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Starting a New Food Business

Why Food Business? Do you know that food is the only thing that brings people together on the dinner table almost every single day. For many food provides emotional support including the nourishment to the body. Providing food to the society is a noble cause and expanding availability of food through your business is simply bridging the society together for a common cause. Your food business is a place to share your favorite recipes, wonderful ideas, and a smart action on food-system innovation and entrepreneurship. Starting a successful food business is commercialization of your recipe – a journey to your food vision.

How can we help you: University of Georgia, Food Science and Technology Extension provides variety of services (both technical and educational) that are available to those hungry minds who decide to launch their dream food into a food business. A team of experts from the UGA Food Science and other programs (FoodPIC, Ag. Economics, SBDC and many more) provides on a regular basis a comprehensive assistance tailored to your specific food business needs. Assistance includes:

  • Product & Process Development
  • Label & Nutritional Facts Development
  • Information on Facility Licensing and Regulatory Compliance
  • Product Classification and Process Approvals
  • Resources for Co-packing facilities
  • Packaging design and Sensory Testing
  • Ingredient Technology and Functionality
  • Food Safety and Sanitation

Most services are provided on request it is not required for you to travel or visit to our location to receive technical and educational assistance. UGA Food Science Extension has been provides several technical and educational programs specifically designed to address food entrepreneur’s key issues on starting a new food business. Our services will maintain confidentiality on all steps of support to all.

Before You Start: Starting a new food business is not an easy task. To become a successful food entrepreneur is to transform yourself into an entrepreneur. Allow yourself to analyze IF you really want to become an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur creates an opportunity with an ability to get things done. Entrepreneurs are NOT always innovators. They see an opportunity and start to build a roadmap to the marketplace. Successful food entrepreneurs are goal oriented, blending their big-picture strategy with a laser focus on execution and results. You will have to develop some attributes of a self-starter and team player. Decision making is a process and slowly develop right attitude of independent decision making power (sometime quick, under pressure and stressful times).

Licensing Your Food Manufacturing Facility: Manufacturing (or processing) facilities and food warehouses are regulated by the Manufactured Food Section within the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Manufactured Food Division. The regulations for the State of Georgia have been adopted from the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act as well as several portions of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21. The Georgia Food Act requires anyone who intends to operate a food sales establishment in the State of Georgia to obtain a license from the GDA. 

When you decide to start a food business in Georgia, there are several steps you will need to take before you’re ready to begin operation. The information on this webpage serves as an outline of the recommended steps to take before becoming licensed. Please review the sidebar of “Helpful Links” on this webpage to help you get started. The “Additional Resources” may also be useful to review.

Prior to Licensing:

Review the Basic Regulatory Requirements and Manufactured Food Regulations to understand the requirements of operating a food sales establishment in Georgia. Also review this Q&A for processing regulations for additional guidance.  

Contact your city/county Planning and Zoning and/or Business Development offices and work with them to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for your business. If you are using a private water source for your business operations, a water sample must be collected and tested annually by the GDA for coliforms and nitrates. For private sewage/septic you will need to contact the local health department to ensure the septic system can handle the output from your operations. 

Consider submitting a Business Plan early on to ensure your operation meets the basic regulatory requirements. Business plan reviews are required in order to determine whether the firm requires licensing from the GDA, if the firm’s operations are within the scope of the GDA’s regulations, and to ensure the facilities provided are adequate for the food that is being produced and/or sold on the premises. You will need to have your business plan reviewed prior to being licensed.

It is the firm’s responsibility to ensure the label(s) on all food product(s) are accurate and meet the regulatory requirements. Review the GDA’s Food Labeling brochure for advice on creating food labels, and refer to FDA’s Food Labeling Guide for additional guidance. A final, finished product label is required prior to a firm becoming licensed and operational.

