Are you a budding food entrepreneur but you lack ideas on what food business to start? If YES, here are 100+ best small business ideas in the food industry.

Humans and animals need food for survival. In essence, humans and even animals will do all they can to ensure that they eat if they want to grow, stay healthy and survive. It is for this reason that loads of people have begun businesses that are food related. This is because of the desire to solve the food problem that abounds, whilst smiling to the bank.

If you take your time to observe businesses around you, you will find out that any business that relates to food thrives – especially if the business is strategically positioned. Food business is perhaps one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can start and grow to profitability within a short period of time.

Over and above, the food industry is a very large industry and despite the competition in the industry, people are still making profits out of the industry.

100+ Best Small Business ideas in the Food Industry

A. Food Processing Business ideas – 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.

B. Wine Business ideas – The wine industry is a billion dollar industry. This is because Americans enjoy their wine, and would rather give up food than a relaxing glass of fine wine after a stressful day. No gathering, event, wedding or anniversary is complete without the presence of wine and champagne. If you want to be a part of this industry, there are many niches you can choose from as the wine industry is blessed with such versatility.

Specific Food Business ideas & Opportunities

1. Bakery Business – Shifting consumer trends and increasing consolidation have posed a significant challenge to bakery manufacturers. Nevertheless, this industry is soaring and has continued to grow, largely due to the impact the products from bakeries have on people in the society either as a major snack/ a food supplement.

The US bakery products industry includes about 2,800 commercial bakeries with combined annual revenue of about $36 billion, along with about 6,000 retail bakeries with combined annual revenue of about $3.8 billion.

2. Bottle Water Production – Needless to say that there are readily available markets for bottled water no matter the part of the world that you decided to start your own bottled water Production Company. This is so because every human on the face of the earth drink clean and portable water to survive no matter how it is packaged.

3. Cake Decorating Business – Cake making is part of the bakery industry and it is estimated that the industry involves more than 2,800 commercial bakeries and they together drag in a combined annual revenue of about $30 billion, along with about 6,700 retail bakeries with annual revenue of about $3 billion.

The cake industry has been profitable and would continue to be, you only have to find a niche that suites you best and then engage in extensive marketing after you must have set up the business.

4. Catering Business – If you have a penchant for whipping up great meals, then you may have also tinkered with wanting to commercialize the business. If you have cooked for family and friends, and they have told you how much of a good cook you are, then chances are that you need to take the business to another level. However; truth be told, being a professional caterer might not just come easy.

5. Coffee Shop Business – Coffee business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can successfully start in the corner of a busy street or on a mobile shop without breaking the bank for cash. At the same time, big – time investors can also leverage on the high demand for coffee to set up their own coffee shops / cafés in strategic locations all around key cities in the United States of America and in other parts of the world.

6. Food Truck Business – As the industry grows, food truck owners are becoming more creative on how they run their business. It is now normal for food trucks to be found at wedding receptions and special events.

With the partnership of event managers, food trucks can be hired to service special events, such as wedding parties, crusades, community events, school events, birthday parties, picnics, retirement parties, and any other event as deemed fit by the event manager.

7. Pizza Shop Business – This lucrative industry is made up to of businesses that make and serve pizza and other related items. The industry includes both full-service shops and quick-service businesses. We agree there are well-established and well-known pizza brands in the industry, yet there are also a large number of small, independent and locally focused pizza shops across the United States. Reports have it that about 55.3% of US pizza stores are small independently owned shops.

8. Restaurant Business – One good thing about the restaurant business is that an owner has the sole right to determine the price they want to sell their menu irrespective of what others around them might – especially if they are good with the delicacies they whip up.

There is no contesting the fact that food is one of the basic needs of people. It is for that reason that a myriad of people do all it takes to eat when they are hungry and Restaurants are such places that is designed to address such needs.

9. Smoothie & Juice Bar – The Juice and Smoothie Bars industry has grown steadily over the last five years as juice bars have adapted to the rapidly changing consumer preference and lifestyle.  The Juice and Smoothie Bars industry is a thriving sector of the economy of the United States of America and they generate well over $2 billion annually from more than 1,435 registered and licensed juice and smoothie bar companies scattered all around the United States of America.

10. Hookah Bar & Lounge – In recent time, the Hookah bars cum Cigar Lounges industry has made a strong comeback in the United States over the last five years as a large increase in tobacco consumption has boosted the demand for tobacco related products.

No doubt, as the economy continues to grow and improve over the next five years, more consumers will likely indulge in premium cigars and tobaccos at high-end hookah bars or cigar lounges, helping the industry sustain its growth and widen profit margins.

11. Gourmet Popcorn Business – Popcorn is a favorite snack for most people in the United States of America and is sold almost everywhere in the country.  It is sold in parks, malls, restaurants, amongst many other places.  If this business is properly planned, managed and marketed, it can go on to be a long lasting business with plenty of profits.

