Do you want to start a food processing business? If YES, here are 50 best food processing business ideas & opportunities you can start with no money.
Humans have evolved to such a time when they are no longer able to consume all they have cultivated. This is due in part to the effective use of technology in farming. The food surplus that resulted from these robust farm practices need to be preserved, and this was what gave rise to food processing.
Food is usually processed to ensure proper preservation, and as well to derive other useful food products from them. Food processing mostly involves; mincing and macerating, liquefaction, emulsification, cooking (such as boiling, broiling, frying, or grilling); pickling, pasteurization, and many other kinds of preservation; and canning or other packaging of food.
With this industry growing bigger, now is the ideal time to invest. If you want to start a food processing business, here are 50 ideas that can help you pick out the best fit for you.
Best Food Processing Business ideas
Mushrooms are one of the very healthy foods in the world today. They are a type of fast growing basidiomycetous fungi which produces fleshy bodies. They are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals, so they are very much rich in energy.
The world boasts of about 100 species of edible mushrooms, but just a few are indigenous to each country. Fresh mushrooms have very limited life, as they can decay in hours, so they need to be consumed almost immediately after harvest; but processing and canning increase their shelf life to more than a few months.
Osmotic dehydration is one of the important methods of processing mushroom which involves drying the mushrooms. This is a very profitable food processing business, but note that you have to be able to cultivate the mushrooms on your own to be able to maximize profits.
Onions are one other food product or spice that can be processed. Onion is an important vegetable crop that is grown different parts of the world and forms part of the daily diet in almost all households throughout the year. Onions, by their nature are perishable food products and cannot be stored for a long time after harvest in ordinary conditions, and as such they are usually processed into various forms to increase their shelf life.
Onions are usually dehydrated and made into onion powder to be used in soups and sauces. If you live in a region that allows for the effective growth of onions, you can start an onions processing business.
Dehydration and canning of fruits and vegetables
Most of the fruits and vegetables produced all over the world are consumed in the fresh form, but with the increasing urbanization and continuous effort to provide a regular supply of acceptable and desirable food, the world is producing more food than it can consume.
One of the oldest methods of food preservation is by drying, which reduces water activity sufficiently to prevent or delay bacterial growth. Drying also reduces weight, making food more portable. It is also worthy of note that canned foods still retain their nutritional contents.
Certain products like green peas, cauliflower, carrots, spinach etc. command good prices during lean and off season. Dehydration of fruits and vegetable is a good business for one who lives in a farming community.
Making fruits into juices and pulp is one way to preserve fruits that typically have very short shelf life. Fruit juices are usually packaged in Aseptic Packaging, making them have longer shelf life. Fruit juices are used in homes, canteens, hotels, restaurants and also in weddings, birthday parties and all types of celebrations.
It should be noted that juices are not the only things that can be gotten from fruits. Fruits of various kinds can be dried or made into purees, example banana purees that are used to make baby food.
Garlic is one of the most medically viable spices in the world today. Because of its medicinal properties, people consume them quite a lot.
It is also used in flavouring of many food products and in ayurvedic medicines. Garlic can be processed into various usable forms like garlic powder, dehydrated garlic, garlic drink etc. You can start a small scale garlic processing company and focus on exporting your products.
Jam and jelly production
Jelly is a clear, bright mixture made from fruit, sugar and sometimes pectin. Jam is produced by taking mashed or chopped fruit or vegetable pulp and boiling it with sugar and water.
When the mixture reaches a temperature of 104 °C (219 °F), the acid and the pectin in the fruit react with the sugar, and the jam is left to cool down and set. Jelly and jam is used as bread spread and as a filling for some cakes and cookies. Jam production business does not require much capital to start, and you can equally start it from home.
Seafood processing and packaging
Seafood processing refers to the processes carried out on seafood between the time they are caught or harvested, and the time the final product is delivered to the consumer. Seafood can comprise of fish, crabs, prawns, oysters, lobsters and what have you.
Because of the short shelf life of these aquatic animals, they are usually processed almost immediately. To enable them reach their final consumers, seafood are usually frozen, salted, dried or smoked, canned etc.
