Many Singapore food businesses went purely online after the pandemic and saw great success. This result inspired many in Singapore who started putting up their own food business from the comfort of their small kitchens. In addition, the pandemic solidified food delivery systems, making them accessible for small businesses preparing food that they can deliver to customers at any time.
Now is the best time to start your own food business in Singapore. Here are some steps you can take to get started.
Starting a Home-Based Food Business in Singapore: A Step-by-Step Guide
More people in Singapore have become comfortable with food delivery services and online shopping with door-to-door delivery. Home businesses require small capital to begin from any kitchen. Follow the steps below to start home-based food businesses.
1. Formulate a Highly-Sellable Food Business Idea
Consider your F&B at home as another small business to discover an excellent and expandable food business idea. Small businesses use market testing, unique selling point formulation, and identifying qualified market leads.F&B owners can do surveys or get feedback from their immediate network to discover which recipes, palettes, packaging, and dishes can have a worthwhile audience in their target area.
The best way to figure out the F&B’s unique selling point is to look at the competitor’s high-selling products. Identify from these offers which unique ingredients you can add, additional features or experiences you can offer, and if lowering your price is the best way to make potential customers want to try your product.
Lastly, a sellable food business idea has tremendous local demand. Look back to your existing data and observe the income, preferences, personality, and other features of specific demographics by age, employment, or district to identify the core group of customers you can provide value with your food products.
2. Identify Business Objectives and Key Operations
Your F&B home-based business has one main goal: to create demand. For most businesses, they concentrate on the following processes:
- Ingredient sourcing
- Food processing time
- Packaging and branding
- Shipping and handling
- Market research and pricing
- Marketing and advertising
- Opportunities for growth and development
Finding high-quality ingredient suppliers guarantees high-quality and accurate goods essential in establishing your brand’s signature food flavors. Additionally, careful time management by establishing your standard food processing time and logistics improves your product delivery schedule consistency.
You can increase product demand by having the right pricing, marketing, and advertising through market research, accurately plot your growth with proper accounting, and identifying opportunities for development and improvement after a successful product launch.
3. Research The Best Places to Sell
Social network prepared food selling can feel personal for both buyers and sellers due to its communicative nature, making social networks play an enormous role in the sales of many home-based food establishments. Facebook and Instagram currently lead in prepared food selling traffic in Singapore. The platforms allow owners to talk to their customers and control their operational scale.
Home-based businesses can engage in pre-packaged food with long-term expiry dates and highly durable packaging suitable for logistics services. Many e-commerce websites, such as Shopee, Lazada, and Carousell, allow sellers to use their logistics services for a small fee. Home-based businesses can sell their pre-packaged food as long as it complies with the e-commerce websites’ guidelines on pre-packaged food guidelines.
4. Have Basic Knowledge About Digital Marketing
Digital marketing helps entice customers with dazzling visuals, creating and maintaining your social media presence, and making you stand out from your competitors. Here are some basic best practices for presenting prepared and pre-packaged food products.
- Excellent Visuals: Written content serves as descriptors but shouldn’t be too long to let well-taken photographs of your dishes take more spotlight. Look at your competitors and food blogs to learn the best shots, angles, color saturation, backdrops, and other excellent practices that entice customers to buy.
- Social Network Presence: Branding begins when you spread your social media presence. Many successful home-business food businesses have used hashtags and keywords to boost their discovery. Joining forums and Facebook groups give you exceptional reach and generate more awareness about your brand. Lastly, you can provide your products to well-known local influencers if you can afford them (or they don’t charge anything for reviews).
- Advocacy: Food products that taste good and create a unique dining experience generate buzz around social circles. Top reviews from independent websites and social media users will help spread awareness of your food. With this in mind, encourage your customers to take photos and talk about it on their social network accounts.
- Paid Advertising: Social networks and e-commerce platforms allow businesses to stand out by joining their sales events, cashback programs, or being a high-level seller, such as Shopee’s Preferred Seller/Shopee Mall Seller.
5. Comply With All Singapore Food Safety Protocols
Singapore’s F&B food safety and hygiene protocols also apply to home-based food businesses. Ensure you comply with the following Singapore Food Agency guidelines.
- Submit a Food Scheme Management System: The SFA’s Food Scheme Management System (FSMS) ensures that all food Singaporeans will consume that you prepare from your home is safe for consumption. Read more about it here.
- Food Handling Safety Course Level 1: All Singaporean food handlers, including homeowners handling ingredients and food processes in their homes, must undertake the SFA’s Food Safety Course Level 1 before selling food to customers.