12. Funnel Cake Making Business – Funnel cakes are becoming very popular these days and people find them quite delicious. Starting this business is not as easy as it sounds, as it will take a lot of careful research and deliberation to succeed in the business. You can choose to start up a retail location or focus solely on custom orders.

You can also choose to start a mobile funnel cake business and choose whether to sell in schools or the business districts of your city. You can start small and once you must have established a name in the industry, you can share your secrets with other aspiring bakers, opening additional locations in your area, or on a national scale.

13. Liquor Store Business – The Liquor, Beer and Wine industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much thriving in all the parts of the world. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 41,285 licensed liquor stores responsible for employing about 170,399 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $48bn annually.

14. Cupcake Shop Business – Cupcake is a niche market in the baking and culinary industry and statistics has it that there are 400 registered cupcake outlets in the United States of America and 770,000,000 cupcakes are consumed in the U.S. in 2012 alone. Crumbs Bake Shop® is the highest selling cupcake shop in the United States with estimated net sales of $8.9m and a gross profit of $5.1m in 2011.

15. Personal Chef Business– When we talk about the personal chef line of business, we are talking about a business that involves a chef who provides professional services. Basically, a personal chef is a male or a female who is hired by different households for the purpose of preparing meals in the clients’ home kitchens, based on their nutrition and feeding needs and preferences.

16. Candy Buffet Business – A candy store is a retail outlet where different candies, chocolates, chewing gums, sweeties, and toffees et al are sold. Basically, candy stores ensure that they target locations where they can easily attract children because children are the major consumers of products from candy stores.

17. Frozen Yogurt Business – It is on record that many players in the Frozen Yogurt Stores industry were able to successfully beat the economic downturn and grow strongly over the last five years, as tart frozen yogurt became one of America’s favorite frozen desserts. The tart variety of yogurt, which to some extent has sour taste similar to that of traditional Greek-style yogurts, has been popular since Pinkberry introduced the flavor into the market in 2005.

18. Shave Ice Business – Shave ice or Hawaiian shave ice as it is popularly called is an ice-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. Even though the product looks like a snow cone, but snow cones are made with crushed ice as against shaved ice. Despite the fact that it is made with shaved ice, it is called “shave ice”, not “shaved ice”.

More Profitable Food Business ideas

19. Water Refill Station Business – The Water Supply and Irrigation Systems industry that water refill station is a part of is a thriving sector of the economy of the United States of America and they generate a whooping sum of well over $73 billion annually from more than 48,738 registered and licensed water supply and irrigation systems companies scattered all around the United States of America.

20. Wine Distribution Business – The wine distribution business is one that is an all seasonal business and is also one that is recession proof. This business is one that is very lucrative because it doesn’t require employing too many hands. Another plus to starting this kind of business is that you get to know all the vintners in the area where you will be operating from.

21. Frozen Food Business – Sincerely, if you are interested in the food industry, the frozen food sector is a good one to give consideration especially if you live in a city. Indeed there are many things you can market in this industry such as fruits, vegetables, meat, chicken, turkey, fish, candy etc. If you plan to start this business, you need to conduct a market research to understand what the people in your locality need.

22. Food Kiosk Business – Opening a food kiosk business may sound easy but the truth is that if you are looking to start this type of business and you do not want to get frustrated, then you have do everything within your might to make it stand the test of time. Quite a lot needs to be done to see that your food kiosk business does take flight within the period that you projected. The question therefore is; what is the top priority on the list that must be tackled urgently?

23. Dessert Catering Business – Dessert catering business is part of the caterers industry and this industry comprises of companies that provide event-based food services. Caterers generally have equipment and vehicles to transport meals and snacks to events or prepare food off-site.

24. Food Cart Business – The Food Carts industry is in the increasing phase of its life cycle. Nonetheless, growth has increased slightly over the past few years and revenue is still growing at a much faster rate than the larger food-service sector. In the past food carts have progressed better than their food-service counterparts, primarily due to the budget-friendly features of their products and the expanding style of consumers seeking new food concepts.

25. Hot Dog Cart Business – The Hot Dog cart industry has skilled people and can be said to have continued to evolve as the years go by. Over half a decade ago, up until now, remarkable changes have continued to happen in the industry, as consumers have increasingly paid premiums to get the best hot dogs.

26. Ice Cream Truck Business Plan – Players in the Ice Cream Production / ice cream truck industry predominantly produce ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbet et al, and sell these products to downstream markets such as retailers and food service related businesses.

27. Snow Cone Business Plan – The snow cone business has existed for a long while and it has continued to bring in good money to its operators. If you shouldn’t go into the snow cone business for anything, then perhaps you should because it is one way to satisfy the appetites of people. This isn’t an expensive business to start. In fact it is one of the best businesses you could ever start.

