Do you want to start a jelly jam making business? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to start a jelly jam production business with no money and no experience plus a sample jelly jam making business plan template. 

A jam and jelly production company is not one of those businesses that can be started without making proper research into the industry. This is because setting up this kind of company can be capital intensive, but it is indeed a money-spinning business if you are able to create a robust distribution network.

If you are considering going into jam and jelly production, part of what you need to do is to get permits as it relates to the location and facility you intended using. The truth is that you can start your jam and jelly production business in a small town in the United States and if you put the proper structures in place, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes national recognized and your products sold all across major cities in the United States of America.

20 Steps to Starting a Jam Jelly Making Business in USA

1. Understand the Industry

Jam and Jelly production business is part of the global fruit and vegetable processing industry and the industry is made up of companies that are engaged in the processing and packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables into cans, bottles, frozen, dried (except sun-dried) or otherwise processed or preserved for human consumption.

Players in this industry also blend salt, sugar, preservatives and other ingredients with fruits and vegetables to make consumer food products.

A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that the Global Fruit and Vegetables Processing industry has experienced consistent demand over the five years to 2017, as economies of every size continue to consume processed fruit and vegetable products and consumer spending increases.

Demand has grown particularly fast in developing economies, as industrial growth has translated into greater urbanization, higher per capita income and expansion in the size of the middle class. As the global middle class has grown, it has demanded larger quantities of higher quality and more diverse food.

Over the five years to 2022, industry revenue is expected to expand. Industry demand is expected to increase as producers focus on nutritious ingredients and less invasive processing techniques to keep products as organic as possible.

The report further revealed that the production of processed fruits and vegetables occurs in all regions of the globe. In fact, low-tech fruit and vegetable processors such as fruit driers, exist in almost every country in the world. However, high-tech, large-scale fruit and vegetable processing operations are concentrated primarily in Europe and Asia.

These continents dominate the Global Fruit and Vegetable Processing industry due to the fact that industry operations have been established in these areas for a very long time, enabling time for the development of major companies and advanced processing technology.

Statistics has it that in the world, there are about 32,123 licensed and registered fruit and vegetable processing companies directly responsible for employing about 507,446 employees. The industry rakes in a whooping sum of $290 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at -0.1 percent.

It is important to state that The Kraft Heinz Company, Campbell Soup Company and General Mills Inc. are the establishments with the lion share of the available market in this industry.

Some of the factors and incentives that encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to venture into starting a jam and jelly production company is the fact that the market is growing rapidly in the united states and it is not seasonal. That makes it easier for entrepreneur who are interested in the business to come into the industry at any time they desire.

The barriers to entry in the Global Fruit and Vegetable Processing industry are moderate and depend on the scale of production the entrant is pursuing. The scale of production determines the level of capital, technology and labor required to begin production. If a new entrant aims to compete with mid- to large-sized producers, they need to secure enough capital to invest heavily in facilities, machinery and equipment.

One of the leading challenges new entrants experience is the well-entrenched position of the industry’s larger players, especially The Kraft Heinz Company, Campbell Soup Company and General Mills Inc., which are expected to capture 10.8 percent and 10.3 percent of the market, respectively.

One thing is certain about starting your jam and jelly production business, if you are able to conduct your market research and feasibility studies, you are likely not going to struggle to sell your products because there are loads of consumers all across the United States who are ready to buy from you.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those who consume jam and jelly cut across households and all players in the food preparation and retailing industry such as hotels, restaurants, bakers, caterers, snacks manufacturers et al. So, it will be safe to say that the demographic composition of a jam and jelly production company is all encompassing.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

Jam and jelly production is a niche area in the Global Fruit and Vegetable Processing industry, but we are not ruling out the fact that it is the practice for jam and jelly production companies to engage in the production of other related products for the purpose of maximizing profits.

