The UK catering business is worth over £1 bn and is one of the few industries not dominated by a few people. It offers a golden opportunity to start and expand from your domestic kitchen to a restaurant and become a food business specialist.
If you are starting a food business from home, you are responsible for protecting your customers, and you must understand the rules on selling food from home UK.
So from the start, you need to implement methods of operation where you practice and maintain high sanitary standards, integrate the 4Cs(cleaning, cooking, chilling and cross-contamination), and do a regular risk assessment to ensure the food you serve is safe to consume.
You must comply with the food legislation for selling home cooked food to the public or distributing it free or as an organised business. The occasional sale of jams, cakes, chutneys, and confectionaries is categorised as low-risk. Providing free food at charity events is unlikely to be classed as a food business because of the infrequent nature of the trade.
However, for selling home cooked food to the public, you must get a license and comply with the food laws relevant to the person handling food, the methods or practices, or the structure of food premises, or you may be guilty and liable to prosecution if you do not follow the rules.
You must show you have considered the safety hazards where you identify and monitor all the critical safety points, the ingredients, and the finished products which are refrigerated and stored. You must follow the council website link to the local environmental health department (EHO) before you start.
Starting A Food Business from Home
If starting a food business from home, you must register your business with the local government; either you establish a new food company or take over an existing one. A home caterer who normally sells food from a market stall may want to start selling food prepared and packaged for customers to cook or reheat at home.
You may need special approvals for certain if the food is sold to other businesses rather than directly to the customer or contains products of animal origin, such as meat, eggs, dairy, honey or gelatine.
How To Start a Catering Business from Home in the UK?
You must keep track of the council laws, the standard practices, the registration and licensing process, the food safety, and the traceability regulations, where you track all of the vendors and ensure hazardous items are removed from your supplies promptly and accurately.
Plan your business strategies, know your market, the needs and preferences of the targeted customers, understand the competition, the strengths, and weaknesses and be realistic towards your goals to profit from selling food from home UK.
Always target specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Your plan should detail important points, such as how to market your business.
How to Run a Food Business from Home in the UK?
To run a food business from home, you must apply for food premises approval if you carry out food operations that involve preparing food, cooking, handling, storing, and selling food from home. It is also known as food business registration.
You need basic and professional equipment like dishes, pans, utensils, knives, spatulas, tongs, spoons, and cutting boards. You can claim capital allowances on equipment when you fill in the tax forms. Also, you require accounting software, mileage tracking devices, a marketing website and social media tools ( like Buffer and Hootsuite) for handling orders and delivery.
Report Someone Selling Food from Home UK
One can check whether any such business is registered and listed on the government website. Anyone who thinks the business is unregistered can report someone selling food from home uk to the local authority’s food safety team.
To report someone selling food from home uk, one can contact the local council environment health department, provide details like location, time and nature of food sold and show evidence like photographs and videos to back up their reviews.
Selling Homemade Food Online UK
Foods ordered online through an app fall under the ‘distance selling’ category. Distance selling regulations need allergen details to be provided if selling home cooked food to the public. Before selling homemade food online UK, you must know the council laws, register, get local permits, fill in the tax details, and get a license.
You need a website for selling homemade food online uk, and you must know the food quality laws, develop a business structure, do the inspections, get insurance and follow all the legal procedures just like a virtual catering business.
How Much Is a Food License UK
The food license application is free but obligatory. If you get seen working without a licence, you risk a fine or up to two years in jail.
Also, you need a licence for any premises where you carry out food operations, even temporarily. Selling home cooked food to the public from a stall at the local market needs a licence for your home and the booth.
Selling Home Cooked Food to The Public
Any food start-up business must comply with the rules on selling food from home UK particularly when using your home kitchen to prepare and supply food.
Also, you must notify the HMRC that you are self-employed even when working part-time. You must create an account with gov. uk and follow the business guidelines.
It is easy to get registered. Search for the government website’s postcode and local authority details to apply for business registration, download the form and register. The local authority will inspect your kitchen regularly to ensure you follow food safety laws.
They ensure your walls and countertops are in good condition and clean. They will assess hygiene, environment, storage, preparation methods, cleanliness, temperature supervision, and other cooking practices.
For some food types, you need special approval. Nevertheless, in case of selling directly to the public or retailers, caterers, pubs or restaurants, if the food does not contain wild game meat and you do not sell outside the county, if the food is less than 25 per cent of the trade, you may not need special approval.
The best way to follow the law is to get a formal training course in the 4Cs, Personal hygiene, Food hazards and Safety procedures.
Alongside your special licence, you must register your business with HMRC. You can register as a sole trader or limited liable company. A limited liable company earns tax and legal benefits, and registering a sole trader is quicker and cheaper.
You need to decide on the trade name, your enterprise legal name, and a surname that will be shown on official documents and invoices, then log in to the HMRC website, register for self-assessment, and then register for VAT.
Food Delivery Regulations UK
Food delivery regulations UK require perishable and non-perishable items to be shipped in safe packaging to prevent leakage or damage affecting the product’s quality and integrity. It is advised to follow and record a suitable HACCP system as the primary defence against legal issues (Food Safety Act 1990).
For efficient and timely food delivery, you must register for the delivery apps like Deliveroo and Eat. These apps will only allow you to sell once you complete registration, and you will have to mention the food safety and hygiene checks and then upload the menu online to start.
You can opt for a local delivery service. Signing up for the delivery platform is easy, where a third-party delivery service will handle all your food deliveries. But, such apps do not promote your brand; further, the customer services are out of your hands, and you need to pay the commission and delivery charges per the delivery contract terms.
Do You Need a License to Sell Food UK?
You can seek guidance from local government officials to determine if you must register in case you are occasionally involved in culinary operations. Registration is not denied and takes only a few minutes. It must be completed at least 28 days before starting, as the rules imply if you are selling food from home UK that are regular and organised basis.