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How to Start a Seasoning Business

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Seasoning Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$6,400 - $13,500

Revenue potential

$109,500 - $219,000 p.a.

Time to build

3-6 months

Profit potential

$43,800 - $87,600 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Flexible

The Food Network and shows like Top Chef have inspired many people to become the masters of their own kitchens. And cooking up tasty treats requires seasoning, which is why the global spice and seasonings industry is worth nearly $19 billion and still growing.

If you have ideas for some creative spice blends, you could start your own seasoning business and tap into that hot market while helping people to whip up mouth-watering meals at home.

But before you get out the spice grinder, you’ll need some business savvy. Luckily, in this step-by-step guide, you’ll find all the information you need to launch a lucrative seasoning business. 

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Growing market
  • Good profit potential
  • Relatively low startup costs

Cons

  • FDA and state or local certifications and licenses may be required
  • Competitive industry

Seasoning industry trends

Industry size and growth

Seasoning industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends 

  • Consumers increasingly prefer seasonings with health benefits, such as cayenne pepper, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger.
  • Demand is growing for international seasoning blends, such as African or Indian blends.

Challenges

  • Raw material and labor shortages in spice-producing countries have made sourcing more difficult.
  • More consumers are buying seasonings online, which poses a challenge if you plan to open a physical seasonings store.
Seasoning Industry Trends and Challenges

How much does it cost to start a seasoning business?

While you could make and package your seasonings at home, your costs of packaging and labelling would be expensive and leave you with slim profit margins. You’d also have to deal with FDA regulations and certification.

Instead, it’s recommended that you work with a white label manufacturer to produce, package, and label your seasonings using your recipes. 

Startup costs taking that approach range from $6,000 to $13,000. Costs will depend on the minimum inventory order required by the manufacturer. 

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your seasoning business, including: 

  • Spices and grinders to experiment with recipes
  • Boxes and packing materials for shipping
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$100 - $500$300
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100-$500$300
Website$500 - $1,000$750
Ingredients and grinders to creat recipes$100 - $200$150
Initial order from white label manufacturer$5,000 - $10,000$7,500
Sales and marketing budget$500 - $1,000$750
Total$6,400 - $13,500$9,950

How much can you earn from a seasoning business?

What you charge for seasoning blends will vary based on the spices used. An average price will probably be about $7, and these calculations will assume that your average sale per customer will be about $15. Your profit margin should be about 40%. 

In your first year or two, you could work from home selling online to 20 customers a day, bringing in $109,500 in revenue. This would mean $43,800 in profit, assuming that 40% margin. 

As you gain traction, you might also sell at farmer’s markets or other local shops and have 40 customers a day.  With annual revenue of $219,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $87,600.

Seasoning Business earning forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a seasoning business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Finding a white label manufacturer
  • Competing with online companies like The Great American Spice Company

Related Business Ideas

If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a seasoning business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research could give you the upper hand even if you’ve got the perfect product. Conducting robust market research is crucial, as it will help you better understand your customers, your competitors, and the broader business landscape.

Analyze your competitors 

Research seasoning businesses online or in your area to examine their products, price points, and customer reviews.

  • Make a list of seasoning businesses that offer similar products. 
  • Review your competitors’ products – their features, pricing, and quality – and marketing strategies.
  • Check out their online reviews and ratings on Google, Yelp, and Facebook to get an idea of what their customers like and dislike.
  • Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 

This should identify areas where you can strengthen your business and gain a competitive edge to make better business decisions.

Why? Identify an opportunity

You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the market is missing a seasoning business that specializes in Indian spice blends or one that offers a wide variety of ground spices as well as sauces.

You might consider targeting a niche, such as Italian spice mixes.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your products

You’ll want to come up with seasoning mix recipes that will stand out. You’ll use ingredients from salt and black pepper, to dried fresh herbs, to other popular spices.

How much should you charge for seasonings?

Your prices should be based on market prices, but also your costs of manufacturing or production. 

Once you know your costs, use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market could literally be anyone who cooks. You can market on TikTok, Instagram, or Pinterest, but you might also consider advertising on food blogs. 

Where? Choose your seasoning business location

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out a packaging and shipping facility. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Seasoning Business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Seasoning Business Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “seasonings” or “spice blends”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Flavor Frontier Blends” and “Global Taste Creations” over “SeaSavor Salts” and “PoultryPerk Seasonings”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
  • Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead and reserve your business name with your state, start the trademark registration process, and complete your domain registration and social media account creation. 

Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick a name, reserve it and start with the branding, it’s hard to switch to a new name. So be sure to carefully consider your choice before moving forward. 