Tomatoes are one fruit that is popular world over. They are low in calories and a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. With their rich flavor and mild acidity, tomatoes have worked their way into thousands of recipes. Because tomatoes do not stay very long in their fresh state, so they are usually processed after harvest to avoid major losses.
Tomato Paste or tomato concentrate is the main product of processed tomatoes, and even the most popular for households. Tomatoes can also be canned, made into juice, puree, paste, ketchup and sauces, etc.
Production of sauces
Sauces are a byproduct of food processing. A sauce is a liquid, cream, or semi-solid food byproduct that is served on or used in preparing other foods. Sauces add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to a dish. These days, sauces are produced, packaged and sold in grocery stores.
Because people can get already made sauces from shops, their demand has gone up. If you are adept in food processing, you can produce and package tomato, chilli, oyster, soya etc. sauces for sale. These sauces can be prepared at home and you do not need to invest on a different property. Your primary focus should be on the quality and taste.
Cashew nuts are the nuts that accompany cashew fruits. Cashews are always in high demand because they make a great snack, and it packs a lot of nutrients. These nuts are usually sold salted because salt increases the flavour of the cashew. Cashew nut processing and packaging makes a good business because cashew nuts are sold at high price because of its high demand.
The activities that are involved in cashew processing are cooking, cutting, cashew kernel drying, peeling, grading and packing. Cashew nut processing can be initiated as small scale and it can equally be exported. This business does not take much to start as you only need to invest in raw materials, man power and packaging.
Vinegar is a liquid consisting of about 5–20% acetic acid water, and other trace chemicals, which may include flavorings. The acetic acid is produced by the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria.
Today, vinegar is mainly used as a cooking ingredient, and for pickling. It is also used in cleaning, washing hair, preserving food, detox and improving skin function. But note that you have to have sound technical knowledge before you can embark on vinegar production.
Winemaking or vinification is the production of wine, starting with the selection of the fruit, its fermentation into alcohol, and the bottling of the finished liquid.
Wine making has a very long history and it is still relevant till today. If you live in an area with an abundance of vineyards, you can start a micro winery, and make wines for sale to your local community. If you have the resources, you can start it on a large scale.
Bees collect nectar which they convert into honey and store as a food source. Honey processing is concerned with liquefying and filtering of the raw honey. Four major byproducts of the honey-making process include beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, and propolis.
Beeswax is produced in the bee’s body as the nectar is transforming into honey. The Production process is simple and can be initiated on a small scale and home based basis. With the growing awareness of the nutritional and medicinal properties of honey, one can make good profits out of this business in the long run.
Meat processing technology comprises the steps and procedures used in the manufacture of processed meat products. Methods of meat processing include salting, curing, fermentation, smoking etc.
The meat processing industry is highly regulated in America to prevent contamination, so the person who wants to go this route has to acquire a lot of licenses and permits, and ensure that they have a hygienic working environment. Meat can be processed and sold as bacon, ham, hotdogs, sausages, salami, corned beef, beef jerky, canned meat and meat-based sauces.
A brewery or brewing company is a business that makes and sells beer. Beer is a byproduct of grains like hops, wheat, corn etc., so brewing is actually the processing of cereals and grains into and alcoholic beverage. A brewery is a food processing business idea an entrepreneur can start if he has the financial capacity, but if does not have the startup capital, he or she can then start a microbrewery that produces craft beers.
This business can be done on a small scale with little capital and so can suit various capital ranges, but note that different licenses and permissions are required to initiate this business.
Pickles are cucumbers preserved in a solution of vinegar, salt, and other flavorings. They are typically fermented with naturally-occurring bacteria prior to vinegar preservation. Pickles are a very popular food and snack, with over 5 million lb (2.27 million kg) consumed daily.
You can start processing and canning pickles for sale. This business can be comfortably done on a small scale with few restrictions, as well as on a large scale for export.
A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spice processing and sale is one of the most profitable food processing businesses that can be initiated in a small and medium scale.
Some of the most popular spices are meat spice, curry powder, chat spice, cumin, turmeric etc. With changing lifestyle and food habits and the increase in disposable income, the use of powdered spices has increased, making this business a profitable one.
