15 Specialty Food Business Success Stories [2024]

Updated: November 19th, 2023
Start A Specialty Food Business

Specialty food refers to a category of food prepared in small quantities using premium and unique ingredients sourced globally. Quality ingredients add an extra health dimension to produced foods and provide a wide range of micro-ingredients like vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.

According to research, the global specialty food ingredients market is expanding at an annual growth rate of 6.4%.

Therefore, starting a specialty food business in 2024 could be your big-time business idea. Identify a niche and pick a reliable supplier for your business. Decide on the business type and register it before applying for business licenses and permits.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a specialty food business:

1. Simple Goodness Sisters ($84K/year)

Belinda and Venise, the Simple Goodness Sisters, came up with the idea for their business while running a mobile bar company. Clients constantly asked how to recreate the fresh, farm-fresh drinks served at their events, leading them to develop their own small-batch, homemade mixers made with ingredients from Venise's farm. After much research and hard work, they launched their farm-to-bar mixers and accessories in Fall 2018, with their products gaining popularity in the cocktail and alcohol-free cocktail scene.

How much they make: $84K/year
How much did it cost to start: $30K
Current team size: 0

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How We Left Our Jobs At Tech Companies To Sell Farm Fresh Cocktail Ingredients

Simple Goodness Sisters is a lifestyle beverage brand that produces "farm to bar" cocktail mixers and accessories made with natural, sustainable ingredients, growing at a rate of 4 times their original production.

About
Belinda started Simple Goodness Sisters over 5 years ago
Revenue
Belinda grew the business to $7K/month
Costs
It cost Belinda $30000 to start the business
Read by 8,751 founders

2. Liberated Specialty Foods ($1.2M/year)

After her daughter was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases, Stacey started hand-making food to meet her daughter's dietary needs. Realizing the need to help others in a similar position, she founded Liberated Specialty Foods to provide baked goods and sauces that are free from additives. The business has grown rapidly, with over 1,000 retailers now selling their products, including major chains like Whole Foods and Walmart.

How much they make: $1.2M/year
Current team size: 20

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How I Started A $100K/Month Food For Auto-Immune Sufferers Business

Liberated Specialty Foods saw impressive growth, going from 100 retailers in 2016 to over 1,000 currently, while selling a range of foods online and in stores that are suitable for Keto, Paleo, Atkins, and trending diets, with a focus on helping those suffering from autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s and Colitis.

About
Stacey started Liberated Specialty Foods about 9 years ago
Revenue
Stacey grew the business to $100K/month
Read by 5,051 founders

So... can you actually make money with a specialty food business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

3. janori ($36K/year)

Raphael and Johanna Spannocchi founded janori after realizing the flaws in the current food distribution system. They wanted to create a platform that connected customers directly with local food producers, allowing them to support small businesses and enjoy delicious, organic products. After launching in November 2020, their best-seller was the Christmas box, containing chocolates, sugared almonds, and more.

How much they make: $36K/year
How much did it cost to start: $10K
Current team size: 0

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How We Started A $3K/Month Local, Organic Foods Online Store

Janori, an online store founded by Raphael and Johanna Spannocchi, sells local, organic food and offers monthly food boxes with 80+ products from 14 vendors, with its best-seller being the Christmas box, and aims to create a circle of support for suppliers by focusing on the people and creating compelling content.

About
Johanna started janori over 3 years ago
Revenue
Johanna grew the business to $3K/month
Costs
It cost Johanna $10000 to start the business
Read by 4,680 founders

4. ChipMonk Baking ($1.08M/year)

The founders of ChipMonk, David Downing and Jose Hernandez, came up with the idea for their low carb, gluten-free dessert business after Jose, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, baked his own low carb chocolate chip cookies. Realizing the opportunity to fill a market gap, they started selling their cookies at local farmer's markets before scaling up production and launching their website. They have since raised $350,000 and are focused on building their own bakery and warehouse space to support future growth.

How much they make: $1.08M/year
How much did it cost to start: $5K
Current team size: 10

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How We Started A $25K/Month Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Desserts Business

ChipMonk co-founders built a mail-order bakery selling low carb, gluten-free desserts, making around $25,000 a month with growth through e-commerce, and plans to tighten budgets and conserve cash in challenging times.

About
David started ChipMonk Baking over 5 years ago
Revenue
David grew the business to $90K/month
Costs
It cost David $5000 to start the business
Read by 13,558 founders

So... can you actually make money with a specialty food business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

5. Baltimore in a Box ($420K/year)

Ross Nochumowitz founded Baltimore in a Box after realizing there was a demand for Baltimore-inspired care packages. He started by curating boxes with iconic Baltimore items and offering customization options for customers. Despite initial challenges and a plain-looking box, the business gained traction and received attention from local media, leading to its success.

How much they make: $420K/year
How much did it cost to start: $500
Current team size: 1

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How I Created A $35K/Month Baltimore Themed Gift Box

Baltimore in a Box founder Ross Nochumowitz created a customized gifting company that allows customers to easily send iconic products from Baltimore to loved ones anywhere in the world, resulting in steady business growth with minimal digital marketing efforts and expanding into corporate gifting with orders increasing year after year.

About
Ross started Baltimore in a Box over 9 years ago
Revenue
Ross grew the business to $35K/month
Costs
It cost Ross $500 to start the business
Read by 4,698 founders

So... can you actually make money with a specialty food business?

Of course. There are millions to be made in this industry.

But how?

  1. Research real, profitable businesses and see exactly how much money they make.
  2. Study exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
  3. Take action, because now you have the roadmap.

