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How to Start a Food Business in Canada

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Presentation on theme: "How to Start a Food Business in Canada"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Start a Food Business in Canada
First things First

2 Start a Food Business is committed to helping small food businesses start legitimate food businesses following the laws, rules and regulations set by governing authorities. We can’t tell you how many small local food businesses are out there selling their baked goods, candy, chocolates, jams, jellies and other specialty food products. The unfortunate fact is that many of these small business owners are operating illegally and if you want to start a legal business you need to know the hard facts about processing food properly and following every letter of the law. We are aware that a number of non-profit agencies, schools and organizations host bake sales, however by doing so it does not give the individual home owner permission to also sell homemade goods to the public, it is illegal.

3 Starting a Legitimate Food Business
You need to learn if you can legally operate a food business from your home kitchen. Let’s start by examining the requirements for Toronto, Canada. When it comes to kitchen facilities, some food prep businesses can be operate from a person’s home, but only if it is a kitchen that is completely separate from the kitchen where the family’s meals are prepared. Local zoning laws may also apply in some cases, and not allow food preparation based on leasing/rental/condo agreements. The kitchen needs to meet local guidelines regarding food storage facilities, entrances, appropriate sinks for hand washing and dishwashing as well as the specific use of flooring materials, kitchen counters, etc. These spaces must also be registered with the city to allow compliance/health officials to regularly inspect the premises.

4 What’s Wrong with the Family Kitchen?
Why are food inspection officials so concerned about food prepared in a family kitchen? Home kitchens have pets and people who are not part of the business straggling in and out; and no one wants to find pet hair in their buttercream frosting or paper sprinkles from your child’s art project in their chocolate chip cookie. One Alternative Locate a kitchen incubator or shared used kitchen. These are kitchens specifically set up for food entrepreneurs who want to take their products from kitchen to market.

5 Where are Kitchen Incubators?
There are not a lot of kitchen incubators that offer industrial kitchen space for preparing food products; however you may also rent a licensed commercial kitchen. Some commercial kitchen owners are not open to renting their kitchen when it is not in use, but it never hurts to ask. Here are two popular kitchen incubators in the Toronto area: Foodshare’s Toronto Kitchen Incubator (Program currently on-hold) Toronto Food Business Incubator (includes a virtual program)

6 Permission to Handle Food
The City of Toronto requires all food preparation businesses to have at least one person on site who has completed the Food Handler’s Certification course. The course is a one-day safety and sanitation course and written exam that must to attended by everyone, even the smallest one man/woman business operation preparing and selling food. You will need to do the following: Obtain the certificate? Become a certified food handler Training Manual Download and Read the Training Manual Food Premises Inspection and Disclosure System Mandatory certification of Food Handlers Fees for Food Handler Training and Certification

7 Insurance Insurance is a necessity and no business owner should operate without it. In fact many wholesale and retail vendors may not sell your products or do business with you if you cannot prove you are adequately insured. Businesses based out of a home should check with their insurance agents and if they will not provide product insurance; securing an outside vendor to provide liability insurance for your food business. Adding an insurance policy that is business-specific, addressing your food prep workspace (or even illegally cooking for profit from a family kitchen) may void any homeowner’s insurance policies, so make sure all insurance agents involved know exactly what you are doing. Some insurance policies may even become void simply by having business materials in a private home, just remember liability insurance for a food processing business is basic common sense and you never want to operate without it.

8 Need Help There are a couple places you can go for assistance in developing your bakery business. Enterprise Toronto, a public and private sector alliance designed to provide one-stop services and programs tailored to the needs of Toronto's Entrepreneurs and small businesses. Canada Business – Services for Entrepreneurs, provides an answer to your business questions.

9 Look Before Your Leap A lot of planning and research should go into starting any business and this is also true with a food business. It matters not if you are going to sell, cupcakes, cookies, bread, pastries, or a dynamic dry Cajun rub, learn before you earn. It will save you time and money, both of which are difficult to come by these days.

10 What Next? As a member of you will find a considerable amount of information that will get your creative juices flowing and help walk you through developing your business plan. Visit the Knowledge Base and check out the posts, tools and resources. Take time to listen to the Podcast and learn how other food entrepreneurs are developing their food businesses Review the Training Burst and learn more about developing your business. Stop by for a Chat if you have any questions and remember no question or concern is too small.

11 Get Started There is no set time for taking your food business idea from kitchen to market. Some food entrepreneurs are up and operating in 3 months, others in 1 year. The goal should be to take time and put effort into developing your business plan, testing recipes and selecting a target market. Take your time and ask for help when you need it!

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