Jelly is a clear fruit spread made with sweetened fruit juice whereas jam has both fruit juice and fruit pieces in the spread. Jam and jelly production companies also produce some or all of the under listed;

  • Jams and jellies
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Ketchup and other tomato-based sauces
  • Soup, stews and bouillon
  • Dried and dehydrated fruits and vegetables (used as fruit flavors)
  • Pickled products
The Level of Competition in the Industry

There is hardly any industry anywhere in the world where there is no competition, as a matter of fact, it is competition that brings creativity and innovation into the business world.

This goes to show that if you are looking towards starting a jam and jelly production company, then you should brace – up for competition in the industry. The truth is that you are expected to compete with other players in the Global Fruit and Vegetable Processing industry. This is why most companies are leveraging on producing jams and jellies with organic ingredients.

But it should be noted that the increasing competition in the Global Fruit and Vegetable Processing industry is not hampering the performance of new entrants as most of them know how to recreate and re – strategize to reach out or attract more customers even if it is just those in their immediate community.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

It is the norm that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by the customers and general public. Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years and of course the quality of their products when compared with others.

These are some of the leading jam and jelly production companies in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • The Kraft Heinz Company
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • General Mills Inc.
  • McCormick & Company Inc.
  • J. Heinz Company
  • Unilever Group
  • Crosse & Blackwell Food Production Company
  • Gold Pure Food Products Co.
  • Hirzel Canning Company & Farms
  • Shan Food Industries
  • Three Threes Condiments
  • Wei-Chuan Food Corporation
  • The Bega Co-operative Society Limited
  • ConAgra Foods, Inc.
  • Cackalacky Classic Condiment
  • BandG Foods
  • Baxter and Sons
  • Bonne Maman
  • Centura Foods
  • Duerr and Sons
  • Welch
  • Ferrero Group
  • Wellness Foods
  • Hershey Company
  • M. Smucker
  • Wilkin and Sons
  • Murphy Orchards
  • Nestle Ltd
  • National Grape Co
  • Unilever Group
  • Premier Foods
Economic Analysis

Starting a jam and jelly production company is not difficult, but at the same time, the business requires thorough economic and cost analysis – feasibility studies and market survey et al if you are looking towards making profits in the industry.

Part of what you need to focus on in this line of business is how to build a standard fruit and vegetable processing plant, a robust distribution network, branding, how to maintain your machinery and equipment, and to take care of your overhead before your business breaks even.

Other cost that should be considered during planning and budgeting are supply of Pectin rich fruits, packaging materials and maintenance costs et al. Lastly, in other to play safe with your investment, it is important that you hire the services of experts to help you carry out thorough economic and cost analysis before committing your resourcing to this business.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

There are loads of factors that should be considered before choosing the option to follow when starting a jam and jelly production company. Some of the factors to consider are the cost of starting from the scratch or buying a franchise, your financial capacity, your vision, and your business skills and experience.

If your intention of starting a jam and jelly production business is to grow beyond one city, then starting from the scratch is your best option. But if you just want to start with the aim of just making profits and you don’t have the required finance and experience to build a business from the scratch, then it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful brand in the industry if you are lucky to come by one.

Please note that most of the successful jam and jelly production companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

If you decide to go into jam and jelly production, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established brands in the industry both in the United States of America and from other parts of the world.

The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market (distribution network) by concentrating on grocery stores and households in your immediate community. So also, unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your jam and jelly production company. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

Generally, you have the option of choosing a general partnership, limited liability company, or even a sole proprietorship for your jam and jelly production business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale jam and jelly production business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital and in a small neighborhood.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have distribution networks spread across the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes. If you take your time to study the various legal entities to use for your jam and jelly production business, you will agree that limited liability company is most suitable.

You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.

