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How To Sell Food On Etsy: Tips From Personal Experience! [2024]

Been told you’re a fantastic cook, and you’re wondering how to sell food on Etsy to get those yummy dishes to a wider audience while earning some moolah?

I’ve been looking for ways to get my mum’s delicious cooking pastes out there on the market. 

You guys know I got on and on about what an amazing and creative cook she is! So, I wanted to help her to sell her stuff online. 

I may just be a tad bit biased, but I think EVERYONE should have the opportunity to taste Mama Preece’s cooking! 

How to sell food on etsy
my momma’s Sambal pastes!

I figured since Etsy is an extremely popular marketplace with a worldwide audience, I would check if it were possible or even legal to sell food on Etsy!

Good news — selling food on Etsy is legal, though Etsy does adhere to government regulations around the making, packing, and selling of food. 

Etsy has a detailed seller’s handbook by one of its top bakers on the platform in which she details things to know before you start selling food on Etsy. 

Essentially, here are five things you need to know about how to sell food on Etsy:

1. Know your laws

2. Get the permits and licenses 

3. Have a clean, proper workspace 

4. Label your products accurately 

5. Ensure you ship your sold food properly 

Need more details, or not quite sure what I mean by these pointers? Read on for more tips on how to sell food on Etsy. 

Affiliate Link Disclaimer

The links on this page may be affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA COST to you. Hope you find the information here useful. Thanks! 

Note: If you are super busy and you want to start making money selling on Etsy fast, you can check out this Etsy course. It will help to step up your Etsy game and start earning within 3 months!

Alternatively, you can also check out this free Etsy Ebook that will share a list of best-selling products by month and teach you how to capitalize on seasonal trends to make sales.

How To Sell Food On Etsy
me and mama

Quick Step-By-Step Guide On How To Sell Food On Etsy

1. Know Your Laws

While it may be legal to sell food on Etsy, there are strict food policies to ensure that the food sold is safe for consumption.

Familiarise yourself with local and international laws around the food business.

If you’re based in the US, the national body Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides guidance around owning and running a food business

There obviously isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the laws you need to follow, as there is a wide variety of food that one sells.

So familiarizing yourself with the laws around your specific type of food and where you live or intend to sell your food will help you be successful as a food seller. 

2. Get The Permits And Licenses 

Be on the safe side when it comes to having the right papers in order. 

Make sure you have all the necessary permits and licenses you need to sell food and prove your food is safe for consumption. 

One of the most basic steps on how to sell food on Etsy, is having the right documentation in place, as Etsy will ask for this when you set up your store. 

How to sell food on etsy

3. Have A Clean, Proper Workspace 

Some countries’ and districts’ laws allow you to prepare food from your home, and some don’t. 

Check and, if needed, find a commercial kitchen to make your food to ensure that you comply with local regulations on this.

Even if you do not need to prepare your food in a commercial space, you should always ensure you have a clean and proper workspace in case the authorities swing by for checks. 

Plus, a clean workspace makes for a peaceful state of mind for your potential buyers — need I add that you can film really nice behind-the-scenes videos for social media!

If finding an independent space is difficult, you could try looking at kitchen incubators or cloud kitchen spaces, where landlords typically rent a big space to multiple smaller F&B businesses. 

4. Label Your Products Accurately 

Most laws would require you to label your products accurately so that it can be inspected properly, to meet local regulations, and to avoid allergic reactions among consumers. 

You can list it in your Etsy shop description, but always make sure to also print it on your product label or have a separate product sheet with the ingredient details. 

You can easily purchase food label templates off Etsy or even make your own digital printables

It’s super easy, I promise you. And the best part is once you get the hang of it, you can even sell those label templates to other budding food sellers! 

5. Ensure You Ship Your Sold Food Properly 

Check what your local couriers can and cannot ship to ensure your perishables reach your customers in the right state. 

The US Postal Service, for example, has guidelines on sending perishable items like food. 

How To Succeed Selling Food On Etsy

It’s not difficult to know how to sell food on Etsy, but succeeding in selling food on Etsy can be challenging, especially since almost anyone can make good food and sell baked goods online.

Some things you can do to differentiate the food you’re selling on Etsy are:

1. Take Good Photos

Having good product photos makes a world of difference. 

Have you ever ordered something because you saw it look so good on screen that you could almost imagine how it tastes?? That’s what you’re aiming for! 

This includes good lighting, appropriate food styling and of course, making sure your food looks edible and yummy! 

How to sell food on etsy

2. Tell Your Story

Knowing how to sell cookies on Etsy is basic knowledge, but knowing how to differentiate those cookies from every other cookie seller out there is the next level. 

Talk about what got you started on baking, where you get inspiration for your recipes, and what makes your cookies special.

For example, you could have started baking because baking helped you get over a stressful situation in your life. 

You could also share that you were inspired to bake because your grandma baked sweet treats every time you’d go over, and you wanted to share her old recipes. 

You could also tell your customers about how your cookies have unique flavors like sweet potato (I’ve yet to see this!) or even mochi in them. The sky’s the limit! 