Once you’re ready to be licensed, contact the GDA to schedule an inspection (remember, your business plan will already need to have been reviewed prior to this). At the time of the inspection, all additional paperwork must be completed and provided to the inspector. The packet of completed paperwork must contain copies of your: 

Manufacturing facilities are also required to register with the FDA. New businesses will have to click on “Login/Create Account” to begin. Be sure to save the information you are given at the end of your registration in a safe place. 

Special Processes

If you are producing a product that requires classification (i.e., acidified food or low-acid canned food), review the Guidelines for Food Processing SafetyDepending on the classification, you may need to take a course with a Better Processing Control School of your choice. The University of Georgia offers some in-person classes (view upcoming dates on the UGA Calendar of Events), the University of California offers an online course and there are other course offerings around the country throughout the year. Visit this FDA webpage to learn how to establish your product registration and process filing. Read this letter to AF/LACF processors for additional information.

If you are in need of a Wholesale Fish Dealer’s License, you will need to take a Seafood HACCP course. See our Seafood Safety webpage for more information and additional resources.

If you wish to wholesale/distribute juice products, you must meet the requirements in the 21 CFR 120 regulations. Please note: Unpasteurized juice cannot be sold through wholesale in Georgia. Find additional information and resources online via FDA Juice HACCPPenn State University ExtensionCornell University College of Agriculture and/or the University of Florida Citrus Extension.

Meat & Poultry: If you plan to make meat or poultry products you will need a license from the Division of Meat Inspection.  The Georgia Department of Agriculture – Division of Meat Inspection regulates and inspects operators who intend to:

Slaughter any livestock or poultry for resale, or who intend to provide a slaughtering service to individual livestock or bird owners. (Slaughtering livestock or poultry of one’s own raising for personal use is exempt from inspection.)

Process any meat or poultry products for wholesale which may also include certain activities associated with retail operations. Fully inspected facility responsibilities include: ante-mortem inspection, post-mortem inspection, sanitation inspection, humane handling verification, labeling verification, verification of the plant’s food safety plan (HACCP plan), residue sampling and product and environmental sampling for common foodborne pathogens.

Things that every entrepreneur should consider

  • Product and Process Development – How do you develop your recipe into a commercial market ready food product? What are important steps of making, packaging, and storage of your product?
  • Food Regulation – What regulatory standards you will need to follow and what agencies (GDA, FDA, USDA) govern your food business? How certain regulatory provisions of USDA/FDA will affect your business?
  • Food Packaging and Labeling – What are your food packaging options? What is the basis of selecting glass, plastic, or metal containers? What goes on my labels and is required by regulations on a food label?
  • Food Safety Issues – What are the basics of food safety?
  • Target Market – What are your target market options? What is market research and how do you use it?

Please do not hesitate to contact me or my team at or call us at 706-542-2574. Please visit our website for for technical services information.

Meating the plant-meal

The health conscious consumers have given a boost to vegetarianism and veganism and meat lovers are at the verse of adopting new source for their protein plant-meat. Yes, you are reading it correct, plant-meat. I am not sure who discovered the word “plant-meat” but in today’s world anything like fake-food, plant-meat, clean-meat, green-meat – all confusing words are making more headlines. People hear these words in social media and it goes viral and become a commercial buzz word for a new product.

The health-conscious consumers are on the lookout for nutritious and convenient food item. The vegetarianism is the key for the hunt of meals that resembles meat in sensory characteristics and not derived from animal sources. This is the point where meat analogue were developed and received its name “plant-meat. Plant-meat or meat analogue is the food which is structurally similar to meat however, differs in nutritional composition. A plant-meat is nothing but a meat analogue or a meat substitute, mock-meat, faux-meat or imitation-meat, and approximates aesthetic characteristics and sensory traits of specific types of meat.

It is true that today’s consumers are very much concerned about sustainable sources of food, climate changes, and our beloved planet. We all should do everything in our power to protect our environment so that next generation could enjoy same or better thing in future. We all know that killing animals for our food is not good. We all agree that feeding 10 billion people in the next 50 years is going to be a big challenge. But we should not agree when someone tries to twist meaning of meaningful words. Meat has always been understood as animal derived food. But somehow now, we seems to be comfortable with names like plant-burger, plant-sausage, plant-bacon, plant-hotdog, plant-jerky, and plant-meat.