Baker’s Yeast production
Yeast has been used for brewing and baking for several thousand years, but it was not until about 1850 that the specific production of a yeast intended especially for bread-making was initiated. Baker’s yeast is the common name for the strain of yeast commonly used as a leavening agent in baking bread.
The yeast converts the fermentable sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol. The principal raw materials used in producing baker’s yeast are the pure yeast culture and molasses. The production of baker’s yeast can be carried out on a very large industrial scale as well as on a small scale depending on the financial leaning of the entrepreneur.
Coconut oil is not only beneficial for cooking as it can be used to sooth various ailments and even for massages and other industrial applications. Because of the many uses of coconut oil, it is seeing great demand in the market today. Coconut oil is the byproduct of the coconut fruit and it is gotten via processing.
To start processing coconut fruit for its oil, you must locate your business in a place that has an abundance of fruiting coconut trees. Having your business in this location would help you save money on transporting the produce from a far place.
Wheat flour processing
Flour is a powdered substance that is made by grinding raw grains or roots, and it used to make many different foods. With an annual harvest of approximately 740 million tons, wheat is one of the most important grains in the world today.
This statistics shows that wheat flour milling is still a very profitable business. In order to produce high-quality finished products, an optimized milling process is essential. The production process is fairly simple and this business can be initiated on a small scale basis with simple machinery.
Protein bar production
With the healthy eating rave, people are now giving up their regular candies for something more nutritious. This phenomenon is what gave rise to health or protein bars. These health snacks are made from fruits, nuts and other healthy additives and they contain a high proportion of protein to carbohydrates/fats.
Protein is essential for muscle building, fat loss, and workout recovery. You can take advantage of the healthy eating rave to start processing protein bars for sale or export.
Ginger oil production
Extracted from ginger root, ginger oil has been credited with a whole lot of health and therapeutic properties. The health benefits of ginger root oil can be attributed to its digestive, carminative, expectorant, antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, stimulating, and aphrodisiac properties.
Its other benefits include its ability to treat stomach problems, nausea, heart strokes, and indigestion. This makes ginger oil a very essential oil that would sure get good market for itself. Ginger root oil production can be done on a small scale with minimal capital requirements.
Ginger root processing
Widely known for adding spice and flavor to many popular dishes, the ginger root has a variety of benefits and uses that reach far beyond the culinary realm.
It is good for detoxing, improving digestion and reducing inflammation. Ginger root can be processed into a lot of different products such as ginger ale, ginger oil, ginger coffee, ginger spice, powder, juice etc. Quite a lot can be done with this fiery root, and it has a lot of profit potentials.
Peanut oil production
Peanut oil, also known as groundnut oil, is a mild tasting vegetable oil expressed from groundnut kernels. The oil contains high amounts of energy and fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and essential fatty acids. The oil content of the kernels is between 45% and 55%. Peanut oil is versatile in its uses, from cooking to industrial uses and as such there is a ready market for it.
Groundnuts are a high value crop that can be marketed with little processing but are extremely versatile and can be used in a wide range of products. The oil can be used for cooking, they can be used as a shortening or as a base for confectioneries and they can be used to make peanut butter.
Groundnuts are cultivated all year round so they are readily available. If you have access to groundnuts in good quantities, you can start a groundnut processing business.
Potatoes are one of the oldest foods in the world and belong to the group of tuberous plants. Since its introduction into the united states, potatoes have been one of the most cultivated and most consumed root tubers. Less than 50 percent of potatoes grown worldwide and even in the US are consumed fresh. The product is mostly processed to make it more versatile.
Potatoes can be processed into potato chips, wafers, potato granules, potato wine, alcohol, vodka, sticks, French fries, frozen potato products, potato starch, potato powder, flakes, pellets and liquid glucose projects. The root can also be used to feed cattle, pigs, and chickens.
This business can be a bit capital intensive because you need to procure industry equipment, and you need to acquire the necessary government permits.
Rice Bran Oil Production
Rice bran oil is an oil that is extracted from the hard outer brown layer of rice after the chaff (rice husk) has been removed. It is known for its high smoke point of 232 °C (450 °F) and mild flavor, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking methods such as stir frying and deep frying.
The health benefits of rice bran oil include its ability to help lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, prevent cancer, improve skin health, promote weight loss, relieve menopausal symptoms, protect heart health, increase cognitive strength, and lower allergic reactions.