When you upgrade to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation, it will give you the opportunity to grow your business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

When it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own jam and jelly production business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Larry Watkins® Strawberry Jam Production Company
  • Queens Taste® Jam and Jelly Production company, LLC
  • Nina Trent® Jam and Jelly Production Company, Inc.
  • Knox Julia® Jam and Jelly Production Company, Inc.
  • McKeon Brand® Jam and Jelly Production Company, Inc.
  • Lara Brown™ Jam and Jelly Production Company, Inc.
  • Perfect Spread© Jam and Jelly Production Company, Inc.
  • Meg™ Jam and Jelly Production Company, LLC
  • Janet McKesson© Jam and Jelly Production Company, Inc.
  • Belinda Pickford© Jam and Jelly production company, Inc.

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your jam and jelly production company.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing for your company in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health/Medical insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Building Insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

If you are considering starting your own jam and jelly production company, you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

But if you just want to protect your company’s recipe, logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

When it comes to starting and operating a jam and jelly production business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to start. All you need is just to study courses such as food science technology, business administration or any related courses at degree or diploma level.

On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your jam and jelly production business, then by all means try and pursue such certification.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching any business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.

If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own jam and jelly production business in the United States of America;

  • Business and liability insurance
  • Tax Payer’s ID
  • Fire certificate
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Employee’s Handbook
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document (basically for online payment portal)
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Building License
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

It is often said that money is the blood of any business. Raising startup capital is perhaps one of the major concerns for entrepreneurs; it can be challenging raising capital to launch a business idea. Your idea must be workable and promising for you to secure finance from financial institutions or from angel investors.

The first thing to put in place before sourcing for startup capital for your jam and jelly production business is to draft a detailed business plan. With a good business plan, you can easily convince investors to invest in your business. The truth is that no bank can give you a loan if you don’t have a good and workable business plan.

Besides, investors will not take you seriously if you don’t have a business plan on ground. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your jam and jelly production company;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for Loan from your Bank
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

When it comes to choosing a location for your jam and jelly production company, there are key questions you should answer and key factors that must be considered. You are expected to choose a location that is easily accessible especially for distribution and supply of fruits and packaging materials et al.

Affordability, availability of labor and safety are also some of the factors that you should consider. Despite the fact that jam and jellies are used by households and commercial concerns, it is important to choose a location that will give your economy of scales; a location that will give leverage to favorably compete in the industry.

It is important to note that a business facility in good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget. You should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city and perhaps country you intend starting your jam and jelly production company if you don’t know how to go about it.

Before choosing a location for your jam and jelly production company, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

If you are considering starting a jam and jelly production company, then you should make plans to build a standard fruit and vegetable processing plant. A standard fruit and vegetable processing plant includes cookers, juice extractors, fruits and vegetable meshing machines, vessels, stirrers, tanks, packing machines, labeling machines, conveyor belt system and mini food testing lab et al.

So, you are expected to put all these equipment and machine in place and also purchase standard distribution trucks. Although you can get fairly used of the above listed equipment and machines, but it is advisable to go for new and latest machines and equipment that can serve you for a long time  especially if you have the finances to make the purchase.

Even if you don’t have the required amount, you can enter an agreement with the suppliers of such machines and equipment and spread the payment over a period of time. As regard acquiring a facility, if you have the required finance, it is to your advantage to acquire or lease a property; it usually gives you the freedom to design the facility the way you want to it to be. But if you are low on cash, then you may have to rent a facility.

When it comes to creating a workforce structure for a standard jam and jelly production company, then you should look towards getting qualified and competent people to fill the following roles; Chief Executive Officer (Owner), Plant Manager, Quality Control Officer, Human Resources and Admin Manage, Merchandize Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager, Accountant, Production Workers / Machine Operators, Distribution Truck drivers, and Cleaners.

You will need a minimum of 15 – 20 staff members to successfully run a small scale but standard jam and jelly production company.

The Services Delivery Process of the Business

Jams and jellies are spreads typically made from fruit, sugar, and pectin. Jelly is made with the juice of the fruit; jam uses the meat of the fruit as well. In order to arrive at a perfect mix, the ingredients must be added in carefully measured amounts.

