How to Turn a Family Recipe into a Full-Time Business

You'd be surprised at how many multi-million businesses started with secret or family recipes. Chef Boyardee turned his secret pasta sauce into a multibillion-dollar global conglomerate. And how can we talk about secret recipes without speaking about KFC's 11 secret herbs and spices?


If you have a recipe that was passed down to you or developed one on your own and you get nothing but compliments for it, you might be onto something. All you have to know is what it takes to turn it into a brand and execute. Let's take a look at how you can turn your secret recipe into a full-time business.

Consider the Costs

You should know that not all recipes will cost the same to produce. If it’s something that has to be prepared and frozen, then you will have to spend a lot more than if you are selling cake mixes. So, you first have to look at how elaborate the process will be and if it’s something that can be done realistically with your budget.

Look for a Co-Packer or Commercial Kitchen

There are ways that you can start a food business from home, but if you want to build a real business and scale, then you will either need to work with a co-packer or someone who will prepare and package your product. This will allow you to get your product to market without having to invest in expensive equipment. It will also take away some of the headaches of complying with FDA regulations, as long as you work with a reputable service.

Perfect Your Packaging

Packaging is one of the most important things for any type of food product for many reasons. It will be important if you want the product to get to its destination in one piece. It can also increase the product’s longevity, and make the product stand out. If you are looking for options, one of the most popular and safest for food products right now is flexible packaging.

Why flexible packaging makes for safer food storage? Well, for one, these packs are very durable and are completely hermetic. They also protect the food from the elements, especially light and moisture. Less light, air, and moisture means that the product can last longer without risk of contamination.

Protect Your Idea

When they say that KFC and Coca Cola have some of their trade secrets closed off in a vault, these aren’t jokes or urban legends. Companies will go above and beyond to protect what makes them special and so should you.

This is where you’ll need to speak with a lawyer about non-disclosure agreements. Note that you won’t be able to protect your recipes through those, only the processes that you use. This is why you will need to take other steps to ensure that no one knows the full recipe. Some will go as far as having one manufacturer handling one part of the process, and another one finishing it. While this might seem extreme, it might be worth it if you think you’re sitting on something big.


As you can see, turning a recipe into a business demands a lot of preparation. You also need to get familiar with the rules and regulations surrounding the industry while taking a look at the full landscape to see who you're up against.

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