Do you cultivate rice in large quantities? You can go into the production of rice bran oil. Rice bran oil production is capital intensive, so it must be focused on export to get much better profitability.
Sunflower Oil Production
Sunflower oil is another beneficial oil that is mostly used for cooking because of its health properties. Sunflower oil production can only be done if there is an abundance of sunflower seeds, if not you would spend a lot on transportation.
Refined sunflower oil goes through the long way of purification which consists of the following stages: mechanical cleaning, hydration, neutralization, bleaching, freezing, deodorization etc. Because it is not quite available like the peanut oil, sunflower oil tends to fetch more profits in the market.
Rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa. As a cereal grain, it is the most widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in Asia. Rice after harvesting needs to be milled before it is available for consumption.
It is a fact that most people who cultivate rice, don’t mill them, and as such would look for places where they can get their rice dressed for the market.
The basic objective of a rice milling system is to remove the husk and the bran layers, and produce an edible, white rice kernel that is sufficiently milled and free of impurities. If you have sufficient knowledge and capital, you can open a rice mill to help farmers out.
The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume that is widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses. Just like rice, for soya bean to be utilized, it has to be processed first. Soybean can be processed in to different products like; soya nuts, soya milk, tofu, texturized soya protein, soya bean oil and other non-food based products etc.
Soybeans have a wealth of benefits, including their ability to improve the metabolism, help in healthy weight gain, protect heart health, defend against cancer, and reduce the effects of menopause, improve digestion, promote bone health, protect against birth defects, increase circulation etc.
Malt liquor and malt drink production
Malt drink is a lightly carbonated malt beverage that is brewed from barley, hops, and water much like beer; corn and caramel color may also be added to it. While malt liquor is a strong lager or ale in which sugar, corn or other adjuncts are added to the malted barley to boost the total amount of fermentable sugars in the mix.
This gives a boost to the final alcohol concentration without creating a heavier or sweeter taste, thus they are not very bitter. It takes some brewing to get these beverages so you may have to set up a microbrewery.
Distilling and blending of spirits
Spirit is an alcoholic drink produced by distillation of liquid drinks made with grains, fruit, or vegetables that have already gone through alcoholic fermentation. This distilled liquor can be in the form of gin, vodka, rum and brandy. This is another food processing business idea. Liquors have very good retail value and can definitely earn you good profits.
Bread is a staple food prepared from a dough of flour, yeast, sugar, salt and water, usually by baking. Bread flour is moistened, kneaded, and sometimes fermented and baked to form bread. Bread is now becoming one of the most essential food items in human diet due to its ready-made availability and high nutritive value.
You can also produce other pastries in your bakery, and you would gain more profit and markets if you target breakfast staples like bread, bagels, croissant, doughnut etc.
Sorbitol is a low-calorie sweetener chemically extracted from glucose. It is used as an alternative to sugar in a range of foods, including low-calorie and sugar-free foods, as well as pharmaceutical and oral health products such as toothpaste and chewing gum.
Sorbitol has less of an effect on blood sugar levels than ordinary sugar thus making it more acceptable. While many fruits naturally contain sorbitol, it can also be produced in the laboratory, where it is derived from glucose. You can equally start manufacturing this artificial sweetener for industrial purposes.
Baby food processing
Baby food is any soft, easily consumed food other than breast milk or infant formula that is made specifically for human babies between four to six months and two years old. Baby food business is one of the most challenging enterprises to start.
This is because large heavily funded companies are into baby food production. There are many premium brands in the market so competition is fierce. Again, the production of baby food requires the best systems that meet the highest hygiene requirements. If you think you can meet up with all these, then you should start processing baby food.
Open a biscuit factory
Biscuit is a term used for a variety of primarily flour-based baked food products that are mostly eaten as snacks. The main ingredients for biscuit making are flours, sugars and fats. Starting a biscuit factory may not be capital intensive but it depends on how you want to start.
Biscuits are relished by a lot of people so you would not lack market for your product especially if you produce locally and your products are always fresh.
