary Licenses and Permits

    In order to legally operate a meal prep business, you must obtain the necessary permits and licenses. Every municipality or state should have certain health guidelines depending on its department. There will also be business and food handling licenses you’ll have to acquire before operations begin.

    6. Create a Menu

    One of the best selling points of meal prep businesses is that there are rotating menus. Typically, this happens on a weekly basis. So, when you’re learning how to start a meal prep business, you don’t have to create a set menu the way you would with a restaurant business. Instead, you can focus on what kinds of dietary preferences and restrictions you’ll cater to. Will you offer meals that cater to keto, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets? Determine what your menu will consist of once you’re able to begin preparing meals.

    7. Acquire Food Ingredients

    The easiest way to acquire ingredients for a meal prep business is to purchase them through a wholesale distribution platform. That way, you can shop for exactly what you need and buy it all for the best price possible. Unless you opt for a private label meal prep manufacturer, you’ll have a huge selection of vendors to choose from that sell wholesale products in every culinary category. Creating the best meals for meal prep companies has never been easier. 

    Want a platform where you can purchase everything you need, automate reorders, and improve your meal prep business? If so, schedule a demo to learn all about BlueCart!

    8. Purchase Wholesale Meal Prep Containers and Packages

    If you sell ready-to-eat meals, you’ll need to purchase containers that keep each dish organized and looking presentable. But if you sell kits containing pre-measured ingredients, you’ll need to stock up on plastic bags of varying sizes. Then, you’ll need boxes, inserts, paper, and more for shipping purposes. All of these materials can be purchased from a wholesale packaging supplier.

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    9. Choose Delivery Options

    Meal prep businesses rarely sell products in brick and mortar grocery stores. Besides, the sole purpose of such brands is to deliver everything the consumer needs right to their door. So, plan what your cold chain delivery logistics will look like to ensure timely arrivals. Or, you can partner with a third-party delivery provider to handle the work for you. It’s during this time that you should also determine meal prep shipping costs.

    10. Onboard Meal Prep Business Software

    Before anything else, you’ll need to set up an eCommerce storefront. This site is where customers will be able to place orders. Then, you should invest in other software solutions, like a CRM system, email marketing platform, and an inventory management system. This way, you can automate as many tasks as possible, allowing you and your team to do more with less.

    11. Employ Any Necessary Staff Members

    Depending on the size of your business, you might need to employ a team. Preparing meals in bulk, shipping packages, conducting marketing efforts, and handling customer service all require a significant amount of manual labor. So, ensure that you have a budget for the cost of labor as your business grows.

    12. Promote Your Business

    There are several successful meal prep delivery companies on the market. So, you’re going to need to implement solid marketing strategies if you want to thrive in this ecosystem. Invest in paid advertising to ensure that your content lands in front of your target audience. Then, actively work to grow your social media presence on platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook.

    Frequently Asked Questions About How to Start a Meal Prep Business 

    Starting your own meal prep business requires a lot of hard work. If you’d like to learn more about this type of business, we’ve got you covered! The following selection of frequently asked questions and answers should provide you with more insight on the topic.

    Can a Meal Prep Business Be Profitable?

    Yes, a meal prep business can be extremely profitable. Revenue for such companies can reach upwards of half a million dollars. Then, depending on your expenses, a good portion of those funds can be profit.

    How Much Does It Cost to Star a Meal Prep Business?

    When asking, “What do I need to start a meal prep business,” approximately $15,000 to $20,000 should be high on your list. If you’re launching a small meal prep business from your home kitchen, you might not make a dent in this dollar amount. However, if you’ll be renting warehouse space or commercial equipment, this range will likely be just enough to get the business off the ground.

    Can I Run a Meal Prep Business From Home?

    As long as you abide by state regulations and food safety policies, such as cottage food laws, you can run a meal prep business from home. These laws and regulations are to ensure that the food production is completed properly and that the items made are safe for consumption. It’s also important to note that regular inspections will be necessary when running a food or beverage company from home.

    Where Can I Buy Food for a Meal Kit Business?

    Professionals who run a meal kit business can acquire all the necessary ingredients from an order management platform. If they don’t use an all-in-one platform, they would need to purchase everything they need from separate vendors. But with the right tool, businesses can shop from an extensive wholesale directory for everything they need. Then, every process from tracking inventory usage to inventory forecasting can be put on autopilot.

    How Big Is the Meal Prep Industry?

    As of 2022, the meal kit delivery services market has a value of approximately $20.6 billion. This figure is expected to reach a whopping $65.1 billion by 2023. So, it’s safe to say that meal kit businesses aren’t going anywhere in the near future.

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    Now You Know How to Start a Meal Prep Business!

    Once you get into the nitty-gritty of starting a meal prep business, you’ll find that it will take up the bulk of your time and money. After launching any business, you learn pretty quickly that the process entails much more than what you initially plan on paper. However, this guide should serve as a solid starting point for your endeavors. Sure, you’ll be adding to it for quite a while. But as you’re just getting started, it should cover all your bases.

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