Best Products for a Food-based Side Hustle

Spring means new beginnings, making this the perfect time to start that food side hustle you’ve been dreaming about. Whether it’s baked goods, dry goods, canned goods, or even dog biscuits, a food-based side hustle is a great way to make money from doing something you already love.

But which products will you offer for sale? Should you offer lots of different varieties? Or stick to just one product? Luckily, there is an easy way to make this decision. The following advice is an updated excerpt from Profitable Preserves; How to Start an Artisan Jam and Jelly Business. The information applies equally to all food-based side hustles (and even craft-based side hustles!), not just jams and jellies.

It’s easy to excitedly over-commit when starting any kind of food business. Maybe you make several baked goods, jams and jellies, pickles, meat jerky, and dried soup mixes for your family each year. Each one of these items is fun to create and tastes delicious. Obviously, your future customers would love each and every variety!

But keeping track of the numerous ingredients needed for such a large offering will be time consuming, especially if you are starting this business by yourself. Before you know it, your facility will be full of cooking ingredients and labels, and you have run out of time to prepare any product.

Ingredients needed for creating 10 cases of peach jam for example, will cost less than ingredients needed for creating two cases each of peach, plum, cherry, pear, and apricot jam. The cost of each individual ingredient usually decreases per pound when buying in bulk. For example, one pound of peaches may cost $1.99 per pound, but 20 pounds purchased at once may only cost $20.

It’s best to start with fewer product selections, until you have established a market for your products and perfected the cooking process. In addition, depending upon your individual State, each recipe may need a licensing agency approval. Paying to have two or three recipes approved is less expensive than paying to have 32 different recipes approved!

On the other hand, maybe you make a killer peach butter and nothing else. Is just one type of soft spread enough for a viable business? It might be, but making food products as a business is different from making food products for your family. You should provide enough variety to keep your customers interested, but not so many different products that you exhaust yourself, or your budget, trying to keep all varieties in stock.

A good rule of thumb is to start your business by offering three different products.

  • It could be three varieties of one product; like strawberry jam, peach jam, and tomato jam, or peach pie, raspberry pie, and pecan pie, or minestrone soup mix, lentil soup mix, and split pea soup mix.
  • Or it could be three different items with one theme like; apricot jam, apricot syrup, and apricot conserve, or lemon cake, lemon bars, and lemonade mix, or basil seasoning mix, basil dip mix, and dried basil.

Using three varieties of one product is a great way to start your side hustle if you enjoy making a certain type of item, like jam or pies, or herb mixes.

Basing your product selection on a theme is a great way to start your side hustle if you want to showcase a local specialty; for example if you live in an apple growing area, or a specialty wheat growing area, or an area known for growing strawberries.


©Profitable Preserves, 2020, Renee Pottle

More Information for Starting a Food-Based Side Hustle

Profitable Preserves, How to Start an Artisan Jam and Jelly Business

Home-based Food Entrepreneur Virtual National Conference Taped Sessions

Start Your Farmstead Bakery

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at Find her professional food writing info at

March 3, 2022

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