3. Get On Social Media!

I think one thing online food sellers tend to forget is that they don’t have a physical storefront. 

So who’s going to walk by and sell all the delicious food you’re making and decide they want to buy one there and then?

Social media is going to be your storefront!

Make videos about your food, have enticing photos, and get customers to share reviews and stories. 

You can do almost everything and anything on social media short of letting the customers taste and smell the food over the screen — so get creative! 

How to sell food on etsy

Food Laws And Tips To Note For Selling Food On Etsy

Here are some regulations you should definitely take note of before you start to sell food on Etsy:

  • Register your business — Do this well ahead of your launch date (at least a month) so you can sort out any paperwork and concentrate on your cooking and baking thereafter.
  • Attend food safety training for food handlers — While some countries and jurisdictions may not require it, attending food safety training benefits both yourself and your customers.
  • Label your food properly — This helps inspection officers know what you’re selling and shipping, and consumers be aware of the potential allergens in the food. 

FAQs On How To Sell Food On Etsy

How To Sell Baked Goods Online

Here are five simple steps on how you can sell baked goods online:

  • Decide which baked foods you want to sell
  • Set up your online stop, whether it is on Etsy or another platform
  • Obtain the relevant permits, licenses, and registrations associated with a food business
  • Decide on how you want to ship your baked goods, including their packing and labels
  • Market your products online and ensure you deliver your baked goods satisfactorily. 
How to sell food on etsy

Can You Sell Baked Goods On Etsy

Yes, you can sell baked goods on Etsy! 

But you’ll need to be mindful of government regulations in the US and in your country around the sale, packing, and shipping of food items. 

Another thing you’ll need to be mindful of is to ensure your baked goods are labeled properly so that you don’t run into trouble when shipping the item.

You can make those labels yourself easily on Canva, and if you make too many of them, you could even sell them to business owners like yourself! 

Can You Sell Food On Etsy?

Yes, you can sell food on Etsy! But you’ll need to ensure you adhere to local regulations around the sale of food in your country and the county you’re mailing to. 

To be safe, for the US, you can check out food laws on the Food & Drug Administration website

Do also label your products accurately so they can be inspected properly if it is crossing borders and so that your customers know what they’re consuming. 

You can always use free Canva templates, purchase food label templates off Etsy, or even make printable food labels yourself

How to sell food on etsy

What Is The Best Food To Sell On Etsy?

These are some of the best foods to sell on Etsy if you want to have a successful business right off the bat: 

  • Baked Goods 
  • Spice Blends
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Condiments & Sauces
  • Granola Blends 
  • Handmade Sweets & Chocolate
  • Artisanal Jams & Preserves
  • Pet Foods
  • Packaged Soups & Mixes
How to sell food on etsy

Can I Sell Recipes On Etsy?

Yes, you can sell recipes on Etsy! Etsy even has a whole section dedicated to recipes, so you can be sure that people are already selling recipes.  

One thing to take note, however, is that people are unlikely to buy single recipes since you can easily get free recipes as a resource online.

So to value-add to your recipe listing on Etsy, you can consider compiling several recipes into a single listing, such as 20 recipes for the busy working mother. 

You can also make cute recipe printables and sell them on Etsy. People can use them for things like get-togethers or even hen’s parties! 

Is It Worth It To Sell On Etsy

Yes, it is worth it to sell on Etsy as the costs and risks of selling on Etsy are low compared to if you were to set up a physical store.

Etsy charges just $0.20 for a listing, and there isn’t a minimum amount of listings to have before you open your shop.

Though you should have at least 10 to start to look credible! 

Trying to market yourself on Etsy can be challenging, but there are plenty of free resources online to help you become a better Etsy seller.

I personally used this free e-book to learn more about how to sell printables online, and I’ve never looked back since — it’s not rocket science, but it’s definitely not as difficult as you think. 

What Items Cannot Be Sold On Etsy?

These items cannot be sold on Etsy or come with strict restrictions:

  • Alcohol, drugs, or tobacco-related products
  • Items with medical claims
  • Animal products or human remains 
  • Hazardous materials
  • Illegal items
  • Items with nudity or mature content 
  • Items that promote hate towards others whether its based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation
  • Items that promote violence 

There are exceptions to some of these, though. For example, for alcohol, Etsy allows items like beer brewing kits and baked goods with alcohol. 

For animal products, non-ivory products and leather goods are allowed. 

To be doubly sure, check in on Etsy’s prohibited items page or reach out to the Etsy team if you’re not sure. Don’t risk having your shop banned, and it’s not worth it! 

How to sell food on etsy

You might think that figuring out how to sell food on Etsy is a tad intimidating, but I hope this article has helped clear up some of the questions you have.

Cooking and baking for their loved ones is something my mom absolutely loves doing.

I wanted to share Mama Preece’s amazing cooking skills with everyone, such that I even helped her sell her amazing food online.

So, believe me when I say I definitely understand the struggles that come with selling food online. 

No matter what type of food you’re selling online, I wish you nothing but the best in your budding food business! 

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