I’ve been self-employed in food-related businesses for over fifteen years. My earliest food businesses needed to be both very low cost to startup and food businesses that I could run from home. Each year I scaled up until my family’s income came entirely from our food-related businesses.
If I were starting today, what are the best low investment food business ideas for today? The best low investment food business ideas include Recipe Developer, Food Blogger, Personal Shopper, Food Photographer, Food Experience Host, Cooking Classes, and Personal Chef.
Now let’s talk about what’s involved in starting each of these low investment food businesses from home.
What Do I Mean By Low-Investment Food Businesses?
When choosing the best low-investment Food Business Ideas, I only looked at the financial investment.
I did not consider the time investment, nor any ratio of return-on-investment.
Most of these ideas are great side-hustle food business ideas, and all can be started and run from your home or the homes of your clients.
All of these can be started with less than three hundred bucks, many of them for much less.
With that definition out of the way, let’s get to the list!
List of The Best Low-Cost Food Business Ideas
1) Recipe Developer
A recipe developer creates new recipes with step-by-step instructions. The best recipe developers also provide process photographs as well as pictures of the finished recipe.
You can sell recipes online to food bloggers and magazines. There are dedicated groups on Facebook just for selling recipes and other content to bloggers, and there are always bloggers and publishers posting jobs online seeking freelancers to provide recipes.
If you want to learn more about where to sell recipes, I wrote this article about my personal experience buying and selling recipes online.
2) Food Photographer
You can make money as a Food Photographer selling images on stock image sites for use by online and print publishers. You can make more as a food photographer by selling pics as part of recipes (see Recipe Developer) or selling directly to publishers.
I’ve made a little extra money each month for years with a small set of stock photos (including food pics) I offer for sale on a stock photo website. If you build a large portfolio of images, it can scale nicely.
It’s possible to make side-hustle income just using the camera on your smartphone. Here is an article I wrote about what a food photographer does and how they make money.
3) Teach Cooking Classes
Are you a really good cook? Maybe you have a niche that other people would like to master? Can you be personable and fun to make sure your students not only learn but have a good time?
If so, you can make money teaching cooking classes!
The easiest way to host cooking classes is in the home of one of your students. Market it as a Dinner Party / Cooking Class for up to five of your client’s friends…wine not only allowed but encouraged! That’s fun.
Or you could find a commercial kitchen to rent out to host cooking classes in. You can look for kitchens at churches, community centers, or catering commercial kitchens. If you’re paying rent on a kitchen, you are going to need a lot more students.
Finally, you can find out if your community will allow you to host cooking classes in your own residential kitchen. Many locations will not, but it’s worth checking out.
4) Food and Recipe Blog Business
We started our first food blog two years ago and it now makes us a decent chunk of money each and every month.
While you can start a food blog without much investment, it takes time to get traffic and actually start making any money with a blog. You should think of this as a long-haul food business startup.
Even though it’s a slow-burn kind of home-based food business, it’s a long-burn too. As you build your content, you build your long-term traffic and income.
Besides, if you start a side-hustle as a Recipe Developer and Food Photographer, then you can keep an original recipe and photos for your own site before selling similar recipes/photos to other bloggers. With that, you’re getting income now, and building for the future.
5) Personal Grocery Shopper
Lots of people hate grocery shopping and more of those folks are searching for Personal Grocery Shoppers every day. Why not you?
A Personal Grocery Shopper is exactly what it sounds like, someone who will do your grocery shopping for you for a fee.
This is a fast, easy, and inexpensive home-based food business to startup.
I wrote a more in-depth article if you want to learn more about starting a Personal Grocery Shopper Business.
6) Airbnb Food Experience Host
You are probably familiar with the house-sharing app, Airbnb, but you might not be aware that they also allow hosts to offer “experiences”.
You could host your own Airbnb Food Experience with very little upfront investment, and it would be a lot of fun!
Imagine taking your out of town guest on a tour of the best local restaurants in your city. Or maybe of the most iconic neighborhood bars. Or the most authentic ethnic grocery stores and restaurants in town. How cool would that be?
And this home-based food business idea has so many hidden benefits. You’ll get to know all of the coolest chefs in your city. In time you might even have chefs vying to be included on your food experience tours.
The contacts that you make in this business might lead you naturally into any number of the home-based food business ideas on my master list!
Sorry for the exclamation points, I just love this idea and if I lived in a city with more tourism I’d do this a few times a month just for fun and some extra spending cash. ~Stacey
7) Personal Chef
One of the first home-based food businesses that my wife, Angela, and I started was a Personal Chef Business.
When we started our Personal Chef Service we were broke. Dead broke.
When we started, we loaded our personal cooking supplies in totes in the backseat of our car before heading to the grocery store and then to our client’s home to do the cooking.
We could have started this business for just a few hundred dollars for totes and the first batch of groceries. We should have done that.
Instead, saved our pennies until we had nearly $2000 to take a class and get certified as a personal chef. We plastered that certification all over our marketing material, and no one cared.
In hindsight, we should have saved that two grand and instead cooked for friends of friends at deeply discounted rates to get more testimonials for our marketing material. People really care about testimonials.
I believe that starting a Personal Chef Business from home is a great way to start your culinary career. You will make money, and you will learn a ton of skills that will help you in the future.
P.S. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t seek any training to run a Personal Chef Business well, just don’t pay two grand for some certification. We’re thinking about putting together a much more affordable course to walk newbies through starting a Personal Chef Business. If that’s something you’d like to see, please comment below.
You can start your first food business from home for just a few hundred bucks.
It might start out as your side-hustle while working full time, but it can grow into a skill set that will allow you to change your life and do what you love for a living.
That’s the path that our lives have followed and if that’s your dream we know you can do the same.
P.S. If you are looking for more business ideas, check out my master list of Food Business Ideas here on this website.