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Complete a Wholesale Application for your state.

  • As part of this application you are attesting that you have a food safety plan in place and meet the FDA regulations based on your product type. See Food Safety for more details.
    • If you are storing your product off site (other than the kitchen) you need to fill out a second application as a warehouse (and pay the fees)
  • Pay the Application Fees
  • Find a Commissary Kitchen (shared kitchen that you pay rent per hour)
  • Complete a Commissary Agreement (example agreement) with the owner of the kitchen

Collect and remit sales tax, if required

  • When you sell wholesale, you DO NOT add tax to the products you sell to the reseller (they are responsible for taxing the consumer); however, you do want to obtain their employer ID information and keep good records in case of an audit.
  • Collect and submit city sales tax for DTC sales if your city collects for packaged food for home consumption (this is a very important distinction)
  • **Note – most farmers markets will collect sales tax and remit on your behalf; if this is the case, you do NOT need to obtain a sales tax license if you are not selling in other direct to consumer outlets
  • If you sell at a farmers market that does NOT collects for you, you will need to obtain a sales tax license for each city you sell in. 


Your packaging must be food grade, new and clean.  Packaging must be stored in your commissary kitchen once opened.

The more you buy, the more you save and bring your COGS down, but it is an up front investment. Wholesale packaging options to look into:

Packaging & Printing Resources

Food Labels

  • There are a lot of ways to do a label WRONG per the FDA. Purchase a label review here (FBS clients save $100) and I will help you with best marketing practices, your nutrition facts panel and FDA compliance. 

Ingredients are expensive at the grocery store. Look for bulk options. Here are a few.

Bulk Ingredients


  • Design a label that  meets labelling requirements for each product you are submitting
  • Claims are highly regulated through the FDA.  If you are including a claim on your label (low-fat, heart-healthy, etc.) do your due diligence or seek the help of a professional (see resources below)

Purchase UPC codes for your product

  • While not technically required for farmers markets or some independent retail stores, after you are confident of your path into wholesale obtain a UPC code and add on the label
  • ONLY purchase directly from GS1 – view the get started guide
    • Cheaper UPC providers may buy and resell codes multiple times and they will be licensed to their company name, not yours as ALL barcodes originate with GS1.  Learn more here
    • If you are going to sell on Amazon and other major ecommerce sites, they require that the GS1 company prefix be registered to your business
    • Short video here is a good overview
  • 10 UPCs for $250 – see pricing information here.
  • You may need two UPCs for each product (one for individual bottle and one for case (ie: purchased in cases of 6 or 12)

Note: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment oversees your food safety plan and if you are inspected you will need to provide required documents or face product embargo.  They are very willing to talk with you as a producer and walk you through the steps although they cannot make recommendations.

All Products

  • Register with the FDA if product, packaging or ingredients have interstate commerce: www.access.fda.gov
  • A Food Safety Plan that may include*
    • Qualified individual training
    • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
    • Preventative Controls
    • Record keeping
    • Supply Chain
    • Additional items based on your product type
    • You may be able to qualify for an exemption to some of these requirements, or modified requirements based on the sales of your business.
    • Title 21 Parts 117 A – G guidance
    • Get the FDA Food Safety Plan Builder Here

Refrigerated Product

  • If you want to sell DTC you will ALSO need a Retail Food Establishment License through your county since your product is considered Potentially Hazardous

Acidified Product

  • Register with the FDA as a Food Facility
    • All food AND packaging that crosses state lines is under FDA regulation.
    • You must register your business with the FDA unless every ingredient and packaging comes from within the state (ie: honey packed in jars made in CO)
    • Or if you sell your product out of state

Additional Resource Links 


Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

FDA – How to start a food business

FDA Guidance by Product Type




Bottled Water, Carbonated Soft Drinks



Small Business:


Food Defense:


Testing services:

Murray Labs


A Commissary Kitchen will require Product Liability Insurance with $1M in protection

  • FLIP– specifically for food businesses starting at $299/year
  • Other insurance options to look into are Hartford, Allstate, State Farm, National and Liberty

Many cities don’t require a food-specific business license. It is best to check with the city that you are making your product in (your commissary kitchen)

While not required, you may want to consider the following:

  • Form an LLC to protect your personal assets
    • Be sure to complete an operating agreement even if you are a single member LLC.  This goes into your files and helps show the differentiation between you and your business if there is ever an issue.
  • Obtain your EIN number
  • Open a business banking account at your local bank (bring copies of your EIN and state business filing)
    • Going forward, use this account to make all of your business purchases
  • Wholesale Sheet
    • Tells a buyer about you and the product, the varieties, sizes and pricing
  • Labeled samples
  • Product card
    • Similar to a wholesale sheet but is usually smaller and doesn’t include pricing
    • Give to customers who love your product or use at trade shows
  • Business card
  • T-shirt and other wearable branding (don’t market anyone else’s product buy your own!)
  • Shelf talkers
  • You will be responsible for charging and remitting sales tax for your home city (where you produce)
  • We recommend Shopify as it is built for commerce (starts at $29/mo with shipping discounts and easy to build your site)
  • WordPress/WooCommerce, Wix, Squarespace all have e-commerce platforms as well. We do NOT recommend GoDaddy
  • You will want a strategy for shipping and how you will charge for this
  • Add nutrition information (panel or list)
    • Not required for businesses selling under $500,000, but conveys professionalism and is expected by the consumer in a retail environment
    • Your business will be held accountable by the FDA for accurate nutrition information and the requirements are changing.

Work with a Co-packer to make your product

  • Should you work with a co-packer & what to know video here
  • Fiddle.io list here
  • Nationwide list by state - SFA
  • Partner Slate – paid service that matches brands with suppliers and co-packing facilities.
  • Build a website using a simple WordPress template, Shopify or Squarespace
  • Set up social media accounts – Instagram and Facebook are a must





We strive to provide the resources you need to start your food business, but it is very common that you will be feeling all three of these emotions. 

That's why we started Food Business Success™ and launched an online six week Startup Accelerator program. This course takes the trial and error out of starting a food business and gives you a step-by-step roadmap for success so you can launch your business with confidence!


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