Are you looking toward selling prepackaged foods in Florida? Then this article is for you. The state of Florida is situated in the Southeastern part of the country. Florida’s food is incredibly diversified, featuring everything from citrus to seafood to many southern favorites, all of which are naturally flavored with the distinctive tastes of Latin and Spanish culture.
It is a large state and one of the top vacation spots for foodies in the nation. What you find also varies depending on where you go because food is always regional.
The majority of new businesses opening in Florida that sell products or provide specific services must sign up for a seller’s permit.
This is also known as a sales & use tax number, sales tax permit, sales tax license, or sales tax registration.
A seller’s permit is necessary for any company leasing or selling tangible property. Through this form on the department’s website, you can also complete this online.
Only a recognized governmental body may issue a Florida Sellers Permit. There may be several government organizations that you need to get in touch with to obtain a Florida Sellers Permit. This will depend on the kind of business you’re running, where you’re operating it from, and any other specific regulations that might apply.
Also in selling prepackaged foods in Florida, pre-packaging is primarily used for food, which is filled and sealed with not giving room for the consumer to test it or demonstrate compliance with packaging rules. Any food that has already been packaged before the sale is referred to as prepackaged food. Any facility in Florida that manufactures, processes, packs, holds, or prepares food, or sells food at wholesale or retail is required to acquire an annual food permit, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS).
Food businesses that only sell packaged foods are often regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It primarily oversees non-alcoholic beverage activities, convenience stores, grocery stores, food processing operations, and wholesale food enterprises (such as juice or smoothie bars and coffee houses).
“A processor of fresh or saltwater finfish, crustaceans, other forms of aquatic animal life (including, but not limited to, alligator, frog, aquatic turtle, jellyfish, sea cucumber, and sea urchin, and the role of such animals), and all mollusks, where such animal life is intended for human consumption, primarily for wholesale distribution,” is how the DOACS defines a seafood processor.
A retail establishment that specializes in the sale of seafood is known as a seafood market. Other items may be available in small quantities, but fish, crustaceans, and shellfish make up the majority of both inventory and sales. Seafood is thought of as prepackaged food.
Many states allow you to license your home kitchen to create baked goods, candies, and high acid canning because they are generally low-risk prepackaged foods. Pickles, salsas, and jams are among examples of these foods, all of which have a generally minimal risk of food-borne disease. A separate commercial kitchen license is typically required for any prepackaged food item that contains potentially dangerous ingredients like meat, cheese, grains, beans, or even cooked vegetables, or for any meal that needs to be refrigerated.
To prepare food for sale to the general public, you need a DOACS permit.
Procedures That Must Be Fulfilled Before Obtaining a License to Sell Food in Florida
Before we give you more information on selling prepackaged foods in Florida, let us look at these procedures.
1. Contact The Relevant Permitting Authorities
For the planned business location, get in touch with the zoning, building, and business tax receipt authorities.
A helpful resource is the county website. Links to the following departments are available on the websites for each Florida county to see whether food sales are allowed.
2. Obtain A Florida Sales Tax Number
Secure a Florida sales tax number. Contact the Department of Revenue, Sales Tax Division, at 800-352-3671, for further information. The department also has a website (see Resources).
3. Obtain A Federal Employer Identification Number
To safeguard the company, get a federal employer identification number (FEIN). To apply for a FEIN, visit the website (see Resources) or call the Internal Revenue Service of the United States at 800-829-4933. It has no associated costs and can be finished the same day.
4. Determine Where You Will Sell Food
Choose the location in the state where you’ll be selling food. The state internet link for Food and Meat Inspection, Licensing Permits Registrations, for instance, must be consulted by people who intend to sell food in a grocery store environment.
The DACS’s Division of Food Safety keeps an eye on a range of food establishments, including mobile vendors who exclusively offer pre-packaged foods and others.
Once compliance is confirmed during a physical inspection, either the DACS or the DBPR may issue a Florida food permit. Complete the initial inspection and permit application found on the state website to get started.
5. Meet Florida Food Regulation Standards
Follow the guidelines outlined on the DACS website. This division follows the steps taken by the DBPR.
It is different, though, when it comes to making sure that the public is charged prices that correspond to those that are posted on goods.
Specific building requirements must be completed by both departments. Download the portable document files offered on the website to learn more.
6. Send Facility Plans
If your company location satisfies specific requirements that do not apply to the DACS, submit facility plans to the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.
For instance, it should be a facility that has just been built, renovated, transformed, or reopened following a year of closure.
7. Obtain Florida Food Permits and Licenses
Complete the application procedure and get food service permits for each on-site food service business. For instance, you run a food cart within a hotel and around the premises (i.e., a hot dog stand).