What is more confusing is how switching your meal from animal derived food to plant foods is suddenly now going to address a BIG issues like human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare. This sounds like all this while we have been eating only animal derived foods and there were no plant foods in our meal. Looks like we completely forgot spinach, broccoli, potato, and so many vegetables and fruits we have been eating since centuries. This is really a weird way to address big issues like human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare. What is more complex and confusing is how eating broccoli can address animal welfare or climate change, and human health. As if we never ate animal source of food for health.

Texturized vegetable proteins can replace meat products at the same time as imparting an economical, useful and high-protein food aspect or may be fed on immediately as meat analogues. Meat analogues are successful due to their healthful image (LDL cholesterol free), meat-like texture, and low cost. Mycoprotein a meat analog is fungal in starting place and is used as an excessive-protein, low-fat, precise texture and health-promoting food element. All the knowledgeable evaluations stress the desirability to lessen the intake of animal products and growth consumption of fiber-wealthy carbohydrates, plant primarily based proteins and clean fruit and vegetables a good way to minimize risk of heart disease, mature onset diabetes, obesity and (possibly) a few cancers also.

Soya meat/Textured vegetable proteins (TVP) are generally, the ones fabricated vegetable products that can be used to update meat completely in a food serving. Although most of the vegetable proteins are of an inferior exceptional in comparison to the animal protein however legumes are precise supply of protein containing about 25-50% protein. Soya meat is extremely rich in protein with protein content material over 50%, but the protein content material drops while TVP is rehydrated. TVP is produced using hot extrusion of defatted soya proteins, resulting in expanded high protein chunks, nuggets, strips, grains and different shapes, in which the denaturated proteins provide TVP textures just like the meat. The fibrous, insoluble, porous TVP can absorb water. Textured soy proteins (TSP) are processed to impart a shape and look that resembles meat, seafood or poultry while hydrated. Soy protein produce has ended up increasingly more popular due to their low price, high nutritional value, and versatile useful properties.

Quorn–the mycoprotein- Quorn is the brand name for a line of foods made from mycoprotein (Fusarium venenatum). Quorn commodities takes the shape of faux hen patties, nuggets, and cutlets, in addition to imitation floor beef. It springs from a single-celled fungus grown in big fermentation vats which is processed and textured to provide a meal which may be effortlessly incorrect for meat. Generally, the filamentous fungus is high-quality chosen for the manufacturing of a meat substitute because it became believed that the mycelia could impart a fibrous texture, corresponding to that of meat, to the very last product. Quorn products consist of steaks, burgers, hen breasts as well as sliced meats and ready meals which  include lasagna.

Tofu- derived from soybeans is possibly the most widely identified meat alternative; it is a superb supply of protein, calcium, and iron. It is usually available in block form. ‘Tofu’ prepared by way of coagulation of soymilk by CaSO4 or MgCl2 consists of about 8% of general proteins, 4-5% lipids and approximately 2% of carbohydrates on fresh weight basis.

Tempeh is made from soybeans which have been soaked and cooked to melt them. Like bitter dough bread, tempeh calls for a starter culture/inoculum (Rhizopus oligoporus), that’s introduced to the cooked beans. This combination is left for twenty-four hours, and the result is a corporation textured product with a incredibly nutty flavor and a texture much like a chewy mushroom. Tempeh is commercially to be had in the strip and cake form and is used in comparable culinary contexts as tofu because it has a denser, “meatier” texture.

Genetic engineering can beautify the nice of plant primarily based food products through the silencing of genes. New plant primarily based meat analogues ought to taste, feel and odor better than or at the least as top as animal meat in keeping with the perceptions of the majority of customers. It is very probable that flavor (umami flavor related to meat) and texture (fibre like as in meat products) are the maximum crucial keys to success, and at the identical time, the biggest challenges for the researchers.