Food Entrepreneurs

Are you looking to start a new food business? Are you an existing business looking for information on how to maximize your profitability?
Food Entrepreneurs - Articles


This website will lead you to business, regulatory, and food technological resources to consider when starting a new business or maintaining your existing business.

Getting Started: Penn State Fact Sheets

Before You Start 

Starting any business is no easy task, and becoming a food entrepreneur is a special challenge. You'll have to prepare yourself for the hard work and dedication it takes to succeed in the food business. This fact sheet provides some considerations in becoming a food entrepreneur.

Business Planning 

Before starting your new food business, you need a clear vision of how you want your business to operate; how it will be managed, marketed, and financed; and how you expect it to perform in the future. To achieve this goal, you need to write a business plan.

Marketing Your Food Product 

When most people think about the term “marketing,” they usually have one type of activity in mind: advertising. Marketing is actually much more than simply advertising; it is everything you do to promote your business and your food products, from the moment you conceive of a product to the point at which customers buy it. It involves researching, selling, distributing, and promoting your product.

Home Food Processing 

Setting up a food-processing business in your home has advantages and disadvantages. This fact sheet provides considerations for how to set up your food-processing business.

Registering Your Business 

All businesses need to comply with local, state, and federal registration procedures in order to legally operate. Food-processing businesses are no exception. This fact sheet from Penn State will help you learn about how to register your food business in Pennsylvania.

Insurance for Food Entrepreneurs 

No matter how careful you are to ensure that your work environment and products are safe, accidents do happen. As a business owner, you will be held responsible for any harm that comes to your employees, visitors who come to your establishment, and consumers who eat your products.

Working with Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture 

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services is responsible for enforcing food regulations and inspecting food establishments.

Food Labels 

Food label regulations are enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and dictate the type of information that must be on the label and where the label can be placed on the package. Exact requirements for your package size and type can be confusing. Before you have labels printed, make sure you have met all labeling requirements.

Price and Pricing 

There is a difference between price and pricing. The price is the amount of money you want for each product unit. Pricing is the process you need to go through to figure out what price to attach to each unit. Pricing, therefore, is a strategic process that you must learn, and use, for business success. Pricing strategies can be divided into two methods: competition-based pricing and cost based pricing. Each method has own advantages and disadvantages.

Price and Pricing Worksheet : This worksheet accompanies the Price and Pricing fact sheet.

Food for Profit - Continuing Education

Statewide Workshops

Food for Profit: Starting your Food Business

The Food for Profit workshop takes you step by step through the information necessary to start and run a small food product business. This workshop is offered throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

Online Course

In this online course , small-scale food business entrepreneurs learn how to create a business using marketing, pricing, financing, and risk management tools. This is a self-paced online course that can be taken at your convenience.

State and Federal Regulations for Food Processors

Regulations vary from state to state. In this article , we provide resources from Pennsylvania and Federal sources. Check with your state Department of Agriculture or local Health Department to determine which regulations you need to follow.

Shared Commercial Kitchens in and Around Pennsylvania

Shared commercial kitchens , sometimes called kitchen incubators, are commercial kitchens where you can prepare and process your new food product. We do not claim to have first-hand knowledge of these operations and we trust that you will do the necessary research to determine if they are the right fit for you.

Co-packers and Manufacturers in Pennsylvania and Beyond

A co-packer, or co-manufacturer, is an established food company that processes and packages your product according to your specifications. You are out of the kitchen and can take advantage of their expertise. You also have more time to promote and distribute your product. However, costs are higher and there are a limited number of co-packers. In this article,  you will find a list of co-packers and manufacturers in Pennsylvania and surrounding region.

Other Resources

Other extension sites on starting a food business or Recipe to Market guides