Recipe to Market: Creating Your Own Food Business

Author: Maud Powell, Small Farms Program, Oregon State University

Publish Date: Winter 2015

This past fall, OSU Extension Small Farms teamed up with Thrive, a Southern Oregon non-profit dedicated to supporting local businesses, and OSU Family and Community Health to offer a four-part class called Recipe to Market: Creating Your Own Food Business. The class series was designed for farmers, master food preservers, and entrepreneurs interested in starting their own businesses based on value-added products.

The first class meeting was held at a local restaurant and provided a venue for potential food business owners to sample local products already on the market. Five successful food entrepreneurs told the stories of their value-added food ventures and answered questions about the challenges and successes they experienced.

During the second class, presenters from OSU’s Food Innovation Center in Portland covered labeling, food safety, recipe creation, product testing, self-life, kitchen and licensing requirements, food laws, pricing, marketing strategies, and how to locate local resources. During the third class, speakers tackled the issues of business and financial planning, with an emphasis on bookkeeping, microfinancing options, and how to choose the best business structure. Finally, the fourth class addressed how to successfully market and brand food businesses. Two successful business owners showcased their websites, packaging, and labels, and discussed their experiences with crowd-funding.

Overall, the classes were well-attended and rated highly. Attendees commented on the value of learning from business owners who have been in the trenches and receiving critical information on marketing laws and business planning.