Thinking of starting a food business in India? Get 10 food business ideas that range from low-cost to big-budget in this small food business ideas list.
Even in a crisis, the food business is thriving and growing. After all, food is one thing we cannot do without, no matter what else we have to sacrifice.
Food business ideas are multiplying in the lockdown and foodies are loving it! So, if you’ve been planning on starting a food business in India, there’s no time like the present.
Some food business ideas, such as running a restaurant or pastry shop, are capital-intensive and require a food business license in India.
Others, however, like writing a food blog or publishing recipe books, require little or no investment to get started.
10 Food Business Ideas In India
This small food business ideas list has 10 food business ideas that range from cheap to capital-intensive. Choose the one that’s right for you based on your desire and ambition.
1. Start an Indian food blog
Food blogs are one of the most popular blogging niches and recipe blogs are even more popular. It’s not hard to start a food blog nor does it require a lot of investment.
It’s learning how to start a profitable blog that’s the key to the success of your food blogging business. Many food bloggers are under the illusion that learning how to start a food Instagram channel or YouTube recipe channel is enough.
But the truth is that neither of these properties belongs to you and they can be deleted or erased (as many bloggers have experienced to their dismay) anytime because of violations of the channel’s terms and conditions or even database errors.
If you want to learn how to monetize a food blog, it’s highly recommended that you buy your own domain and hosting and start a WordPress food blog.
Design an attractive food blog logo and use it in your branding. Treat your blog like a business, not a hobby, instead of trying to start a food blog free.
Because there are so many food blogs out there, it’s important to pick a niche and specialize in it if you want to stand out and attract the right advertisers when you’re trying to figure out how to make money with a food blog.
You can start by narrowing your niche to create an Indian food blog, or niche down even further to a start a Gujarati food blog, Rajasthani food blog, vegan food blog, or Mumbai street food blog, based on your interests.
You could also start a baking recipes blog if there’s not too much competition for baking blogs in India. Check out the top baking blogs and see how they’re doing it.
If you love to travel and try out different cuisines, the travel food blog niche is very lucrative as it can attract advertisers who sponsor you on foreign press trips.
If you love cooking, you can learn how to start a recipe blog, how to start a cooking blog, or how to start a baking blog by doing some blogging courses that will teach you how to start a food blog and get paid for it.
Pinterest and Facebook are both important channels for promoting a food blog, so make sure you learn how to leverage these two networks.
Once you learn how to write a food blog, you can also compile your recipes into recipe books and get them published. There are many food bloggers who have become bestselling recipe book authors and writing a food blog is one way to get there.
2. Teach baking courses online
Online education is booming and experts of all kinds are creating online courses to teach what they know. If your family and friends have always loved your cakes and pastries, you can teach baking courses online from the comfort of your home.
As this is also a pretty competitive niche, you may want to specialize in a sub-niche of baking lessons online, such as easy baking recipes, vegan baking recipes, baking biscuits in a microwave, baking recipes for kids, baking eggless cakes, baking cookies, baking brownies or even mug baking recipes (baking in a mug).
You can start a YouTube recipe channel and a baking blog to promote your courses or classes for baking online in India. Once you have a large enough audience, you could even become an author and publish your best baking recipes in book form.
3. Start a home tiffin business
For many Indian homemakers who have the magic touch with food, starting a home tiffin business is one of the easiest, low-cost home-based food business ideas. All you need are a few regular customers who love your food to make a decent income from home.
You can promote your home tiffin business in your housing society, on local Facebook groups and through word of mouth in your locality. Your most likely customers will be single men or women who live alone and don’t have the time, skills, or inclination to cook their own food.
This micro-enterprise doesn’t require any formal business setup or government licenses, which is why it’s so popular among Indian moms, and as long as you ensure that your food is delicious, hygienically-packed, and safe to eat, you won’t have any customer complaints.
4. Start a health food business
The interest in health food in India is growing as many Indians choose health over tradition. According to IEBF, the Indian gourmet food market is currently valued at US$ 1.3 billion and is growing fast.
India’s organic food market is expected to increase by three times by 2020, so this is the perfect time to launch an organic food business as it could become very profitable.
In the health food business also there are niches you can choose if you want to create a brand for yourself and attract the right customers, such as the keto diet food business.
If you have the resources to invest money in your startup or are willing to apply for business loans for small business, you could even figure out how to start a health food store.
5. Start a pastry shop or baking business
If you’re interested in starting a pastry shop or baking business you need to have the money to invest in a baking store, as this is a capital-intensive venture.