28. Online Food Delivery Business – If you are interested in starting a business in the food cum restaurant industry, then one of the ways you can enter the industry is to create your niche or choose a niche that you can effectively maximize. Starting food delivery services to homes and offices (corporate organizations might just be the door into starting something thriving and profitable.

29. Mobile Juice Truck Business – In recent time, loads of people are becoming aware of the need to cut down on carbonated drinks and drink more of juice because of its enormous health benefits and this is why mobile juice trucks can be found in different locations all around major cities in the United States. It is obvious that the mobile juice truck business is one cool business that an aspiring entrepreneur can settle for.

30. Bubble Tea Shop Business – Even though America is regarded as a coffee society, bubble teas are fighting to ensure that they grab the attention of the American and make them switch to drinking bubble teas.

According to a data report collated by Foursquare, the bubble tea business has increased in popularity as more people were visiting bubble tea stores in 2015 to get or drink bubble teas or to buy the ingredients that would enable them make their own bubble teas at home.

31. Drive Through Coffee Kiosk Business – If you intend opening a drive through coffee kiosk business, then you must make out time to learn the art of preparing coffee alongside other soft skills – business skills such as customer service, accounting and bargaining skills amongst others.

32. Bar & Grill Business – For those that run bars and night clubs, their major sources of revenue generation are the sale of assorted beers, distilled spirits, liquor, martinis, wine, food and non – alcoholic beverages. Beer which is the major selling point for bars accounting for 37% of the revenue generated by bars in the United States is manufactured by more than 3,000 breweries (both conventional and microbrewery).

More Business ideas & Opportunities in the Food Industry

a. Fruit & Vegetable Business ideas – Over the five years to 2018, industry revenue has grown at an annualized rate of 3.2% to $5.1 billion, with an expected increase of 0.9% in 2018 alone. With modern advancement in all areas of business including the fruits and vegetables industry, you will note that buying and selling of fruits and vegetables is no longer the only business you can start in the industry.

b. Healthy Food Business ideas – Starting a healthy food related business is just the way to go because people are beginning to appreciate healthy food and healthy eating most especially in the United States of America. If you are interested in a starting a healthy food business, here are some best healthy food business ideas you can choose from

c. Ice Cream Business ideas – Over 1.6 billion gallons of ice cream are produced in the United States per year. Revenue in the Ice Cream segment amounts to US$10,058m in 2018.

The profit potential in the ice cream business is outstanding, and it’s not uncommon for an established ice cream stand to generate profits in excess of $50,000 in a three or four month season. While selling ice cream is one of the most popular ice cream businesses around, but that does not mean that it is the only business in the sector.

d. Cooking Business ideas – If you have a flair for cooking to the extent that people always commend your culinary skills whenever they taste your meals; and if you find uncommon joy in making meals, then maybe it is time to make money off that skill.

Granted, there is a whole lot of capital requirements involved in setting up a restaurant or food business, and this is what has been holding a lot of people back. It is for this reason that some chefs started considering cooking out of their home kitchens.

e. Food Delivery Business ideas – Making food and selling the food from a retail location is not just enough these days because customers’ needs and demands have continued to grow. The consumers in metro and even suburban cities now expect a ready-to-eat food at their doorsteps.

In addition, the internet reachability is increasing and more people are now using smartphones to get food to their location. This on its own creates enormous opportunities for food entrepreneurs. Irrespective of the size of investment you have, you can always find a food delivery related business that is right for you. There are different food delivery businesses you can start on your own and reap a lot of profit.

f. Street Food Business ideas – When we talk about street food, we are talking about the easy to prepare food that you can readily purchase and eat right there on the street. As a matter of fact, there is hardly any area such as carnival sites, construction sites, sporting event centers, camp grounds, parks, beach, campuses, office complexes, military bases, industrial parks, farmer’s markets, cinemas, religious centers et al, where you won’t find one or more businesses that prepare and sell street food.

The fact that there are available customers makes the business quite popular not just in the United States of America, but all across the globe. Little wonder food trucks, and other portable food kiosks and food carts are on the front line of the street food industry and they serve an estimated 2.5 billion people daily.

g. Organic Food Business ideas – The organic food industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of US agriculture. Consumer demand for organic food has continued to grow at a steady pace of 20% or more annually since the 1990s. About 73% of conventional grocery stores and 100% of natural food stores carry organic products, accounting for approximately 2.5% of total food sales in the United States.

It has been discovered that of recent, the demand for organic produce is increasing faster than supply, resulting in expanding trade gaps between imports and exports. The organic food production sector is getting increasingly popular and profitable.

h. Frozen Food Business ideas – Frozen foods business is one of the most lucrative branches of food business because a lot of people are too busy with work that they find it difficult to spend a lot of time cooking or searching for fresh ingredients to cook with.

Most people would rather walk into the nearest supermarket, grab some pieces of frozen chicken and cook their meals other than going through the stressful and time consuming process of preparing fresh chicken.