The food and grocery sector is predicted to reach a value of roughly 4.2 trillion US dollars by 2027, according to Statista. With the development of the internet and e-commerce, the online food market is becoming hottest than ever. But how to sell food online? 

In fact, everyone enjoys good cuisine, and we all need to eat every day. When selling food online, you should always have an audience, regardless of eCommerce trends.

However, there are specific issues to consider. Selling food online, for example, necessitates extra attention when it comes to packaging. You could be in trouble with the healthcare authorities if you forget to list an ingredient or an allergy risk.

Fortunately, all you need is a little instruction to start and operate a profitable online food business. Everything you need to get started, including how to overcome the hurdles of selling food online, is outlined below.

Global Online Food Industry Data Update

According to the study, the industry for online meal delivery services, which is booming, will shape and change our lives in the coming ten years and beyond, as well as the market’s reaction to the worldwide pandemic threat.

In general, the global food sector is expected to be valued at $12.24 trillion in the year 2021. The eCommerce market for food services is predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3%, from $115.07 billion in 2020 to $126.91 billion in 2021. 

The growth is mainly due to companies resuming operations and adjusting to the new normal after recovering from the COVID-19 impact. It had previously resulted in restrictive containment measures such as social isolation, remote working, and the cessation of economic activity.

Global Online Food Industry 2022 Data Update(Source: Research and Markets)

Following that, at a CAGR of 11%, the market is estimated to reach $192.16 billion in 2025.

As a result, the online food niche seems to be a potential market where everyone appears to be in on the activity. Luckily, getting started selling food online is now easier than ever, thanks to worldwide markets and eCommerce platforms. 

Isn’t it about time you received a piece of the pie in your hands? Let’s learn about how to sell food online now!

How To Sell Food Online [Step-By-Step Guide]

How to sell food online? Is this a challenge for a beginner? Don’t worry; you can ultimately have a successful online food business with just seven basic steps below!

Market Research

First of all, you must comprehend the market before embarking on anything. At the same time, you need to know who your customers are what characteristics they have to implement the right plan. For the food market, you need to have at least these four things:

Know The Law

Before seriously considering beginning an internet food business, you must first understand the rules. If you get anything wrong, you will put your clients in danger (from packaging to your ingredients).

At the same time, if you don’t obey the rules, you could face significant penalties.

Food laws and licensing requirements vary by country and location, and some industries, such as dairy and alcohol, may be subject to additional regulations. Consult a lawyer and your local government for information unique to your business and region. 

For example, anyone selling food from their house in the United States must adhere to the “Cottage Food Laws.” This essentially implies that you must know how to properly store your food and keep it free from any harmful contaminants such as pets.

Food Trends

If you haven’t come up with a product idea yet, research current food trends for inspiration. According to one source, mocktails, plant-based proteins, and kombucha beer were famous foods last year. However, you should back up the assertions with your investigation: look at search volume and Google Trends, as well as the competition.

online food trend 2022

In addition, due to the influence of the Covid-19 epidemic, many people tend to seek more nutritious and healthy foods. Thus, healthy foods are also a great choice these days. In the guide on how to sell food online, this is probably the step that takes the most effort to look for and consider. Remember that the strength of the market is both a plus and a downside when you have to face a lot of potential competitors.

Food Business Ideas

If you already have a concept, put it to the test. Is there a demand for this item? In a crowded market, how can your product stand out? Is there a niche or sub-audience that you haven’t found yet? Besides, think about if your product can be quickly sold online and shipped—consider legalities (such as liquor), fragility, and shelf life (does it have to be refrigerated?).

One tip for you is to investigate simple first-time food-business opportunities that involve little capital, minor equipment, fewer shipping problems, and regulatory limits. For instance, Charlie Cabdish, 13, produces and sells candied pecans out of his family’s house. He can still run it from his home kitchen, nearly three years after it was created, in between schoolwork and basketball practice.

Choose Your Niche

how to sell food online

We all agree that food is a very diverse industry. Despite the temptation to market “food for everyone,” the more precise your specialization, the more likely you will stand out. Therefore, make sure to decide on the niche you want to join.

How to sell food online? Are you a business that the general public can access? Is it a gastronomic extravagance? Is it necessary for you to eat healthily? Maybe some indulgent desserts?

Everything will have an impact on how you advertise and promote yourself. From establishing a company color palette to deciding what text and logo design to use, everything you do will focus on how you want your things to be regarded.