You’ll need money for getting a license for food business in India, as well as expensive equipment like a baking oven, money for shop rent, and an effective marketing strategy for food businesses.
You also need to know if pastry shops do well in your city. For instance, baking and pastry shops in Pune are quite profitable because they sell specialities like Shrewsbury biscuits, which are local to the city and much loved by Puneites and visitors alike.
So, a pastry shop would probably be a good food business in Pune to start, depending on your locality. While making birthday cakes is always a good fall-back strategy for pastry shops, you could also get into the online food delivery market and help your customers send cakes online to their loved ones.
You could also branch out into a field like pastry gift baskets or baking gift baskets and come up with unique baking gift basket ideas for Christmas or New Year. Or you could create attractive baking gift basket items as festive gifts or food gifts for business clients.
6. Start a food franchise business
Franchise opportunities in the food business are aplenty with the food chain business in India poised for huge growth. You can buy a franchise food business for sale from a big player, like McDonald’s or Dominos if you have the money to invest and want to get started right away.
But you can do even better if you come up with new ideas for fast food business chains as it could help you differentiate your food business and appeal to a more profitable segment of customers. Some niche ideas for fast food business include Mexican, Lebanese, healthy or vegan food.
7. Start a food delivery business
With a growing number of Indians choosing to buy food online, the online food ordering business in India is in its nascent stage, but witnessing exponential growth, according to IBEF.
Right now, the best food delivery services like FoodPanda, Zomato, TinyOwl and Swiggy are building scale through partnerships, and the organised food business has a huge potential and a promising future.
You can start an online food business in Delhi as a reseller with Otipy, a new food startup that supports farmers and delivers farm-fresh produce to homes in the Delhi-NCR region, or you can start your own local, niche or online food delivery service in your own city.
If you want to learn how to start an online food business in India, you can study examples of successful food startups and spend some time learning how to promote food delivery businesses online. Having a niche could be helpful, for instance, you could target pet lovers who buy dog food online.
Keep in mind that starting a 24-hour food delivery business is a capital-intensive venture that will most likely require some sources of business finance, like angel investors, venture capital funding, or small business loans.
8. Start a food truck business
According to this article on how to start a food truck business in India, this food business offers the advantage of mobility and gives food business owners access to multiple locations at a lower initial capital than that needed to start a stationary restaurant.
According to Business World, the average cost of starting a food truck business in India is between INR 10 to 20 lakh, depending on what type of vehicle you have and what you are selling.
The downside is that licensing for food trucks in India is highly unorganized, as there’s no association or regulatory body assigned by the government for establishing a food truck business.
As food trucks do not have a legal provision to function in India, many of them operate with a licence for food business in India that does not permit them to cook or sell on the road.
So if you’re planning to open a food truck business in Mumbai or Bengaluru, keep in mind that the lack of proper licensing could make you vulnerable to exploitation by corrupt elements.
9. Open a restaurant
Starting a restaurant business is not an easy task and opening a restaurant is not for everyone as it requires a considerable amount of investment and appetite for risk.
Besides choosing the right location, hiring the right employees, and implementing the right marketing ideas for food businesses, you also need to know how to get a license for food business in India.
In fact, getting the correct licenses is probably the most tedious part of opening a restaurant in India. This article lists the most critical restaurant licenses required to open a restaurant in India and ensure that your restaurant operates legitimately.
10. Start a food processing business
According to IBEF, the food processing industry in India accounts for about 32% of our total food market. It is a high-growth and high-profit sector due to its immense potential for value addition.
The Government of India, especially the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), has been instrumental in the growth and development of the food processing industry and is making all efforts to encourage investments in the business.
It has approved proposals for joint ventures (JV), foreign collaborations, industrial licenses, and 100 per cent export-oriented units and received billions of dollars worth of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) estimates that the food processing sectors have the potential to attract as much as US$ 33 billion of investment over the next 10 years and also generate employment of nine million person-days.
With so much potential for food processing business in India, this may be the right food business in India for you if you’re an ambitious person willing to get FDI and grow a large food business enterprise.
Opening a food business during a pandemic may not seem like the smartest business idea because few people are visiting restaurants or food trucks in person.
But, thanks to take-out food and online food delivery services, many restaurants and food delivery businesses are actually doing pretty well right now.
As long as your food is safely and hygienically prepared and adheres to all the precautions required of licensed food business, you should be able to ride out this crisis until it becomes safe for people to go out again.
Keep in mind that, whether you’re starting a food business online, food business in Mumbai, or any other city in India, it takes time, effort, determination – and sometimes business mentoring – for any business to succeed.
But it all starts with choosing one or more of these food business ideas in India that make sense for you.
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