How to Start a Jam and Jelly Business

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Quick Reference

Are you an expert jam and jelly maker?  Do your friends and family love the jars that you give them for the holidays?  You could turn your jam and jelly-making hobby into a profitable business.  You’d be doing what you enjoy and making money.

Business Overview

A jam and jelly business makes various flavors of jams and jellies, jars them, and sells them directly to customers, online, or retailers for resale.

Industry Summary

According to Intrado, the jam, jelly, and preserves market size was $7.9 billion as of 2020 globally and is expected to grow to $8.9 billion by 2027.  The market has been very stable historically and not significantly impacted by economic fluctuations.

Industry Trends

Jams and jellies are becoming increasingly popular due to consumers looking for healthy and vegan alternatives to other types of spreads.  Jam is the fastest-growing segment of the market.

Target Market

Your target market will be people seeking healthy alternatives to other spreads.

Skills, Experience, and Education Useful in Running a Jam and Jelly Business

There are several specific skills that you will need to open a jam and jelly business.

  • Experience.  Experience making jams and jellies is a must.
  • Business knowledge and experience.  You will need to have a basic understanding of marketing, finance/accounting, and human resources.
  • People skills. You’ll need to build rapport with your customers so that you retain them as customers and keep them coming back.

Costs to Start a Jam and Jelly Business

Here are the typical costs you will face when you open a jam and jelly business.

  • Kitchen Equipment (juice extractor, fruit slicer, pulper, mixer, grinder,  cap sealing machine, bottle washing machine, stove, scales, utensils, etc.) $250 – $2,000
  • Initial supply of ingredients (pectin, fruit, sugar, citric acid, spices, preservatives, etc.) $100 – $500
  • Jars,  labels, and packaging – $100 – $500

Steps to Starting a Jam and Jelly Business

Step 1: Write your Business Plan

After coming up with the idea, the next step in starting your jam and jelly business should be to write a business plan.  The business plan will make you focus on some important aspects of the business, such as who your customers are, how you plan to reach them, projecting sales and expenses, your value proposition to use for marketing, and more. You’ll also need to do some research to calculate exactly what your start-up expenses will be and what your ongoing expenses will be.

Not only will a bank require you to have a business plan if you need financing, but multiple studies have shown that having a good business plan increases the odds of starting a successful business. Writing the plan helps you to think through all the aspects of the business and then serves as a guide as you begin.

How to write a business plan
Free sample business plans

Step 2: Name the Business

Finding the perfect jam and jelly business name can be challenging. Not only does the name have to reflect what you do and be appealing to customers, but it also has to be available to use. You can check your state’s website to see if the name is available and register your name.  Your name should make you stand out, reflect your brand, and tell potential customers exactly what you do.

Step 3: Form a Business Entity

A business entity refers to how a business is legally organized to operate. There are four primary business entities to choose from, which include a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).  Each type of entity has its own pros and cons, such as liability exposure, costs, and administrative requirements.

RelatedComparison of Business Entities

Step 4: Select your Location

You can operate your business from home.

Related: Choosing a business location

Step 5: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has requirements on the safety and labeling of food products –

Additionally, most states also have requirements, however, there are some exclusions businesses with volume under a certain amount.

In addition to food safety, specific licensing, there will likely be general business requirements such as a local business license, sales tax permit, and an Employer Identification Number.  

Related: Common business licenses, permits, and registrations by state

Step 6: Find Financing

Fortunately, the cost to start a jam making business is low, however, if funding is needed, the borrower(s) will need to have good credit and invest 15-25% of their money towards the total start-up costs.

Related: Finding the money to start a business

Step 7: Open a Business Bank Account

Keeping your business and personal finances in separate business bank and credit card accounts makes it easier to track the income and expenses of the business.

Step 8: Get your Marketing Plan in Place

While jams and jellies are sold in grocery stores, you are selling the taste, quality, and uniqueness of your products – in addition to tieing into a locally made product, which people are more than willing to pay more for.

Common marketing techniques for a jam and jelly business include social media marketing and online advertising. Developing a website can be a significant expense, but it can also give your jam and jelly business greater visibility online.  You will also need to make direct sales to retailers unless you only plan to sell directly.

Related: Low-cost ideas to market a new business

Step 9: Get Insurance

A jam and jelly business needs several types of insurance for full coverage:

General liability insurance can help protect you from third-party claims of bodily injury and property damage.

Professional liability insurance protects you from claims of professional errors or negligence that result in a financial loss.

Worker’s compensation insurance covers expenses like medical bills and legal fees that a business might face if an employee were ever hurt while working.

Insurance policies will vary. To get the most accurate idea of what to budget for insurance, request quotes from multiple providers. When comparing the quotes, consider not only the premiums but also how the plan exclusions, coverage limitations, and deductibles compare.

Related: Common types of insurance a business may need

Step 10: Hiring Employees

You may need employees to help you run your jam and jelly business.  Make sure that you select people with appropriate experience and training.

In addition to salary costs, your budget will also need to include other employee-related expenses. Workman’s comp insurance, unemployment insurance, and paid time off are common expenses that a business will need to cover when hiring staff.

Related: Hiring your first employee

Step 11: Set up an Accounting System

Setting up an accounting system for your jam and jelly business is critical to the long-term success of your business.

Staying on top of taxes not only keeps the business out of trouble with the government but the numbers can be used to track and monitor trends and cash flow in the business and maximize profits.

Related: Setting up accounting for your business

How Much Can You Potentially Make Owning a Jam and Jelly Business?

Jams and jellies sell for around $6 -$8 per jar.  If you sell 100 jars a week at $7 per jar, you will make $36,400 In revenue per year.

Things to Consider Before Starting a Jam and Jelly Business

Running a jam and jelly business or any business will have its challenges.  You need to be prepared and make sure that you know what you’re getting into.

Marketing and acquiring customers will be your biggest challenge and an ongoing expense. Your best bet will be to sell to retailers, and that will take a lot of groundwork making sales calls.

You will face competition, so you need to make sure that you are offering a high-quality product.  Be creative with your flavors and recipes and set your business apart.

While having unique flavors is important, you will also need to have the popular flavors, which include (by order of popularity) strawberry, grape, raspberry, blackberry, apricot, blueberry, and cherry.

Talk to other business owners for tips on starting a business and do your homework to determine costs.  Research other jam and jelly businesses to see what they offer and what prices they charge.

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