July 10, 2012
Wow, there’s been a flurry of changes in the Cottage Food world in the past six months that’s it’s been hard to keep up! In case you don’t already know, Cottage Food Laws pertain specifically to home based food businesses which allow you to use your own kitchen rather than a commercial kitchen to make your products.
Many credit The Great Recession for helping to push a lot of these laws into place. As of 2007 – before the economy crashed – only about 15 states that allowed a home baker to sell their food to the public but with jobs and capital hard to come by, as of today more than 30 states have some type of Cottage Food Law in place and many others have laws pending. While Cottage Food Laws vary state to state (for instance, some states have a cap on sales revenue or regulations stipulating where homemade products can or cannot be sold), the impact these small businesses can have are pretty substantial. The Center For Rural Affairs estimates that in West Virginia alone – a state that only has 2 million people – homemade foods is a $100 million business. That’s not only real revenue for the entrepreneurs themselves but also much-needed sales tax revenue for the state.
I’m in the process of compiling a list of all the recent changes across the US so check back tomorrow to see how your state might have been impacted.