Florida Cottage Food Law: Read All About It

CS/HB Bill 663 in the State of Florida goes into effect on July 1, 2021.
Cottage Food Operations; the Bill will increase the annual gross sales limitation for exempting cottage food operations from certain food and building permitting requirements; authorizing the sale, offer for sale, and delivery of cottage food products by mail; preempting the regulation of cottage food operations to the state; prohibiting local governments from prohibiting cottage food operations or regulating cottage food products by cottage food operations; requiring cottage food operations to comply with certain conditions for the operation of home-based businesses, etc.

The goal of the legislation is to help local small cottage food businesses grow.

The new law will help make it easier for Florida Cottage Food Operators to run their food business from home.

“The Home Sweet Home Act basically removes some of the regulations, some of the barricades for just the regular person that really wants to try something new.”

If passed, cottage food businesses would now be allowed to ship their products, have a business partner, and increase the income earnings for CFOs from $50,000 to $250,000.

It would also remove local government regulations and leave it up to the state to regulate cottage food businesses. The Bill will not change the types of food that can be produced under the cottage food requirements. Updates will be posted in this group. We are keeping an eye on this Bill!

Starting a Remarkable Cottage Food Business in Florida

Low-risk foods involve any of the foods mentioned in this list.  The amazing aspect of the Florida Cottage Food Law is it allows residents to earn, but not exceed $50,000.

You do not need a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service food permit and are not inspected by any Florida government entity.

Florida residents interested in taking the Florida Cottage Food journey need to create a business plan. Learn before you leap. Earning $50,000 will not be easy.

Let’s stop and think about this. So you want to sell cupcakes? How many will you need to sell to make $50,000? At $3 per cupcake, you’ll need to sell 16,666. That’s 1,388 dozen or 26 dozen in 52 weeks.

Does that sound doable? By now you know unless you are selling gourmet cupcakes for a lot more money, this will be an uphill battle.

Selecting a profitable cottage food product begins by becoming a private eye of sorts. You will collect information to discover what the consumers in your community want. Talking to consumers, the competition, and pricing for profit.

Review the Florida Cottage Food Law document and contact them at 850-245-5520 if you have questions.

The State of Florida provides a thorough overview of what is allowed as a Cottage Food Operator.

Let’s Start with a Checklist:

  • Assess your skills & resources
  • Inspect your kitchen
  • Basic knowledge of business startup?
  • Product list
  • Structure your business
  • Cost & price product
  • Assess the competition
  • Marketing & Advertising knowledge
  • Financial management
  • Sales location (eCommerce is not allowed in Florida)
  • Scaling the business
  • Selecting a Florida Cottage Food Product

There are a variety of cottage food products on the list, all are not profitable. Before you consider a product examine the following:

Your Sales Location

Are there enough consumers in your area to sustain the product you have in mind?

How Shelf-Stable is Your Product?

Perishable products with a short self-life will need to move quickly off the shelf. A good example, baked-goods. Losses are high if you do not sell all your product in one day. Shelf-stable products, jams, jellies, and dried pasta will live to see another day.

What Do Consumers Want?

Take a look at what is missing in the marketplace based on the list of cottage foods allowed.

Do you now see why this is a process? You must learn before you leap into the business?

There is little room for error, otherwise, you risk losing money chasing after a product that no one wants.

What Makes a Profitable Product?

It depends. What are folks in your community head-over-heels for? Are there any food trends that have stood the test of time in your community?

A Few Iconic Florida Cottage Foods?

Some may need to be prepared in a commercial kitchen, and others in the home kitchen.

  • Key Lime Pie (Are there other key lime products? Pound Cake, cupcakes, cookies, cookie bars, shortbread cookies)
  • Boiled Peanuts (flavored, boiled in a special seasoning)
  • Kumquat incorporated in cookies, cakes, candy

One favorite snack in Florida is the Anastasia Confections’ Coconut Patties, a creamy coconut filling with a dark chocolate shell. Check out favorites from other parts of the U.S.

What Makes a “Remarkable Cottage Food Product?”

  • Seek to produce a product not currently in the marketplace.
  • If you produce a product in the marketplace, make it better, make it “REMARKABLE”.
  • The product must be “Remarkable” to the consumer, not you.
  • Think about what you will need to do to get your product noticed. In the direct eye of the consumer.
  • Your goal when starting your Florida Cottage Food Operation is to not only be ‘remarkable’ but attract consumers willing and able to pay for your “REMARKABLE” product.
  • If your product is sold at Publix, it’s not “REMARKABLE.”
  • Always be willing to reinvest and reinvent your product.

The State of Florida cottage food requirements are carefully documented but if you have questions contact them directly.

What Do I Do Next?

The best place to start is in our Kitchen2Market online course. In this course you will gain access to:

  • A detailed course on how to start your small batch food business
  • A workbook that will assist you with getting your business started
  • A 1-year business plan that asks the specific questions you need to answer to be successful in your first year in business
  • Weekly group coaching calls, on which you can get all of your pressing questions answered

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