For aspiring business owners, there are excellent food business ideas in India to choose from. The cuisines in India are as diverse and flavourful as the culture. Done right, food businesses can be one of those very few businesses that enjoy the right monetary returns and a growing loyal customer base. The organized food service sector is expected to reach $37 Billion by 2025.
Top 25 Food Business Ideas in India
This article will discuss 25 of the most exciting and lucrative food business ideas in India that both seasoned and new entrepreneurs can consider.
#1 Fitness Food
To maintain a fit body, a well-balanced diet is just as important as working out. Most people don’t know this, and even if they do, most of them don’t have the time to make themselves the meals that go with their fitness plans.
This is a niche in the food services industry that specializes in preparing food in advance for athletes, bodybuilders, and even gym-going citizens.
It would be better to start this business once you have already made a list of potential clients by getting in touch with gyms and fitness centres. This is one of the fastest-growing food business ideas in India.
#2 Organic Food Farm
In recent years, there has been a steep rise in the popularity of organic food items as more people are choosing a healthier lifestyle. These people are ready to pay a premium for high-quality organic products.
Although most supermarkets and chain stores offer some organic food products, there is unmet demand in the market. A store that exclusively sells organic food products can easily win over customers from supermarkets and gain their loyalty.
#3 Food Kiosk
People eat and drink on the go. This has led to the popularity of kiosks which are everywhere, including malls, movie theatres, parks, or any other location that sees a lot of people coming and going by.
Kiosks are convenient because they don’t need a human to operate them. Kiosks placed in the right location with the right offerings are guaranteed to attract customers.
#4 Food Truck
Kiosks are limited on the kind of offerings they can sell. This is not the case with a food truck, and this is why long lines of customers can be seen in front of food trucks.
The most popular item offered by food trucks is different kinds of sandwiches, beverages like tea, coffee, and carbonated drinks.
Food trucks can expect to draw a good number of customers if they focus on areas like parks, colleges, schools, IT parks, etc. It is one of the more successful street food business ideas in India.
#5 Fast Food Restaurant
These days when time is scarce, fast food has become a necessity. The demand for fast food is growing by the day. Fast food restaurants can sell classic options like burgers, sandwiches, and pizza and also include Indian snacks like vada pav, samosa, and chaat.
It is recommended to stick to one cuisine rather than mixing two or more together because it might end up confusing customers.
There are two ways to start this business. The first option is for the owners to build their own brand from the ground up. The second option is to buy a franchise of a reputed fast-food brand like McDonald’s or Domino’s Pizza. The right fast food business ideas in India will reap good returns on investment.
#6 Home Tiffin Business
This is an easy and one of the best food business ideas in India from home with low investment. All that’s needed are a few customers to start off to generate a decent income.
This service is in great demand in cities and towns where there is a considerable population of people from other regions of the country.
These are people who don’t have the time to make themselves an excellent home-cooked meal but actively seek out sellers who do.
Anyone interested in this business can start by rolling out services to potential customers in their immediate neighbourhood and then slowly branch out to other areas if it makes sense to do so.
#7 Cloud Kitchens
With the popularity of food delivery platforms, cloud kitchens have become extremely popular as one of the most lucrative online food business ideas in India.
In most cases, the initial investment is very low because this can be started from a home kitchen at a small scale.
High profitability per dish is the most significant benefit of cloud kitchens as there are no additional operating costs other than the cost of production and delivery. Delivery can also be taken care of by third-party food delivery services like Zomato and Swiggy.
The food catering business in India is estimated to be around ₹15,000 to 20,000 crores in value. Much like cloud kitchens, a catering business also carries high-profit margins.
Catering services are not only sought after for events like weddings; even small house parties require catering services. They can also provide food to employees at IT Parks and other offices.
A catering business can be started at a small scale from a home kitchen. Based on the growth trajectory of the business, a dedicated kitchen with all the necessary equipment can be set up. One trick to succeed is specializing in one type of food like Chinese, Italian, Thai, etc.
The demand for nutritionists is on the rise as people are becoming more conscious about their diet. Different people have different goals in terms of health, and they are willing to pay.
It could be to lose or gain weight, build muscle, keep sugar off the diet, etc. For entrepreneurs to make it big in this business, they have to gain popularity.
