How to start a food startup

Last updated: 11. January 2022

As an Entrepreneur in the area of ​​food and nutritional supplements, many different challenges have to be overcome. The usual topics of a startup, such as business plan, financing etc .. have to be solved. In addition, there are the industry-specific issues and we gladly support you with answering these questions.Special questions of a Food-Startup:Which permissions are required (in Germany)?

  • Proof of how to handle food (health passport)
  • Approval of the local regulatory agency (Ordnungsamt)
  • business license
  • A travel business license if you want to sell on local markets

It all sounds a bit elaborate, but it is not at all in the end. Interested parties should contact their city (economic department) or the IHK. As a rule, you’ll get all the addresses and contacts bundled from them.Classification of the productDecisive for the further procedure is the classification of the new product. Is it a food, a dietary supplement or even a medicine?Which ingredients are used?The question of which raw materials are used naturally determines the quality of the end product. If you buy your raw materials in the wholesale market, you can assume that they have already been checked and meet the requirements of EU regulations. If you refer your raw materials directly from the producer, this is basically a good thing, but then you should also take a look at the quality management of the manufacturer. Certified organic farms are, for example, different from small farmers in non-European countries. This does NOT mean that non-certified companies produce a poorer quality. The certifications are very costly and therefore small local producers are not always able to afford them.Nevertheless, trust is good, control is better. For example, if tea is imported directly from the country of origin and there is no secure information about the pesticide use, it is advisable to have a pre-emptive sample analyzed before the first container sets off. The same applies to dried herbs and spices. Every raw material has its own risk field. Rice often has problems with arsenic, cocoa with cadmium – fruits often come with pesticides.It is therefore important to choose the raw materials carefully and to get advice about the risks associated with these raw materials and the countries of origin. Ultimately, these efforts result in a separate quality assurance system.How do I determine the expiration date?How long a product will last depends essentially on the product itself, the manufacturing process and the subsequent storage.A determination of the best before date costs some time. If in doubt, it takes at least as long as the product should be preserved later. Two approaches are conceivable:

  • The product is stored as long as it should be durable. After storage microbiological, sensory and, if necessary, chemical testings are carried out. If these analyzes are satisfactory, this period can be given as a BBD.
  • The product is stored and tested microbiologically, organically and if necessary chemically at regular intervals. The last time that the tests were satisfactory can be considered an MHD.

For foods that are later to be left uncooled on the shelf, the aging process can be accelerated. You can store these products at 40 degrees celsius. One week of storage at this temperature corresponds to 4 weeks at room temperature. So 2 weeks of storage at 40 ° C would correspond to 8 weeks at room temperature.The former approach provides either / or statement. Problems arise when the product is no longer good at the time of testing. It can then only be said: “Period XYZ is too long”. It’s not possible to tell from this result a shorter BBD. The only way is to repeat the analysis after a shorter storage period.Therefore at this point an advice, because the budget is usually very scarce at the beginning. Make a self-experiment first to estimate the approximate BBD and afterwards the professional analysis.If the budget does not matter so much, then the second approach is recommended. This will avoid the loss of time of repeating the entire durability test again and again.LabelingLabeling is a complex field. The legal basis for this is in Germany the so called “Lebensmittelinformationsverordnung”. Again, there is no rule that requires you to have the label checked professionally. However, if there is a review by the authorities, the label is usually checked first. And if they demand that you customize your labels after their products are already placed in stores, this can be extremely frustrating.
Further information can be found on our article on the labeling of food .Nutritional informationIn principle, labeling of nutritional values ​​on the packaging has been mandatory for some time. But there are exceptions for small regional producers. Companies with less than 10 employees and / or 2 million annual sales are considered “small”. These farms do not necessarily have to declare the nutritional values ​​on the packaging, as long as they are distributed regionally. This also applies to your own small online shopThe exception does not apply once the products are distributed in larger online shops (Amazon / ebay, ….). Then the nutritional values ​​are definitely mandatory.The exception does also not apply if you advertise with certain ingredients. For example “Rich in …” or “fat-reduced” – then the nutritional values ​​must be listed.Special legal regulationsFor example, some products are covered by the NovelFood Regulation and may therefore only be distributed in Europe upon approval. An example of this are soft drinks from the coffee cherry or snacks with insects. These enjoy great popularity in other countries and have been on the market there for years; In this Germany however, they are new. This means that an application has to be made to the EU before it is assessed whether a health risk emanates from these products.We are happy to advise you on all questions. Just contact us.Contact: or via phone 030-233215800

important analyzes for the start:

my-lab analysis: Determination of the nutrition value (Big 7)

Determination of the nutrition value (Big 7) without roughage


For business customers

calculation of the nutrition value


For business customers

my-lab analysis: Determination of the nutrition value (Big 8)

Determination of the nutrition value (Big 8) with roughage


For business customers

best before date: how to determinate?

Determination of the best before date in food


For business customers

my-lab analysis: labeling test in accordance of Vo (EG) No 1169/2001

labeling check (Germany)


For business customers

Pictures taken from:

  • Titelbild + Beitragsbild | Source: my-lab International | Modified by my-lab International