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Packaged Foods

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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

THE BRIEF:

Consumers are always looking for new, innovative and/or healthier food options, so why don't you give it to them? The packaged food industry has changed significantly over the past 20 years, becoming less dominated by food giants and more welcoming to options from entrepreneurs. Look at Ethan Brown with his company Beyond Meat. Founded in 2009, the company's mock meat is now being emulated by large corporations. The company even went public. Entrepreneurs can always find ways to make existing products better, or even create new foods that reinvent diets.

ASK THE PROS:

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

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.

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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