Visit the Florida food service and lodging website to obtain the license. $50 in application fees are added to license payments for new and transfer applications.
To assess the right fee, you may utilize the calculator provided on the cited site. Apply the listed address on the Public Food Service And Lodging Establishment Licensing website and wait about one month for processing.
8. Schedule An Opening Inspection
Set a date for the opening inspection. Before opening for business, prospective food vendors must pass a sanitary and safety examination.
Remember that the review must be successful and that all fees must be paid. Once authorization has been obtained, contact 850-487-1395 to arrange for an inspection.
Selling Prepackaged Foods in Florida–COTTAGE FOOD
Cottage food is a prepackaged meal that is thought to carry a low risk of food-related disease or damage.
Cottage Food is a low-risk product that can be prepared at home without some of the controls employed for more conventional ready-to-eat foods like those sold in a restaurant or grocery store.
Another component of a cottage food business is the sale of prepared foods. A cottage food operation is described as a natural person or an entity that manufactures or packages cottage food products at the home of a normal individual or at the residence of a normal person who holds an interest in the entity under Section 500.80 of the Florida Statutes.
Since it is so simple for a producer to start selling their products—no license, inspection, or special training from the agriculture department is needed—Florida now has a good cottage food law. Nonperishable goods can be sold for up to $250,000 annually by producers.
Florida exclusively issues Sales and Use Tax Permits, which are the same. Registration for this permit with the state of Florida is free.
These are the procedures to take to launch any type of business in Florida, whether selling prepackaged foods in Florida or any other type:
1. Choose A Business Idea
Having a fantastic idea is the first step. You might have been considering one for a while or you might not have found the inspiration just yet. In either case, it’s critical to develop your business idea to be certain that there is a market for it, that it offers a strong financial opportunity, and that it is the kind of company you want to own.
2. Name Your Florida Business
Our checklist for forming a business in Florida’s following steps almost all call for your company to have a name.
The Fictitious Name FAQ lists various naming restrictions set forth by the State of Florida, such as utilizing your name for your business or requirements for advertising. You can get ideas from the Shopify Business Name Generator to create a name that is memorable and catchy.
Make a short list of appealing potential company names, then look online to see whether any companies are already using the name.
Next, look up whether anybody has already registered the names you like the best as trademarks using the databases of the Florida Division of Corporations and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
You can check whether a suitable web address can be acquired for your business names with the Shopify Domain Name Generator.
3. Create A Business Plan
As part of the business registration procedure, you might not be required to submit a business plan to the State of Florida. A business plan is still advised, nevertheless, when beginning a small company in Florida.
A business plan is a fantastic tool for maintaining your organization, focusing on your objectives, and understanding how your company might expand in the future. The loan officer will probably request a copy of your company plan if you need to apply for a bank loan.
In a business plan, the following are described:
Company information Market research
Organization and Management
Services and Goods
Plan for Logistics and Operations
For ideas, it may be useful to review some sample business plans. When you’re prepared to begin, lay the groundwork for your plan using a template.
4. Choose A Business Structure And Get Started
There are various types of business structures, as you surely already know if you’re beginning a Florida business.
The sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation are the three most popular business formations. Each one has distinct benefits and drawbacks. Let’s examine the three structures and some of the registration processes
5. Obtain Business Permits And Licenses.
Florida does not require a general business license because it is possible to register as a particular business structure instead. But certain industries have licensing requirements for businesses. Typical licenses consist of:
Sales of alcohol
Measurements and weights
Both the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is in charge of licensing in Florida. It’s also likely that you will require a license from one of the state agencies in Florida or one of these other licensing organizations to operate. Florida does not have a centralized licensing system, so be thorough when searching these websites for licensing data that pertains to your company.
6. Research Florida Insurance Options
Even though corporations and LLCs both provide a wide range of legal and financial protections, it’s still a good idea to carry some insurance for your company. Typical forms of commercial insurance include:
The Office of Insurance Regulation oversees and privatizes insurance in Florida.
The State of Florida requires that businesses with employees have worker’s compensation coverage. More information is available from the Florida Department of Financial Services.
7. Understand Financial Considerations
It’s a good idea to keep your personal and business assets and financial resources distinct, regardless of whether you’ve decided to establish a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. Create a business bank account, apply for a business credit card, and think about hiring a business accountant whose knowledge will likely be helpful as you grow your company.
Additionally, you’ll most probably require more money when starting or running your firm. At several financial institutions, you can apply for a bank loan; alternatively, you might want to think about Shopify Capital.
8. Market Your Business
It’s time to move on from completing paperwork and studying regulations to something more fun but equally important: marketing. The final step before you launch is to present your company to your ideal customer in the most effective manner possible, therefore make sure to allot some time to carry out this task.