Ideally, they should be combined in the following manner: 1 percent pectin, 65 percent sugar, and an acid concentration of pH 3.1. Excess of pectin will make the spread too hard and excess sugar will make it too sticky. Basically, producing jellies and jams follow the following process;

  • Inspection

When the fruit arrives at the plant, it is inspected for quality, using color, ripeness, and taste as guides. Fruits that pass inspection are loaded into a funnel-shaped hopper that carries the fruit into pipes for cleaning and crushing.

  • Cleaning, crushing, and chopping

As the fruit travels through the pipes, a gentle water spray clears away surface dirt. Depending on whether the finished product is to be jam or jelly, paddles push the fruit and or just its juice through small holes, leaving stems and any other excess debris behind. Some fruits, such as citrus and apples may be manually peeled, cored, sliced and diced. Cherries may be soaked and then pitted before being crushed.

  • Pasteurizing the fruit

The fruit and/or juice continues through another set of pipes to cooking vats. Here, it is heated to just below the boiling point (212° F [100° C]) and then immediately chilled to just below freezing (32° F [0° C]). This process, pasteurization, prevents spoilage.

For jelly, the pulp is forced through another set of small openings that holds back seeds and skin. It will often then be passed through a dejuicer or filter. The juice or fruit is transferred to large refrigerated tanks and then pumped to cooking kettles as needed.

  • Cooking the jam and jelly

Premeasured amounts of fruit and/or juice, sugar, and pectin are blended in industrial cooking kettles. The mixtures are usually cooked and cooled three times. If additional flavorings are to be included, they are added at this point. When the mixture reaches the predetermined thickness and sweetness, it is pumped to filling machines.

  • Filling the jars

Presterilized jars move along a conveyer belt as spouts positioned above pour premeasured amounts of jam or jelly into them. Then it is vacuum-packed in jars and labeled. Metal caps are then vacuumed sealed on top. The process of filling the jars and vacuum packing them forces all of the air out of the jars further insuring the sterility of the product.

  • Labeling and packaging

The sealed jars are conveyed to a machine that affix preprinted labels. According to law, these labels must list truthful and specific information about the contents. The jars are then packed into cartons for shipment. Depending on the size of the producer’s operation, labeling and packaging is either achieved mechanically or manually.

  • Quality Control

In the United States, food processing regulations require that jams and jellies are made with 45 parts fruit or juice to 55 parts sugar. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that all heat-processed canned foods must be free of live microorganisms. Therefore, processing plants keep detailed lists of cooking times and temperatures, which are checked periodically by the FDA.

Requirements also exist for the cleanliness of the workplace and workers. Producers install numerous quality control checks at all points in the preparation process, testing for taste, color and consistency. It is important to state that a jam and jelly production company may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

Running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a jam and jelly production company, then you must employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for this business.

Your marketing strategy should center on quality, good packaging and pricing, and above all excellent customer service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.

Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet and which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services or products. These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your jam and jelly production company;

  • Introduce your jam and jelly production company and your products by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households and all players in the food preparation business such as hotels, restaurants, bakers, caterers, and snacks manufacturers et al.
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across,
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products.
  • Join local jam and jelly production company associations for industry trends and tips
  • Advertise your business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One key factor that will help you sell your jams and jellies at rock bottom prices is to purchase your raw materials directly from fruits and vegetable farmers and wholesalers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items you purchase directly from wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Another strategy that will help you retail your jams and jellies at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost of paying sales and marketing executives.

18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

The availability of different sizes and flavors of jams and jellies under your production, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.

Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to build a robust distribution network and clientele base. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and your jams and jellies can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative products.

If you can continue to make available different sizes and flavors of jams and jellies, and your customer service delivery is top notch, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal customers. So also, as a newbie, in order to attract more sales, ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and also attract new customers.

Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.

With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, keep track of their progress, send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.

If your intention of starting a jam and jelly production company is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is a dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your jam and jelly production company;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and food magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your jam and jelly production company – brand
  • Install your Billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • List your jam and jelly production company in local directories/yellow pages
  • Advertise your jam and jelly production company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the community
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo et al.