If you run a gourmet or specialty food business, there are two things you already know:
there is a growing market for gourmet foods,
finding and connecting to this market isn’t easy.
You love to create amazing food and are excited to make your gourmet products available to more hungry customers. There are quite a few considerations to take in when you are just starting in the online food-selling business. Things like how to create a website, solving the issue of payment, marketing, packaging, and shipping to the legalities of selling food online. If you want to take your home gourmet food business further, selling food online needs to be top of your list of priorities. Luckily these days selling specialty food online is achievable with the right tools, platform, and partners. Read on for some of the answers you may be seeking, a few tips, and an introduction to an easy, accessible new way to sell your specialty and gourmet goods online.
Being an artisan foodie or gourmet is one thing. Selling your specialty food online is a whole other story, one most people need to learn to succeed. You may have perfected your recipe, but to get your business beyond the local markets there are some important steps ahead.
Decide on what food to sell online
Think about your branding
Packaging is important
Research the regulations for selling food online
Get a license for your business
Create a website, set up a payment portal, an order and inventory system
OR find an online partner who can give you an online presence without all the hassle.
Once you have your product and branding, it is time to start selling online. The most important thing for you now is gaining your digital presence. Starting with your website or on social media may land you a few sales but real presence is about tapping into the right markets and being able to expand into more and more areas, further afield.
The route you choose to sell your food online will mostly depend on the type of food you plan to sell. Selling gourmet or specialty foods makes your customer base niche, although the market is growing! And you may have a niche product, but the people who love gourmet foods will be looking for the kind of things you can make. You just need to make sure you are selling in the right place. You could create your website. There are plenty of web-building sites that make it easy for you to set up shop, including creating an eCommerce platform and payment plugins. But you will still need to market and run your website, a full-time job on its own. Some eCommerce sites or apps help you sell your products, setting you up as a vendor in an already-established marketplace platform. With these a lot of the work has been done for you, making it easier for your customer to find you. These sites and apps are like your local farmer’s market but with a much wider reach. Although these marketplace sites will give you the digital exposure you need, do they connect you with the right customer? You wouldn’t want to be selling gourmet food online on a site dedicated to fast or junk food. Selling specialty food online requires a specialty platform like Foraged to sell to customers who have been looking for someone like you.
Selling food online via your website, an online marketplace, app or just through social media, your success will depend on the type of food you are selling online. As you launch your online gourmet food business, start with the products that are simple to make and easy to package. Keep the expensive equipment and tricky packaging for when you have established yourself as a trusted, sought-after vendor. Some easy and popular gourmet foods to sell online are spices and seasonings, mushrooms, nuts and seeds, or syrups and vinegars. But the real key to successfully selling gourmet food online is knowing what the people in your area or on your platform are looking for. If you have what they want and are aligned with their values, they will keep coming back. Focus on creating specialty food that is unique, delicious, and in demand.
Just because you are selling online, it doesn’t mean there are no rules. Before you do anything, get familiar with the rules and guidelines for selling food online, in your state, and in the states you will be selling to. You want your gourmet food business to do everything by the book to avoid paying out of pocket for fines. Some states may require permits while others may need you to register. Knowing the law also means understanding what you need to state on your packaging including the ingredients list. The Cottage Food Laws cover the right way to store food, how to avoid contaminants, and correct labeling for all your products.
If you are already selling gourmet food, online or offline, and want to expand your business, selling your specialty foods to a much wider customer base, you need to find the right communities. Knowing where to find your customers is crucial to growing your business. You may turn to influencers or rely on online reviews, a kind of digital word-of-mouth. If the platform you are using only allows you to serve a limited geographic area, or maybe you don’t have the resources to ship any further, a marketplace site may be better for your sales. And while marketplaces are great for increasing sales and getting your product out into the market, for ultimate success in your gourmet online food-selling business, you need to find your community. These are the people who hold the same values, such as sustainability and food origin.
People want to know where their food comes from. An online specialty food-selling platform that cares about and has an established community will be far more valuable to your business than an everything-for-everyone marketplace. Your community is your customer. Your community will inform you about the best gourmet foods to sell, and the kind of ingredients they are looking for. This community includes other gourmet or specialty food artisans or food growers. This creates an opportunity for collaboration and new ideas and ways to grow your online food selling business. Your community may tell you where to find the finest ingredients or share some tips on how to sell food online.
If you are a gourmet foodie that cares about sustainability, food safety and traceability, and ethical agricultural practices, Foraged is the marketplace you want to sell your food. Foraged is transforming food, making forest-to-farm and farm-to-table consumerism possible. The Foraged marketplace allows you to connect with customers worldwide. This marketplace gives you, a food artisan or chef, access to unique and wild ingredients, the stuff gourmet dreams are made of.
At Foraged, we’re on a mission to empower small-scale food purveyors to grow healthy, sustainable businesses while nourishing everyday people by providing easy access to unique foods.
By supporting Foraged vendors, you're helping to build a better, more sustainable food system for everyone.
Plus, we're committed to doing things the right way - our platform puts the power back in the knowledgeable hands of those who grow, harvest, and create foods most responsibly.
And we don't just stop there, we also want to make sure you know how to cook and preserve the specialty foods you source from Foraged, which is why we provide educational resources and delicious recipes for you to try.
If you’re interested in partnering with us to earn 5% passive commission with every referral, please visit this page to learn more.