How to start a successful food business in Michigan

Operating a food business under the Michigan Cottage Food Law can help your income and Michigan’s economy as well.

Michigan’s Cottage Food Law, which took effect July 2010, will allow those with an entrepreneurial spirit the opportunity to sell certain homemade food products to the public. If you are one of those individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit and are considering selling some of your homemade food products, you will be interested in the workshops that Michigan State University Extension is offering around the state this spring and early summer.

These MSU Extension workshops combine the business and food safety aspects of preparing and selling cottage foods safely and successfully. At these workshops you will find out what foods can be legally produced as well as how to label and sell them. You will learn food safety practices to ensure that you are producing a wholesome product that people will want to buy. You will also pick up techniques to develop and then maintain a successful small business.

Under Michigan’s Cottage Food Law, foods that do not require refrigeration can be produced in a home kitchen for sale to customers at farm markets, roadside stands or other such direct sale markets. In the last ten years, the number of farmers markets in Michigan has grown from around 90 in 2001 to more than 280 today.

This law is a wonderful opportunity for Michigan residents who are thinking about starting a food business, but don’t want to spend the money to establish or rent a commercial kitchen. This is a chance to test food products and operate a food business on a small scale. If it is successful then it could become one of Michigan’s viable food businesses.

MSU Extension will be working with the MSU Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources in offering these workshops. The Product Center is a gateway to generating success for Michigan entrepreneurs for the agriculture, natural resources and bio economy sectors.

There is a small fee to attend a workshop that will help you have a successful small food business. You can find a workshop on “How to Start a Successful Cottage food business in Michigan” by clicking on view more events at http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/cottage_food_law.

At the end of the workshops participants receive a certificate to display when selling cottage foods. This certificate states that you have taken food safety training related to Michigan Cottage Foods. Although not required under the Cottage Food Law, the certificate is designed to assure buyers that their purchase has been safely prepared.

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