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Last updated: 03.01.24

Starting a Cake Business From Home: What You Need to Know to Operate Safely

 

Thanks to the likes of social media and popular TV shows, such as The Great British Bake Off, there’s been an explosion of interest in baking in recent years. As a result, hundreds of individuals have been inspired across the country to create their very own baking businesses. 

Not to mention that with the likes of particular social media platforms making marketing more accessible and affordable than ever, it’s not surprising that people have decided to do this from home. Also, if there’s one thing that many social media baking influencers have shown fellow bakers and entrepreneurs, it’s that it’s more than possible to maintain a successful baking business from the comforts of your own home

In the UK, data from the FSB has shown that there are as many as 5.5 million small businesses, which accounts for a whopping 99.2% of total businesses across the country. Alongside this, there has interestingly been an increase in insurance policies for bakery businesses across the country. This highlights just how many people have decided to take the leap in starting a small baking business to share their creative flare and love for sweet treats with others!

Much like starting any new business venture, there’s much to be learned to ensure that you’re knowledgeable about creating your cake business at home and complying with all relevant laws, guidelines, and regulations. When you’re trying to wrap your head around where to begin with your home baking business, this can be an overwhelming feat. Whether it is understanding the food hygiene and safety laws in the UK or knowing what official bodies you need to be registered with, we’ve delved into exactly what you need to know when starting a cake business from home.

Do FSA Requirements Apply to My Home Baking Business? 

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has created guidance for those who produce food for community or charity purposes. However, these guidelines apply only to those preparing food if there is not a certain continuity of activities and a particular degree of organisation. For this to apply, activities must occur less frequently than once a month. As a result, this is unlikely to be suitable for home businesses, which ultimately means that you almost certainly will be subject to the normal requirements and regulations of the FSA.

For those who don’t know, the FSA is a government department that has been implemented to protect the health of the public in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England. It is essential to follow FSA advice and guidelines for the continued success of your cake business and the health of your customers. 

What are the Legal Requirements for Me to Have a Cake Business at Home?

The FSA has laid out a number of guidelines for starting a food business safely which are applicable to you starting your home baking journey safely, which we touch upon in more detail below.

Implementing a Management System in Line With HACCP

There is legislation in place that requires food businesses to have a documented food safety management system based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) best practices. This will require you to pinpoint and document factors that could potentially make your food a risk to customers, and you must then document the measures you take to prevent these risks. 

This is a mandatory requirement in line with this legislation and should any hazards occur, you must make a record of them and how you’ve dealt with them.

FSA Requirements

The FSA outlines a number of rules that you must abide by in order for your baking business premises to be deemed safe, which are as follows.

In your home baking business and in food preparation areas, you must: 

  • Have ceilings, walls, and floors that are easy to clean and are in good condition
  • Have doors and windows which can be easily kept clean
  • Have surfaces that are kept in good condition and are easy to keep clean
  • Have facilities to be able to wash food
  • Have facilities to store cleaning equipment
  • Have the facilities to dispose of and store food waste appropriately
  • Have equipment which is all in good, working order and is cleaned regularly
  • Undergo a fire risk assessment at your business premises
  • Make efforts to prevent pests from contaminating your business

Food Labelling and Allergen Requirements

If a customer with a food allergy consumes an ingredient they cannot eat, the effects can be life-threatening or lead to long-term health conditions. In the UK, an estimated two million people are living with diagnosed food allergies, according to the FSA.

To avoid any situation when someone with a food allergy is in danger, there are laws in place relating to how allergen information is provided by food businesses. There is EU legislation, and other legislation such as Natasha’s Law, in place that requires businesses to label their products with the full ingredient information. 

This helps those with allergies to avoid foods that could be dangerous to them. If labelling is not practical, such as if the food is on display, or the packaging cannot contain information, then the information must be readily available to any customers who ask to see it.

Your baking business must also highlight any allergens that have been used in the ingredients, including gluten, eggs, peanuts, nuts, milk and sesame, all of which are frequently used in cake baking. 

What Food Safety Management Procedures Do I Need to Follow? 

The FSA has its own “Safer Food, Better Business” resource for food businesses to refer to in order to understand the food safety and hygiene management methods that they should implement in their business on a daily basis. Below are the details of these methods alongside the reasons why they are important to implement in your home baking business.

