Five Common Pitfalls Foodpreneurs Can Avoid

Written by: Jenny Kelley, Marketing Director, Central Kitchen

At Central Kitchen we talk to dozens of craft food entrepreneurs every day. We understand the hurdles and roadblocks they face and we help to overcome them. Beyond general business set up, there are a handful of common food startup issues:

  • Licensing & compliance

  • Labeling

  • Recipe scaling

  • Approved sourcing

  • Branding & marketing

So let’s break it down...

1. Licensing & compliance Determining the appropriate licensing can be confusing. And ensuring your process and product are compliant with regulatory requirements, is essential. But how do you go about lining up the proper licensing and operating procedures? The best place to start is the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Food Safety Division —they are knowledgeable and will tell you what fits your needs and

direct you accordingly.

2. Labeling Ensuring that your product is properly labeled is imperative. Improper labeling is the most frequent reason for recalls or embargos. The ODA is also a great resource for determining labeling requirements. When preparing to print your label, keep in mind that there will most likely be changes needed not too far down the road. So, a smaller print run to start is the best plan (even though labels get less expensive

per piece the more you purchase).

3. Recipe scaling You’ve got your recipe just right but scaling it up for larger batch sizes is very tricky. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all on recipe scaling. We strongly recommend connecting with an industry expert or a food business accelerator to help.

4. Approved sourcing You may be getting your ingredients from your backyard garden but that won’t suffice in a commercial kitchen. You need to make sure wherever you are buying from is a registered facility with the US Department of Agriculture or that your supplier holds an exemption to produce without registration.

5. Branding & marketing While it's tempting to be frugal, hiring your neighbor’s nephew who just graduated art school is not the best plan. Investing in solid branding upfront is key to your success. Bargain designs just don’t stand the test of time—most businesses who go that route end up redoing their branding in the first five

years. Work with a seasoned designer or branding agency to do it right.

Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle. Finding the right resources to help navigate these and other issues is a must for new food business owners. Luckily, Central Kitchen provides the guidance needed to learn, launch and scale craft food businesses.

For More Information:

Central Kitchen

7501 Carnegie Ave. Cleveland, Ohio 44115

Phone: 833-216-2525

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1240 Huron Road East, Suite 300

Cleveland, Ohio 44115

(216) 592-2208