Do I need a license to sell homemade food in Saskatchewan?

Updated: May 14, 2024

Published: May 14, 2024

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Selling homemade food is a great idea if you’re looking into starting your first home-based business. You don’t need a commissary kitchen or entire retail store, but you still need to comply with food regulations in order to sell homemade food safely in Saskatchewan. It might seem intimidating at first, but in this article, we’ll walk through all the requirements and offer general advice for selling homemade food in the province of Saskatchewan.

What counts as a home-based food business in Saskatchewan? 

Inspired by “cottage food” laws in the US, Saskatchewan was the first province in Canada to relax the restrictions on selling home-based foods in 2016. This means that you can operate a home-based food business just with your home kitchen.

How it works: People can order from you online through social media or a simple ecommerce solution designed for home-based food businesses like FormPay. Then, you can let your customers pick them up from your home or you can deliver it to them.

The Saskatchewan government has made starting an independent food business easy and low cost, so that you can try out your food business idea without ever having to leave your home!

What can you sell at a home-based food business in Saskatchewan? 

The Government of Saskatchewan allows you to sell the following “low-risk” non-perishable food types from home, including:

  • Baked goods/desserts without cream, custard, or meat fillings, e.g. cakes, squares, cookies, fruit pies,
  • pastries
  • Pickled vegetables made with salt and vinegar, i.e. cucumbers, peppers, beets, carrots, green tomatoes
  • and onions (pH 4.6 or less)
  • Relish (pH 4.6 or less)
  • Honey, jam, jelly and applesauce
  • Wine and herb vinegar
  • Dry noodles that do not contain eggs
  • Dried grains, seeds, herbs, and spices
  • Cereals, granola, trail mixes
  • Fudge, candy, cotton candy, syrup, toffee and chocolate
  • Popcorn, popcorn balls
  • Dried fruits
  • Dry baking mixes
  • Mustard
  • Candied apples
  • Dried or dehydrated vegetables
  • Dried vegetarian-based soup mixes
  • Vegetable and potato chips
  • Ground chocolate
  • Seasoning salt

Additionally, the foods you sell cannot require refrigeration. Technically, “low risk” foods are defined as food with pH level of 4.6 or below and water activity level of 0.85.

How to open a home-based food business in Saskatchewan

Though you don’t need to set up an entire store to start selling your home-made food, there are still several steps you need to take in order to ensure that you’re doing so safely.

  1. Determine what you food you're selling: Remember, you can only sell “low risk” foods as listed above. “Low risk” foods generally means your products have more acid, salt, sugar and lower amounts of water. If you want to sell foods that are not listed above, but you believe would be considered “low risk” to sell, you should send your food samples to a lab to get it tested to ensure that it complies to the technical definition of “low risk” food. This costs anywhere from $35 to $150 and the lab results, if successful, must be available upon inspection from the health authority.
  2. Label your food properly: You must label your food items to let your customers know that you made the food in your home kitchen. Specifically, the label must include the text “Made in a Home Kitchen That is Not Inspected by a Government Agency”, the name of the food, food preparation date, your name, your business name if applicable, home address, phone number, in 12-pt font minimum.
  3. Complete a food safety course: You need to get a food safety course certificate from your local health region in Saskatchewan. These courses can be done in person or online.
  4. Ensure safe water quality: If you’re using a public water supply in your home for food preparation, then you’re cleared on this requirement. However, if you are planning to use privately supplied water as part of your food preparation, you must get laboratory testing for the water to make sure it’s safe for human consumption.
  5. Determine if you need to get a business licence: Check with your municipality to see if you need to register your home-based business.
  6. Set up an online store to sell your food: The easiest way to sell your home-based food is to sell online. We recommend that you use a simple ecommerce tool like FormPay that’s designed to help home-based food businesses like yours get started easily and quickly.
  7. Sell in-person at farmers’ markets and food fairs: You can choose to sell your home-made food at markets and fairs, but you may need additional food permits to do that. We’ll cover this in a section below.
  8. Market your home-based food business and start selling: Once you’ve checked off all the regulatory and safety boxes to get started, you’re off to the races to start selling. It’s always best to try selling to friends and family first, then use social media to spread the word to people who will most likely buy from you. Get more tips on how to promote your home-based food business here.

For more detailed and up-to-date regulatory information on home-based food business in Saskatchewan, please consult the government’s website directly on home-based food regulations and specifically the Home Food Processing Fact Sheet.

Do you need a license to sell homemade food in Saskatchewan?

As long as you’re selling “low risk” foods, there are no additional licenses specifically to sell homemade food in Saskatchewan from the Government of Saskatchewan. You just have to comply with their home-based food requirements. However, your municipality may have separate business registration requirements for food and non-food businesses, which you will have to look into. You can also register your business with the province or federal government, but this is not specific to home-based food businesses.

How to sell homemade food at farmers’ markets and food fairs in Saskatchewan

A classic way to sell your homemade food is in person at a farmer’s market or a food fair. Depending on the event and the types of food you’re making, you may need a temporary food licence. If you’re a community organization selling foods like hot dogs, pre-cooked burgers, pre-packaged foods, and the same types of “low-risk” foods listed above—non-perishable foods that don’t require refrigeration—you don’t need a temporary food licence. 

On the other hand, if you sell foods at large events where there may be multiple food vendors for commercial purposes, you will have to obtain a Temporary Food Service Event - Vendor Application to sell your food.

How to sell homemade food online in Saskatchewan

The more convenient option is to sell your food online. That way, once you’ve gotten the basic requirements for opening a food business out of the way, you can immediately start selling your food out of your home.

Collecting order information and payment can be time-consuming, so using a service like FormPay that’s designed for home-based food businesses can help. You can set up a simple and professional looking store that accepts digital payments like credit card, Google Pay and Apple Pay, in just minutes. It also costs nothing to get started and there are no costly monthly fees.

As an e-commerce tool that saves time for both businesses and customers, many independent food businesses in Canada like G Sweets and Uncle Tim’s Delicacies have used FormPay to increase sales, reduce admin time, and streamline the buying process for their customers. 

How to sell homemade baked goods in Saskatchewan

Most baked goods count as “low-risk” food in Saskatchewan, meaning that you can make them in  your home kitchen and sell the baked goods from your home to individual customers or wholesalers. 

Not all baked goods could be sold from home though. You can only sell baked goods and desserts like cakes, squares, candies cookies, pies, chocolates, as long as there's no cream, custard, or meat fillings in them. For more information, please check out the food regulatory requirements from the Government of Saskatchewan here

Once you figure out how to comply with homemade food regulations, you’ll want a way to sell the food online. You can use FormPay, an ecommerce site you can set up in minutes, to help you start selling your baked goods online quickly like G Sweets.

Summary

Saskatchewan is one of the easiest provinces to sell homemade food and baked goods from. You just need to make sure you comply with their provincial regulations on home-based food businesses like labelling and water safety requirements, and sell “low risk” foods only. Once you’re all cleared, you can start using simple e-commerce tools for home-based food like FormPay to help make it easy to make your first sale from home!

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