Among the specialty options are:

  • Cakes and specialty meals made to order
  • Foods that are organic, natural, and fair-trade
  • Dietary food is food that has been prepared with dietary limitations in mind (Gluten-free or dairy-free)
  • Gourmet, artisanal, and small-batch foods

Lastly, evaluate what you can bring to the table. You’ll need a unique selling point (USP) to set yourself different. There should be a clear market gap waiting to be filled in a perfect world.

Estimate Budget

The next step on how to sell food online guide is to estimate your budget. 

You’ll need to make a budget and specific expectations. How much money can you spend monthly? Are you planning to sell locally, nationally, or globally? In the future, how do you envision your company looking?

When you answer these questions, it will assist you in determining how much money to put into things like your online store, promotion, and ingredients, all of which influence the pricing you charge your clients.

Moreover, how about your food production? 

online food production

  • Selling food from home: Some foods can be lawfully manufactured and sold right from your home kitchen, but check the restrictions for your particular product.
  • Shared commercial kitchens: Depending on your production demands, many facilities provide shared or co-op kitchen space that you can rent hourly or monthly. The advantages include lower prices and less paperwork (the facilities are already registered as commercial space).
  • Set up your commercial facility: This may not be the best solution for beginners, but you should also consider it in the long run.
  • Work with an existing manufacturer: This solution is ideal for entrepreneurs who focus on the business rather than the production. It’s also a good alternative for newcomers to the industry, as the producers should already be familiar with food safety and standards.

Last but not least, always keep your spending under control. If one of the appliances is out of your price range, consider renting it.

Find A Reputable Supplier

Because there are so many dodgy organizations in the food market, it’s critical to trace the supply chain before committing to a supplier.

Starting with sourcing ingredients is a tip on how to sell food online. If you want to make an organic product, for example, be sure your raw ingredient supplier has the necessary certification before making claims on your packaging. Building a relationship with your supplier increases trust and gives them a stake in your company.

how to sell food online

You should consider sourcing ingredients from consumer warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club, which may be more cost-effective when you’re just getting started and making modest amounts. Look for a supplier or a distributor who works with farmers on a one-on-one basis for commodities like cacao and coffee beans.

Especially, look into their certifications and supply chain once you’ve narrowed down a few vendors who meet your requirements. Making contacts is essential, but you can also ask for recommendations and look up information online to verify if, for example, an organic provider has the necessary certifications.

Packaging, Branding, And Labeling

Selling food online is particularly difficult because taste, which is the most critical decision-making sense, is unavailable. Because your buyers won’t try your product, branding is crucial. To tell your story and help people anticipate how your product could taste, package design, photography, website, and product page must all work together.

There are four things to make a decision: 

  • Business Name: Memorable, relevant, and easy to spell are the three qualities that a business name should possess.
  • Brand Colors: With the colors you choose, you can be bold and motivating, hot and passionate, or cool and inventive. Besides, food businesses favor bright colors when it comes to psychology. They’re entertaining, straightforward, and have the potential to inspire impulse purchases. Yellows, reds, and oranges are all connected with rich foods, but greens and blues are associated with health and vigor.
  • Product Imagery: If you’re going to invest in professional photography, you should also choose a platform that will allow you to showcase those photographs to their full potential. 

Tips On How To Sell Food Online: Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce all let you establish a visually appealing online store so that your customers can feast their eyes before tasting the actual thing!

how to sell food online

  • Packing Regulations: This is a crucial point. Each country will have mandatory regulations on information that must be stated on the packaging. For example, with US Law, your packaging must contain a complete list of all of the product’s ingredients, the product’s total weight, ‘Best before’ and ‘used by’ dates, company àn vendor name.

Create The Online Store

The ultimate guide on how to sell food online is indispensable for creating a website. Shopify, WordPress, Magento, and Oberlo are the most generally recommended platforms for developing an online store.

Website Builder

Website builders make it simple for beginners to develop and publish a website. The majority of them come with easy-to-use drag-and-drop editors that let you add material and tweak current themes.

Shopify is an example of a simple website builder. It includes many eCommerce website themes that are appropriate for selling food online. Furthermore, all of Shopify’s websites are search engine optimized by default. They have a free SSL certificate as well as free hosting.

how to sell food online

After you’ve chosen a theme and signed up for Shopify, all you have to do now is add your products and link your preferred payment processor. Furthermore, because Shopify handles things like hosting and domain names, you won’t have to worry about the technical side of your business.

Further reading: 

Shopify Vs. Magento – Which One Is Suitable For You?

Shopify Comparison With Other Popular eCommerce Platforms: Oberlo, 3dcart, Big Commerce, etc.

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Setup is quick and easy.

Cons:

  • Must pay a monthly fee.