Tying up with gyms and fitness centres by offering them a commission, getting a certification and, posting engaging content on social media are some of the ways of doing so.
#10 Gourmet Popcorn
Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks in the world. It is almost mandatory when watching movies at the theatre or even at home.
Over the years, humble popcorn has taken on many flavours and colours. This special breed of popcorn is called gourmet popcorn. The corn used to make them is also of superior quality.
This business can be opened from a home kitchen, and depending on demand, a more extensive facility can be set up. A popcorn machine, popcorn kernels, oils, salts, additional seasoning, topping, etc., are the essentials to get this business rolling.
#11 Fruit Juice Processing
Fruits have always had a massive demand in India. As of late, fruits in their liquid state have gained immense popularity. They provide refreshment on a hot sunny day, and some can even feed the hunger to an extent.
As a small-scale business, fruits can be processed and sold as bottled drinks. They can also be sold as fresh juices by opening a retail shop.
Business owners opting for the latter should make sure they choose the correct location. Bus stations, neighbourhoods of schools and colleges, etc., are some of the best locations to set up the shop.
#12 Seafood/Meat Processing
The demand for seafood and meat is more or less stable in India. It is safe to say that this is the type of business that will never run out of customers.
This is because more people are becoming conscious of the hazards that come with the consumption of unprocessed seafood/meat. It takes a professional business to procure quality meat and processes it for human consumption.
Setting up a meat processing unit can be a bit expensive. On the flip side, meat processing businesses have been known to break even rather quickly.
#13 Biryani Shop
If there is one dish that people all over the country love, it is Biryani. It has become a top-rated main course regardless of age group. There are hundreds of successful restaurants out there that sell just Biryanis.
What’s even better is that there are over 26 different kinds of Biryanis. If restaurants can maintain quality and keep the taste as close to the original recipe as possible, the chances of the day’s stock of Biryani running out quickly are very high.
Even selling just one kind of Biryani is enough to make good profits. For example, a shop that specializes only in Malabar Biryani.
#14 Coffee Shop
Along with tea, coffee is a prevalent choice of beverage in India. A lot of brands are operating successfully, even on a small scale. Some of the most popular ones are Café Coffee Day, Costa Coffee, and Barista.
Even a small coffee shop with minimal or no seating can make significant profits if their coffee becomes popular among people. Include cold coffee, Cappuccino, Espresso, etc., in the menu to appeal to a wide variety of audiences.
Coffee shops have also become a popular spot for people to hang out, meet friends, and even work. So, creating an environment for it can make a huge difference.
#15 Pickle Making
Pickles are a staple all over the country. Almost every state has its own speciality to offer when it comes to pickles. Mango, lemon, cucumber, garlic, tender mango, etc. are some of the most popular items that are pickled.
Picked seafood and meat are also popular in some parts of the country. The demand for pickles goes far beyond national borders. There is great demand, especially in countries with a large Indian diaspora.
This is another one of those small food business ideas in India that can be started and operated successfully at a small scale from a home kitchen. In fact, small-scale manufacturers of pickles can demand premium prices.
Bread is consumed widely all over the world in different forms. For example, France has baguettes, Italy has breadsticks, the USA has Cornbread. There is an almost constant demand for bread all over the world as people use it to make low-effort meals.
There is also a preference for locally manufactured bread over ones that are manufactured on a large scale. This is because they tend to arrive at the shelves much fresher.
Anyone interested in the business can get started with an investment that won’t leave a huge hole in their pockets. They can get started with basic equipment like mixing bowls, thermometers, cooling racks, ovens, etc.
#17 Ice Cream Parlor
The days when ice cream was reserved for summers are far gone. It is now a popular dessert at almost all celebrations. Experts are of the opinion that ice cream is a recession-proof industry.
Ice cream parlour owners should always keep an eye on how the market is moving in terms of the flavours offered. Offer the latest and the best flavours in the most creative ways possible.
Ice cream parlours are also a popular place for people to hang out. So, the parlour should have enough space and seating arrangements that can accommodate one/two people and larger groups as well.
#18 Homemade Cookies
Homemade cookies are favoured because they lack the chemicals and preservatives that large manufacturers use to make their cookies. It is because of this that sellers can demand premium prices for their cookies.