Open a chocolate factory
Chocolate is a typically sweet, usually brown food preparation that is gotten from Theobroma cacao seeds that are roasted and ground into powdered form. Chocolate can be made into liquid, paste, or in a block, or used as a flavoring ingredient in other foods.
Chocolate on its own can be used in the production of different kinds of desserts and in cooking. You can set up a factory where you get to produce all-things cocoa.
Condensed Milk Production
Condensed milk is cow’s milk from which water has been removed. It is most often found in the form of sweetened condensed milk that has some added sugar.
Condensed milk is produced by reducing the amount of water in milk, about 60 percent, and then adding enough sugar to make a thickened paste. If you reside in a farm area, you can start making locally produced condensed milk to appeal to the locals. You can bottle or can your produce and distribute to grocery stores.
An energy drink is a type of beverage that contains stimulants, usually including caffeine and sugar, which is said to provide mental and physical stimulation. Not all energy drinks are carbonated; and including sugar, they also contain other sweeteners, herbal extracts, taurine, and amino acids. Energy drink production is another food processing business idea that has a decent market for itself.
Table salt or common salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride, a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of salts. Iodine is usually added to table salt to fortify it and to prevent iodine deficiency in humans.
The earliest method of salt production was the evaporation of seawater by the heat of the sun but today, other efficient methods have emerged. Since the discovery of salt some hundreds of years ago, it has become an important commodity for domestic, industrial, and even religious use. If you live near a sea or salt mine, you can decide to start processing salt.
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian origin, but its popularity has spread across the world. Pasta is typically made from unleavened dough of durum wheat flour mixed with water or eggs and formed into sheets or various shapes, then cooked by boiling or baking.
Pasta processing is a beneficial food processing idea because pasta is acceptable in all countries. As an alternative, one can choose to produce gluten free pasta by using rice flour.
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm. Oil palms are originally from Western Africa, but can flourish wherever heat and rainfall are abundant. Palm oil can be used for a variety of purposes like cooking, in the manufacture of cosmetics, cleaning products, and it can be used as fuel. Palm oil is a source of huge profits if you have adequate access to the seeds.
Tutti frutti production
Tutti frutti is a colorful confectionery containing various chopped and usually candied fruits, or an artificial or natural flavouring simulating the combined flavour of many different fruits. Tutti frutti is mostly used in ice cream with a combination of other flavours. You can produce Tutti frutti and sell to the food industry.
Candy, also called sweets or lollies is a hard boiled sugar confectionery. There are so many popular flavours of candy like orange, pineapple, mango, mint, strawberry etc. Candy manufacturing is one of the most popular food processing business idea.
Soy Sauce Production
Soy sauce is a liquid condiment of Chinese origin, made from a fermented paste of soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae etc. Soy sauce is one of the world’s oldest condiments and it is still very much relevant in menus today. You can start producing soy sauce for sale and you can actually start it on a low scale.
Ice Cream Making
Ice cream is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It is usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavors. Ice cream is a perfect small scale food processing business that you can start on your own terms, and from your home. Choose your flavours, location and you are in business.
Open a food packaging plant
Food packaging is packaging food in ways it can be taken to the market for consumers. A food package provides protection, tampering resistance, and special physical, chemical, or biological needs for the food. It may bear a nutrition facts label and other information about the food being offered for sale.
Before food is packed, it has to be cleaned, cut or shared into manageable proportions, labeled then packaged. You can set up a food packaging plant but beware that this is a capital intensive business.
A slaughterhouse or abattoir is a facility where animals are slaughtered for consumption as food. Slaughterhouses supply meat which then becomes the responsibility of the packaging department.
A slaughterhouse can also have a meat packaging department, if not the job is outsourced to other companies. A slaughterhouse is a part of the food processing industry, but one has to meet a whole lot of regulations before one can open a slaughterhouse.
Start a sugar making factory
Sugar is the generic name for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates, many of which are used in food. Sugar is mostly derived from processed sugarcane, and it is used in a variety of manufacturing processes especially food production. Sugar making is another food processing business idea.
Open a cannery
Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. A cannery is a company that cans foods. Canning provides a shelf life typically ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances it can be much longer.
If you have access to a large quantity of farm produce, you can open a canning factory where you get to can these foods for sale under your own label.