How to start a successful food business in Michigan

MSU Extension offers "How to Have a Successful Cottage Food Business in Michigan" using webinars and online programming.

Canned preserves

The Michigan Cottage Food Law took effect in July 2010. This law gave small-scale entrepreneurs the opportunity to make and market certain foods from their home kitchens. The Cottage Food Law is intended to support farmers’ markets by allowing certain products to be sold without the expense and trouble of preparing them in a licensed, commercial kitchen. 

A cottage food business is a great opportunity for an entrepreneur who desires to start a food business but has limited funds or space. Those selling cottage foods in Michigan are exempt from the requirements of licensing and routine inspection by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). According to MDARD's Michigan Cottage Foods Information, a cottage food operation still has to comply with labeling and other provisions found in the Michigan Food Law.

Cottage foods are basically non-hazardous foods. They can be safely kept at room temperature and do not require refrigeration. Examples include fruit jams and jellies, breads and similar baked goods, cookies, cakes, fruit pies, vinegars and other non-potentially hazardous foods.

As with all businesses, a cottage food business requires there be careful planning to ensure success. It is important to build a team to help build a business. Success with anything is determined by the ability of the team to make, market and sell the entire operation. Most people are very good at one of these aspects; somewhat good at two but very few people are good at all three by themselves. Teamwork pays off when building a business.

Michigan State University Extension is working with the MSU Product Center to educate food entrepreneurs how to safely make, label and successfully sell cottage foods by offering workshops around the state. The MSU Product Center is a gateway to generating success for Michigan entrepreneurs in the areas of agriculture, natural resources and bio economy.

Webinars and online training on “How to Start a Successful Cottage Food Business” combine the business and food safety aspects of preparing and selling cottage foods safely and successfully. Webinars are available this spring and the Michigan Cottage Food Law online course is available anytime you would like to access it.

Both the webinars and the online training course focus on:

  • Michigan Cottage Food Law
  • Safe food practices
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cleaning and sanitizing
  • Final product

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