Homemade cookies can also be sold online using platforms like Amazon and Flipkart. Before doing so, it is important to build a strong brand persona and incorporate that into the brand’s social media pages, websites as well as packaging.
The main investment to start a homemade cookies business will be for raw materials (flours, flavours, etc.) and equipment (oven, thermometer, etc.).
#19 Vegan Or Plant-Based Food
Veganism is picking up the pace all over the world and in India as well. This is because more people are standing up for animal rights and completely avoiding all animal-based ingredients including milk.
What they eat is completely plant-based. There are a variety of vegan food ideas that entrepreneurs can take up. For example, manufacturing soy milk or plant-based meat, or nut-based butter. Since the demand is high and supply has not caught up to it yet, sellers can charge high prices.
#20 Ready to Cook (RTC) and Ready to Eat food (RTE) Food
This is perhaps the fastest-growing sector in the Indian food industry. The demand is predominantly driven by people working in white-collar jobs who do not have the luxury of time to make food for themselves.
But at the same time, they crave food items like Idly, dosa, chapati, etc. This need is met by ready-to-cook/eat food brands like ID Fresh Foods that sell Idly/dosa batter, pre-cooked chapati, breakfast mix, etc.
There is ample opportunity for new businesses to enter the market with new offerings. An RTC food business like the one that sells idly/dosa batter can be started from home and sold to people and retail shops in the immediate neighbourhood.
#21 Cooking classes
Online classes are the craze these days and many experts are creating online classes to teach other people what they know. Starting a cooking class is a great idea, especially for homemakers who are confident in their culinary abilities.
The best thing about this business is that it requires very little start-up capital. The main investment will go towards a camera, editing software, and good-looking utensils.
A cooking class can be promoted online by starting a YouTube channel or writing a cooking blog that gives established the business owner as a thought leader.
#22 Dairy Processing
India is the largest producer of milk in the world with over 2 crore litres of milk produced every single day. There is a huge opportunity for value-added milk products to make huge profits.
Some of the products that can be manufactured and sold are cheese, paneer, ghee, yoghurt, etc. The key to success in this business is quality.
People seek out milk products that are made from the best quality milk and use the best manufacturing processes. It is also important to make these products easily accessible to customers through local stores or through a direct-to-customer basis.
#23 Sweets Shop
Sweets are an integral part of Indian culture. Sweets are particularly popular during festive seasons like Diwali. They are also in demand throughout the year.
Anyone who is confident about their ability to make delicious sweets can use this skill to create a profitable business. Some of the most popular sweets are Laddu, Gulab Jamun, Kaju Barfi, kulfi, etc.
The ingredients needed to make most of these sweets can be easily found at local markets. Entrepreneurs have the option to build their own sweets brand from the ground up or to take up a franchise of a successful brand that sells sweets.
#24 Homemade chips
Chips are a favourite snack for people all over the world and it is the same in India. With the growing aversion for food products made at an industrial scale, there is a growing demand for homemade chips.
Potato, banana, tapioca, Okra, etc. are some of the most popular chips. People are actually willing to wait in line and pay higher prices for homemade chips. It is important for makers to procure the highest quality raw materials, use fresh oil to fry them, and pack them under sanitary conditions.
#25 Pop-up restaurants
Out of all the food business ideas in India listed in this article, a pop-up restaurant is the latest concept. These are restaurants that “pop up” during special occasions and festivals. They have left a strong impression of the traditional way of dining.
Pop-up restaurants operate from homes, vehicles, or any open space. This is a low investment business that rides the wave of something new that has opened in the area.
Food will always be in demand in India. Food serves purposes more than satisfying hunger. Food can even be therapeutic for most people on a bad day. Good food will always attract and keep customers happy.
It is not a surprise why people keep going to the same restaurant they’ve been going to for years. Anytime is a good time to start a food business as long as the food business ideas in India are great.
It is vital for food businesses, especially restaurants and cafes to keep track of everything that moves in and out of the business; including stock, raw materials, finished products, and most importantly, money.
This can be done by using something businesses already have in their possession – Spreadsheets. The idea is to use templates like the ones provided by Lio to make the most out of MS Excel or Google Sheets or similar applications.
In the end, I hope you learn a few things and make the most from all your learnings from this article.