Pricing:

There are five different plan options for this website builder, two of which are ideal for online retailers. Payment gateways, inventory management systems, and many other services are included in Basic Shopify for $29/month and Advanced Shopify for $79/month.

Shopify pricing

>>> Read More: Shopify Pricing Plans: Which Is The Right Choice For Your Store In 2022?

WordPress

On the other hand, WordPress is a content management system available for free (CMS). Because of its versatility, you may install any theme and customize it to match your brand, or you can purchase ready-made designs from third-party suppliers.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly.
  • High customization and flexibility.

Cons:

  • This is not a beginner-friendly platform.
  • The website must be hosted by a provider.

Pricing:

Even though WordPress is free, users must pay for a hosting service to make their website available online. The prices are different according to the type of hosting, and the web host starts at $0.99 per month.

how to sell food online

Check out Shopify Checklist: Important Steps Before Launching A Store to ensure your website looks professional and has a UX/UI interface.

Shipping & Delivery

Food shipment presents unique challenges, mainly when shipping outside of your city. Consider the potential limits on your product in the country where it will be sold. Technically, once things are in the shipping process, they become the purchaser’s concern. However, a bad customer service experience might hurt your business. By familiarizing yourself with the rules in the areas you ship, you can reduce the customer’s eventual frustration.

If you want to become an international business, you might consider dealing with a fulfillment provider to avoid the red tape.

Moreover, non-refrigerated products often require a label indicating “perishable” or “fragile” when sent.

However, if your food requires refrigeration or if the food items are harmed in any way by heat or cold, you’ll need to choose a shipper that delivers climate-controlled packages. You’ll have a happy health inspector and consumers if you do it this way.

Marketing

You can begin collecting consumer information right away with your email list due to the internetwork. 

Additionally, we recommend starting how to sell food online with a food or recipe blog where you can offer dishes that your consumers may cook with the materials you sell on your site regularly. This is a terrific method to endorse your items while also providing material for your blog, email newsletter, and social media pages.

Indeed, food sales rely heavily on coupons, blogs, local events, and social media promotion. Some people will come across your recipes and blog entries by accident, which is a fantastic way to spread the word.

Here are some practical suggestions for marketing your internet food business:

  • Create a single social media account for all channels with the same name and post regularly. Promote your food, respond to client questions, and don’t be hesitant to communicate with them.

Read More: 5 Pillars of Social Media Marketing for Shopify Stores

  • SEO. Enhance the ranking of your web pages in search engine result pages by optimizing them (SERP). Regularly blog, conduct keyword research, increase backlinks and optimize the site’s performance. We’ve written an article on the subject so you can understand more about how SEO works.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. You only are charged when a customer clicks on your adverts using this advertising model like this name. Google Adverts is the most popular advertising network, and it will show your ads across Google and its partners’ websites.

FAQs: How To Sell Food Online

How Much Does It Cost To Sell Food Online?

How Much Does It Cost To Sell Food Online?

The cost of a company license is influenced by various factors, including the location and number of employees. In general, this can be anywhere from $25 to $7,000. However, most food startups and small businesses will pay between $50 and $200.

In addition, if you use a website builder, it costs you more. These quotations range from entirely free to one-of-a-kind. A monthly cost of $20 to $80 is typical for small food enterprises. That includes your website’s design, hosting, and security, among other things.

How To Price Food Products

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to identifying food prices. Calculating the cost per item by looking at ingredient prices, production expenses, labor costs, and manufacturing overhead is the only way to get your pricing right.

A 10% margin is regarded as ordinary, whereas a 20% margin is considered high. The optimal net profit margin, on the other hand, differs per industry. The food processing business grew at an annual rate of 11.55 percent in the first quarter of 2021, according to CSIMarket.

Alternately, please do some research on your competitors and compare their prices. It’s a good idea to stick to a comparable pricing range, as this will help you spread the word and create your brand.

Conclusion

In summary, there is always room for new firms in the food market. With rising competition and client demand, it’s a good idea to learn how to sell food online using eCommerce.

How to sell food online? Here’s a quick review of the requirements to start an online food-selling business:

  • Understand the market before embarking on anything.
  •  Establish a budget as well as specific expectations.
  • Find a reputable supplier. Remember to trace the supply chain before committing to a supplier.
  • Think about how you’ll package and label your product.
  • Create the online store
  • Consider about shipping & delivery policy. Besides, refrigerated products may not be suitable for cross-border transportation.
  • Marketing is an excellent approach to not only get your items in front of the public but also to develop a relationship with customers and make them feel like they’re a part of your company’s goal.

Follow the procedures outlined above to see your food business grow. You’ll create a thriving food business in no time if you have the appropriate information and work hard.