Join Starter Story and build your next big thing:

Start Now

6. Cape Whoopies, Maine's Gourmet Whoopie Pie LLC ($960K/year)

Marcia Wiggins, founder of Cape Whoopies, came up with the idea for her business after tasting her first whoopie pie and realizing it had great potential for unique flavor combinations. With a mission to share delicious whoopie pies made with the highest quality ingredients, Marcia started selling her products online and opened a brick & mortar store that she shares with a coffee shop. Sales have increased by an impressive 81.16% in the first month of operation.

How much they make: $960K/year
Current team size: 1

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Building A $200K/Year Pie Business From Our Home Kitchen

Cape Whoopies increased their total sales by 40% by partnering with a coffee shop, scaled their business up by doubling their equipment and incorporating temperature-tracking computer chips to test the temperature for shipping, and grew by 150%, making 47% of sales online and the remaining 53% from their brick & mortar storefront.

About
Marcia started Cape Whoopies, Maine's Gourmet Whoopie Pie LLC over 11 years ago
Revenue
Marcia grew the business to $80K/month
Read by 11,595 founders

7. Chandler Honey ($120K/year)

Tique Chandler, the founder of Chandler Honey, came up with the idea for her infused honey brand by leveraging her knowledge of beekeeping and her desire to make honey more exciting. She created interesting flavors and used bright branding to differentiate her product. In under two years, Chandler Honey is now in 150+ stores in Canada and continues to grow.

How much they make: $120K/year
How much did it cost to start: $50K
Current team size: 1

article

How I Launched A Flavoured Honey Brand & Made $16K In 30 Days

Chandler Honey is a Canadian organic honey brand with unique flavors, founded by Tique Chandler. With only 2 years since incorporation, the brand is now in 150+ stores in Canada and brings in $10k revenue monthly.

About
Tique started Chandler Honey over 3 years ago
Revenue
Tique grew the business to $10K/month
Costs
It cost Tique $50000 to start the business
Read by 4,511 founders

8. Jaju Pierogi ($960K/year)

Jaju Pierogi, founded by sisters Casey and Vanessa White, started as a side project selling pierogi at farmers' markets and pop-up events. With a background in the corporate world and a love for their Polish heritage, they saw a gap in the market for high-quality, handmade pierogi. Fast forward to August 2022, Jaju Pierogi is now in multiple grocery chains and over 650 specialty independent stores, with a monthly revenue of $80,000-$100,000.

How much they make: $960K/year
How much did it cost to start: $3.5K
Current team size: 5

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Our Grandfathers Recipe Inspired Us To Start A $1M/Year Pierogi Business

Jaju Pierogi started off as a side hustle at farmers' markets and festivals back in 2016, and as of August 2022, they are in multiple grocery chains and over 650 specialty independent stores with a monthly revenue hovering between $80,000-$100,000.

About
Casey started Jaju Pierogi over 7 years ago
Revenue
Casey grew the business to $80K/month
Costs
It cost Casey $3500 to start the business
Read by 3,307 founders

9. Urban Smokehouse ($1.5M/year)

Andrew Buehler, founder of Urban Smokehouse, came up with the idea for his business after noticing the growing market trend and opportunity for online delivery of perishable items during the COVID-19 lockdown. As a foodie with a background in financial services, Buehler saw the rising demand for BBQ, a food that tastes great but is often inconvenient to make, and decided to create a digitally native BBQ brand that offers pre-cooked and sauced ribs that can be easily prepared at home in under 20 minutes. He launched Urban Smokehouse as a Kickstarter project and quickly surpassed his goal, raising over $30,000 in pre-orders.

How much they make: $1.5M/year
How much did it cost to start: $15K
Current team size: 5

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How We Hit Our Goal Within 24 Hours On Kickstarter And Raised $30K+ Worth of Preorders

Andrew Buehler launched Urban Smokehouse, the world’s first digitally native BBQ brand, through a Summer Kickstarter campaign, raising over $30,000 in pre-orders; since then, the company has achieved monthly sales of over $5,000 split between their website and in-person pop-ups and events, relying heavily on word of mouth and organic social media.

About
Andrew started Urban Smokehouse over 1 year ago
Revenue
Andrew grew the business to $125K/month
Costs
It cost Andrew $15000 to start the business
Read by 2,554 founders

10. Karachi Kitchen ($24K/year)

Sadaf, the co-founder and designer behind Karachi Kitchen Foods, started the business with her mother, a long-time chef and culinary instructor. They launched their business after collaborating on a self-published cookbook, which won a Gourmand Award. Despite facing setbacks due to Covid and learning about federal and state regulations, they have seen sales more than double since launching their online store.

How much they make: $24K/year
How much did it cost to start: $5K
Current team size: 0

article

This Mother And Daughter Started A Side Hustle Selling Chutneys And Spices

Karachi Kitchen Foods saw over 200% growth in sales in the past year, offering seven different chutneys and spices, and plans to launch an online subscription box and publish recipes on their website in coming months.

About
Sadaf started Karachi Kitchen about 4 years ago
Revenue
Sadaf grew the business to $2K/month
Costs
It cost Sadaf $5000 to start the business
Read by 1,801 founders

11. Napkin LLC ($96K/year)

The business started as Maura's graduation project, which was originally to make Napkin a hard cider company. Eventually, she met a woman with a farm-to-table restaurant business and helped her develop operational systems. She enjoyed this work and started acquiring more clients in the same niche.

How much they make: $96K/year
How much did it cost to start: $500
Current team size: 0

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How I Started My $8K/Month Mission-Driven Food Consulting Company

Napkin LLC is a consulting firm aimed at helping mission-driven food and farm people thrive through solutions-oriented business planning, with services including Production Capacity, System Integration, Hospitality Management, and Demand Generation, charging $50-$150 per hour based on the client.

About
Maura started Napkin LLC almost 5 years ago
Revenue
Maura grew the business to $8K/month
Costs
It cost Maura $500 to start the business
Read by 1,325 founders