Packaged Foods

Startup Costs: $10,000 - $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? Yes

Sink your teeth into this: Grand View Research reveals that the U.S. packaged food market hit a whopping value of $1.03 trillion in 2021, with a promising compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8% projected from 2022 to 2030.

Hungry consumers are constantly on the lookout for fresh, innovative, and healthier food choices. So, why not give them what they crave? The packaged food industry has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past two decades, shifting away from the dominance of food behemoths and embracing the offerings of enterprising individuals. Just take a gander at Ethan Brown and his brainchild, Beyond Meat. Established in 2009, this trailblazing company's plant-based meat alternatives are now being emulated by corporate giants. They've even taken the plunge into the stock market. It's proof that entrepreneurs always have the power to enhance existing products or create new culinary marvels that revolutionize our diets.

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How much money can you make?

Upfront costs may be high and sales may be slow to start as you figure out how to manufacture your product at scale, but successful packaged food entrepreneurs have the potential to bring in millions in revenues once they lock in distribution with retailers.

"The consumption of food in the U.S. is changing so quickly in terms of what consumers demand and are looking for, and as an entrepreneur to participate in this sweeping change where we are so nimble, we have access to so much capital, we have relationships with all the leading retailers in America that are wanting innovation and we're able to move so much faster than big food — it's like a gold rush in terms of opportunity." —Jon Sebastiani, whose first business, Krave Jerky, was acquired by The Hershey Company in 2015.

What kind of experience do you need to have?

Food entrepreneurs come from diverse backgrounds, but one thing the successful ones have in common is that they become experts on the product they create. For example, if you want to go into beverages, study what's popular and what the trends are, then create your concoction at home or employ a food lab, like Roly Nesi of Roar Beverage Co. If frozen food is more your thing, it could help to have a culinary background, like Vanessa Phillips of Feel Good Foods.

Related: Get the No.1 Guide to Starting Your Own Business

What’s the most important thing to know about this business?

"A lot of entrepreneurs look at the marketplace first to see what's working, and then they design their product out of what's working rather than looking into the abyss of the unknown and truly delivering a first-mover product, whether that product is in the form of changing a usage occasion or simply a new product. But when you've found a unique product that's alone driving innovation, you're going to get a retail community to support you more. True entrepreneurship is the ability to find an opportunity within a nascent category or within a new product experience that is driving different consumer behavior. So the bottom line is differentiation." —Jon Sebastiani


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