Step 4: Create a Seasoning Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary: Provide a concise summary of your seasoning business plan, highlighting your unique selling proposition and financial goals.
  • Business Overview: Describe your seasoning business, including its location, the types of seasonings you’ll produce, and any additional services like custom seasoning blends.
  • Product and Services: Detail the range of seasonings and related products you’ll offer, including any specialty or niche seasonings, packaging options, and pricing.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze the market for seasonings, considering factors like consumer preferences, trends in culinary tastes, and potential demand for your products.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify competitors in the seasoning industry and explain how your products will stand out, whether through unique flavors, quality, or marketing strategies.
  • Sales and Marketing: Outline your sales and marketing strategies, including distribution channels, branding efforts, and plans for reaching target customers.
  • Management Team: Introduce yourself and any key team members involved in running the seasoning business, emphasizing relevant experience in the food industry.
  • Operations Plan: Detail the production and supply chain processes for your seasonings, including sourcing ingredients, manufacturing, and quality control.
  • Financial Plan: Present financial projections, including startup costs, revenue forecasts based on expected sales volumes, and profitability estimates.
  • Appendix: Include any additional materials, such as product labels, packaging designs, or market research data, to support your seasoning business plan.
what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to seasoning businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your seasoning business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts. Here’s how to form an LLC.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation. Read how to start a corporation here.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

Form Your LLC

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a seasoning business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept.  

types of business financing

Step 8: Apply for Seasoning Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a seasoning business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

If you’re going to produce your seasonings at home, you’ll need to check FDA requirements as well as state and local health permit requirements.

You may also need other state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your seasoning business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as Lightspeed, Vend, or RetailPro, to manage your inventory, purchases, sales, and prices. 

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Create a website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

Your customers are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. 

Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Buy Now” or “Order”. This can sharply increase purchases. 

Marketing

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  1. Social Media Engagement: Leverage platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to visually showcase your seasonings in action through recipe posts, cooking tips, and engaging content to build a loyal online community.
  2. Influencer Collaborations: Partner with food influencers and chefs who align with your brand to create authentic and relatable content, expanding your reach to their followers who trust their recommendations.
  3. Sampling Events: Organize tasting events at local grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or food festivals to allow potential customers to experience the flavors firsthand, increasing the likelihood of purchase.
  4. Strategic Partnerships: Collaborate with complementary businesses such as local restaurants, meal kit services, or cooking classes to cross-promote your seasonings, tapping into their existing customer base.
  5. Creative Packaging: Invest in eye-catching and informative packaging that not only stands out on the shelves but also communicates the unique selling points and suggested uses of your seasonings.
  6. Limited Editions and Seasonal Releases: Create a sense of urgency and excitement by introducing limited-edition flavors or seasonal releases, encouraging repeat purchases from existing customers and attracting new ones.
  7. User-Generated Content: Encourage customers to share their own recipes and experiences with your seasonings on social media, creating a sense of community and leveraging user-generated content for marketing purposes.
  8. Local Partnerships: Forge alliances with local businesses, such as specialty grocery stores, to stock your products, enhancing visibility and accessibility within your community.
  9. Educational Content: Develop informative content such as blog posts, videos, or infographics that highlight the health benefits, origin stories, and proper usage of your seasonings, positioning your brand as an authority in the industry.
  10. Customer Loyalty Programs: Implement loyalty programs that reward customers for repeat purchases, referrals, and social media engagement, fostering a dedicated customer base and increasing overall sales.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your seasoning business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your seasoning business could be:

  • Spice up your kitchen with unique seasoning blends
  • Seasoning blends that will make your mouth water
  • Buy seasonings in bulk and save
unique selling proposition

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a seasoning business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in seasoning businesses for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in seasonings. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a seasoning business include:

  • Packagers – prepare seasonings for shipping
  • Marketing Lead – create and implement marketing strategies
  • General Manager – accounting, inventory management

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Seasoning Business – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Seasonings can be found in nearly every kitchen, which is why the seasonings market is large and still growing. Starting your own seasoning business allows you to be creative and spice up meals everywhere while making some money at the same time. You could even grow your business and become the next Great American Spice Company!

You understand the business now, so you’re ready to get out the spice grinder and mix up your successful seasoning business.

Seasoning Business FAQs

Is a seasoning business profitable?

Yes, a seasoning business can be profitable. The demand for high-quality, unique, and flavorful seasonings is constantly growing as people seek to enhance the taste of their meals. With the right marketing, branding, and product offerings, a seasoning business can attract customers and generate revenue.

What is the growth potential of a seasoning business?

The growth potential of a seasoning business can be significant, especially as more consumers are becoming interested in unique and flavorful food experiences. By offering high-quality and innovative seasonings, targeting specific market segments, and implementing effective marketing strategies, a seasoning business can tap into the growing demand and expand its customer base.

What type of business is a seasoning business?

A seasoning business typically involves producing and selling various types of seasonings, such as spice blends, herbs, salts, and other flavoring ingredients used to enhance the taste of food. Seasonings can be sold in various forms, including bottles, jars, packets, or even as bulk ingredients.

Can you start a seasoning business on the side?

Starting a seasoning business on the side is definitely possible. Many small businesses begin as side ventures and gradually grow into full-time operations.

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How to Start a Seasoning Business