Home-Based Business Scheme Guidelines in Singapore
Running a home food preparation or pre-packaging business in Singapore has a different business scheme with different guidelines that positively impact your local environment and the market. Here are some of them.
1. Owners and Registered Occupants Only
Your home-based business registration only qualifies registered occupants to perform the business activities. Non-registered occupants can operate the business with explicitly-written permission from any registered occupant on the property. Businesses that need extra help won’t need to pay non-registered occupants because only registered property occupants can be business employees.
2. No Food Processing Nuisances
Local governments may suspend your operations upon reports of excessive noise, smoke, or smells. In addition, any violation of the Environmental Public Health Act provisions can suspend or ultimately shut down your operations.
3. No Industrial-Level Food Processing Equipment
The government and the food act that enables a home-based business to prepare food or deliver cooked food do not permit any use of industrial-grade food processing equipment. On the other hand, restaurants and other businesses can apply for industrial food processing permits using this helpful SFA guide.
4. Small to Moderate Goods Storage Only
Home-based food establishments cannot store industrial-volume goods on their property. They can buy ingredients in moderate bulk from suppliers. Registered properties for home businesses with distribution center volumes of stored ingredients and goods may violate government terms.
5. No Posters or Advertisements on Residence
Business owners cannot place posters, signages, and signboards promoting their business on their residences. Fortunately, they can use digital marketing, social networks, and word-of-mouth marketing to reach their customers.
6. Sell From Home and Online Only
Home-based food businesses cannot participate in food fairs or have other food outlets in shopping malls or public business zones. They can only sell goods using delivery services and advertise online.
Home-Based Food Business Singapore Fire Safety Compliance
Business owners must follow every part of Singapore’s fire safety standards. These regulations ensure that all home-based bakers and cooks have their respective fire extinguishers accessible and can put out fires at any time. All non-home-based food businesses also comply with the same fire safety standards.
All home food business owners must comply with the following:
- Fire extinguishers must be in full view
- The extinguisher’s operating instructions are forward-facing and easily readable
- Fire extinguishers must always meet minimum weight requirements to guarantee fullness
- The extinguishers must not have any dents, corrosion, clogs, and other damage
- Fire extinguishers must be operable as its indicator evidence.
Home-Based Food Businesses Food Health and Safety Requirements in Singapore
The Singapore Food Agency allows home food businesses to operate if they can maintain consistently good personal and workplace hygiene when preparing, packing, and delivering their goods. Here are some key points that ensure your business complies with SFA’s health standards.
1. Maintain Good Personal Hygiene
Good personal hygiene extends from everyday bathing to ensuring every food handler’s hands are free of microbes and contaminants. Frequent hand washing before and after preparation is key to excellent food hygiene. You can wear gloves during the food preparation process for additional safety.
2. Maintain a Clean Kitchen Hygiene
Clean food equipment free from microbes, contaminants, and spoiled ingredients ensures the safe food consumption of customers. SFA requires regular sanitation of equipment and a local food preparation environment. Regular kitchen-wide sweeping, mopping, and sanitation guarantee a food-safe environment.
3. Check Food Expiry Dates and Supplier Reputation
The SFA requires home food businesses to check ingredient expiry dates and their suppliers’ reputations. The SFA has a list of reliable local and international suppliers for home and non-home food businesses to make this step easy.
4. Food Refrigeration and Proper Storage
Lastly, all businesses must have proper storage facilities to refrigerate and preserve their ingredients, cooked food, and pre-packaged food. Poor food storage can cause salmonella, E.coli, and hepatitis with poor raw food storage.
Are Licenses Important To Start a Home-Based Food Business?
As of August 2021, the Singapore government does not consider home-based food businesses as licensed food establishments. However, SFA requires that home food businesses comply with all hygiene requirements to ensure zero food-related health and safety incidents.
Got a up and coming food business idea? Check out our business loan guide if you are interested in opening one.
Starting a food business at home is a dream come true, but it requires a few simple but lengthy processes. All your efforts are worth the trouble as you soon start to deliver smiles with your tasty and satisfying dishes from your own kitchen.
- Starting a home-based F&B company has steps similar to ACRA small business registrations.
- Your F&B’s success uses the same metrics as small businesses, such as using digital marketing, finding the best customer demographic, and having a solid unique selling point.
- All home F&B businesses do not need licenses but must comply with business schemes, fire safety, and hygiene guidelines.
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