Iowans are increasingly interested in buying local products. CSAs, farmers markets, food hubs, etc. are options that allow consumers to be part of the changing food system. Raw products are available in season, but the customer demand for processed foods is currently unmet. This includes everything from lightly processed food (canned or frozen goods, pre‐cut vegetables, etc.) to highly processed foods (meals, snacks, specialty foods, etc.). According to a Wallace Center study: “investing in new ventures within select supply chain segments will generate the greatest local economic benefits in terms of increased local revenues, jobs, wages, and access to healthy food”.
Depending on the type of product and the scale of production, producers may want to:
– Produce food at home
– Use a shared-use kitchen: this helps users remove restrictive barriers of high‐cost capital investment associated with leasing or purchasing a kitchen and equipment. Shared-use kitchens (or “community kitchens”) allows specialty food businesses like processors, farmers, caterers, food cart vendors and mobile food trucks the opportunity to start from nothing and grow at their own pace.
– Have access to a medium scale processing center: that aggregates and processes local produce from different farmers.
IC Kitchen Connect links entrepreneurs with commercial kitchens in Iowa, allowing food entrepreneurs to Start-up their businesses at a fraction of the cost and helping them to maximize profits when they need it. The website also aggregates information for food enterpreneurs.
Starting a Home-Based Food Business in Iowa Find the information you need to sell food products from your home. This ISU Extension and Outreach publication includes Iowa licensing and inspection requirements. Also includes contact information for additional help.
Shared Use Kitchen Planning Toolkit published by the Leopold Center and ISU Extension and Outreach is a guide to starting a shared-use kitchen as an affordable venue for new and existing value-added food production entrepreneurs, farmers and caterers.
Iowa Success Stories
Department of Inspection and Appeals: for all regulatory questions, contact the Iowa DIA for adequate information.
ISU Extension and Outreach – the FFED Enterprise Development Team works with a wide variety of businesses in Iowa to determine business feasibility, marketing feasibility or business-planning assistance.
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