  • Minimise Cross-contamination: Cross-contamination can pose a real risk to your customers’ health as it can transmit foodborne illnesses, such as E.coli and Salmonella. Be sure to use different food preparation equipment for different types of food, alongside keeping these foods separate in storage areas like fridges and freezers. Washing hands is also crucial to minimise the risk of cross-contamination in food businesses.
  • Proper Cooking, Chilling, and Storage of Food: It’s critical to understand the temperatures at which you should be cooking, reheating, chilling, or freezing food in order for it to be safe to consume.
  • Managing Your Food Preparation and Production Environment: You must make sure you’re monitoring your food safety procedures and conducting necessary checks, such as checking the temperature of your fridges and freezers, to contribute to the maintenance of good health and safety standards in your small baking business.
  • Cleaning Your Premises Thoroughly: You need to regularly clean your premises, equipment, and appliances to maintain a contaminant-free environment that is hygienic to produce your cakes.
  • Keeping a Record of your Safety and Hygiene Actions: It is essential that you record any temperatures of fridges and freezers, when health and safety checks have taken place, and other essential safety and hygiene-related information for future reference, especially in the case of an inspection. 

Do I Need to Register My Business Even When I’m Baking at Home? 

If you are preparing food in your home, you must register your cake-selling business with your local authority. There are different processes for this depending on where you live, so it’s important to get in touch with your local council at the earliest opportunity as they’ll help you understand exactly what you need to do. 

You’ll need to register with Environmental Health. This can be done by contacting your local authority and being transferred to their Environmental Health Department. 

Inform them that you are starting up a cake business from home and they will talk you through the necessary steps to get you registered. This is a free process and as soon as this registration has been approved, Environmental Health will send an Environmental Health Officer to review your premises and you should be able to begin selling your products. 

This is essential to be compliant with the legal requirements for setting up a food business in the UK as, regardless of where you’re operating from, governing bodies need to know that you’re operating safely.

Will I Be Inspected Like Other Food Businesses?

Once you have registered your cake business at home, an environmental health officer will visit your home to inspect your premises, the food you make and prepare, how you work, and your food safety management system. This is just like other food businesses including restaurants, cafes, and bars.

These environmental health officers work on behalf of a number of government bodies, such as the FSA, the Environment Agency (EA), and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Your business can be inspected at any time and they can request to see records of your risk assessment as and when they choose, so make sure you keep a record of this and can easily access it whenever necessary. 

Roughly, you can expect such visits once or twice a year depending on how you’ve performed in your initial assessment, which will be more frequent if you’ve been deemed higher risk or less frequent if you’ve been deemed lower risk. 

How Do I Prove I Have Good Food Hygiene?

We’ve already mentioned how it’s important to prepare for food hygiene inspections, and certifications can be useful to do this.

While those working in food businesses are not required to have a food hygiene certificate, it certainly helps prove to your customers and environmental health inspectors that you have good food safety and hygiene. In addition, EU law mandates that anyone working with food has training appropriate to their role. 

While the specifics of this aren’t detailed, it’s generally recognised that everyone working with food needs the Food Hygiene Certificate to Level 2, and this most certainly goes for home bakers. 

A Level 2 Food Hygiene Course offers the grounding of knowledge that you need to start a cake business, which we offer at Virtual College. This is an inexpensive method for you to gain the necessary knowledge for operating safely in a food handling, production, and storage environment so that you can put this into practice.

Where Can I Get Help When Starting a Cake Business From Home?

As we’ve already discussed, your local authority will be able to help you with all of the registration queries, as well as give you guidance on what they expect in terms of food safety. However, it’s likely that you’ll need some training as well.

Our range of food hygiene courses and health and safety courses offer the groundings you’ll need in operating your cake business from home, many of which are comprehensive and can be completed in just a few hours so you can begin selling cakes in no time! 

FAQs

Do I Need a Licence to Sell Homemade Cakes?

Whilst there isn’t a specific licence that you need to sell your homemade cakes, you should obtain a food hygiene certificate and register with your local authority, as previously mentioned in this article. Other than this, and complying with food safety legislation in the UK and EU, you’re all set to start your cake business from home. 

Can I Sell Cakes from Home as a Hobby?

Whilst your cake baking and decorating may begin as a hobby, if you plan on progressing this to a stage where you sell your sweet treats to customers, you will need to register your company and gain the relevant food hygiene certificate.

Do I Need Insurance to Sell Cakes from Home? 

If you’re starting up a cake business from home, you must gain cake-baking insurance to cover yourself and your business operations. Public liability insurance for bakers, for example, covers you against any accidents that take place in your kitchen or elsewhere whilst you’re working. It’s also possible to add additional cover should you have particularly valuable equipment. Also, should you gain employees, you must have employers’ liability cover, as this is a legal requirement. 

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Summary

There’s much to consider when starting a cake business from home. But, with the right knowledge of hygiene and safety procedures, food legislation, and what expectations governing bodies have of you, you are guaranteed to thrive in your new venture. We hope that this article has shared with you the insight that you need to get your cake-baking business off the ground and grow your confidence when taking the first steps to lay the foundations for a successful future. 


If you’re looking at starting a cake business from home, our Food Safety and Hygiene Fundamentals Package is just what you need to have the relevant knowledge and skills to ensure that your business operates safely and hygienically when creating your sweet treats.