How to Start a Meal Prep Service?

Start a meal prep company

How to Start a
Meal Prep Service?

Aug 18th, 2020 – Sol Y.

What is a meal prep company?

Meal preparation is the process of making a few to a dozen meals in advance for a short or extended period. It has gained popularity among professionals, entrepreneurs, and athletes for saving up to 64 hours per month and cutting up your shopping, prepping, and cooking time to zero.

Meal prep is not for everyone! Some individuals like to cook, but many people are focused on their career and view food as fuel for work. As a chef and meal prep service, you can identify the potential customers to help them with your skill and earn tons of money by doing what you love.

Is meal prep worth getting into?

Meal kit delivery service is the fast-growing industry in the United States. In 2017, the industry was worth $4.65 billion, representing 300% growth within a few years. According to Statista, experts expect the market to value more than double, reaching $11.6 billion by 2022.

Meal Prep Industry Projection by Statista

One of the most significant advantages of meal kit delivery is its subscription business model. It helps to sustain the business without bringing a drastic change in your income month after month. As the market is quite extensive, everyone can find excellent growth opportunities.

Did you know meal prep is a cost-effective solution to your kitchen woes? It is as much profitable for you as for the business owner. We already discussed meal prep kits and services could save you up to 64 hours a month. According to the Cheat Sheet, an average American earns $27.16 per hour; that means 64 * 27.16 = 1,738.24 dollars extra money each month.

If not extra cash, then it also leaves you with ample time to hone your skills necessary for career advancement. You can even leisurely spend this time with your family and create lifetime memories.

How much money can you make selling meal prep?

Here we have built a calculator so you can calculate how much you can make per month doing meal prep.

How to start a meal prep service? (Step by step guide)

Here is a step by step guide to starting your own meal prep company from scratch.

1. Choose a niche

Choosing your audience in advance will keep you focused. Just like a road map, a pre-defined niche will set future goals, including branding and marketing. Here are a few niches to choose from:

a. Physical Goal Base

Between 1999 and 2019, the rate of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, while severe obesity rose to 9.2%. In other words, the prevalence of obesity in the United States is approximately 51.6%, creating a substantial market for meal prep businesses. You may have heard, obesity and other health-related problems are 80% diet. Thus, you can effectively monetize the market and improve the lifestyle of many!

b. Diet Base

Each diet follows specific guidelines and ingredients, making it difficult to follow. After all, not everyone can come up with a variety of meals on the menu. That’s when meal prep services can help you with your diet plans while providing delicious and healthy meals every day. Here are the most commonly followed diets in the United States:

  • The Paleo Diet
  • The Vegan Diet
  • The Vegetarian Diet
  • Low-Carb Diets (Ketogenic)
  • The Carnivore Diet
  • The Ultra-Low-Fat Diet
  • The Pescatarian Diet

c. Demographic Base

You can also choose your audience based on their age, ethnicity, and gender.

  • Age
    • Kids
    • Adults
    • Elderly
  • Race/Ethnicity
    • Korean
    • Chinese
    • Italian
    • Hispanic
    • Etc
  • Sex
    • Male
    • Female

Do your research and lookup different meal prep services in your city. Watch closely to find what’s missing and then fill in the gap.

2. License and Permits

Next is to get the necessary permits and licenses. Food permit laws change from state-to-state. So do your research to ascertain the specific paperwork you require for your meal prep business. Here is a blog about the rules of selling food in the United States.

3. Packaging

Once you have picked your audience and received your permits, it’s time to invest in your packages. Here are some affordable packages from Walmart and Amazon:

4. Labels

You can try multiple online printing companies for brand building, but we highly recommend relying on local businesses. They usually have cheaper rates. Below are the most affordable design companies on the internet:

5. Marketing Plan

One of the advantages of the meal prep is flexible working hours. Most of our clients do marketing throughout the week, shop on Fridays, prep on Saturdays, cook, and deliver on Sundays.

Marketing and selling meal kits are not challenging due to a variety of online channels available accessible to everyone. Although you can try all at once, we suggest picking and mastering one channel at least at a time. Here are the most commonly practiced channels widely used for marketing:

  • Social Media

    Keep in mind, when it comes to online marketing, consistency is the key to success. It creates momentum, which is crucial for growth. Before you know it, these platforms will connect you with potential customers, resulting in more sales. Try starting with the following platforms:

    Use your personal or professional social media accounts to promote your service. Interact and engage with people in your niche to build connections and share valuable content.

    • Facebook
    • Instagram


  • Affiliate Marketing

    Affiliate and word-of-mouth are the most powerful and credible ways to market your business. Meal prep is complementary to many other services. By expanding your network, you can tap into their clients and exchange services. Here are some people to connect with for affiliate marketing:

    • Personal trainers
    • Gyms
    • Nutritionists
    • Schools
    • Companies


  • Google Search

    Ranking on the first page of Google means a lot of free traffic without any hassle. However, getting on the first page requires search engine optimization (SEO) expertise. Alpha Trait is not only an automated food-selling platform to sell your meals but also an effective search engine optimizer for business growth. All our clients are on the first page of Google and, in some cases, multiple times.

6. Kitchen

It is time to choose your battleground. If you are starting up, opt for an in-house setup. Keep in mind that there are only 28 states allowing cottage food businesses. Check local laws to ensure you sell online to buyers within state limits. If your state doesn’t allow prepping food at home, we have a solution for you. Here are three websites to find local commercial kitchens on rent:

How much is the initial investment to start a meal prep company? (Step by step guide)

Compared to other businesses, meal prep requires a small investment. Here is the breakdown of your initial investment to start your company. Your main costs include:

1. Kitchen

For a Home Kitchen, your investment is close to $0. According to Peerspace, many commercial kitchens require a monthly lease and security deposit on top of varying hourly rates. The monthly leases or membership can cost from $50 to several thousand dollars depending on the kitchen size and equipment.

2. Packages

~50 cents per container

3. Labels

~50 cents per container

4. Raw Materials

Your raw materials are not going to be the main cost since you take the orders first and then pay for them. They are usually 50% – 65% of your meal prices.

5. Staff

As a chef, you should be able to cover the first 10-20 clients. After that, you require assistance for every 10-30 customers. You should be able to hire a staff member at $15-$25 an hour.

6. License

Food permit laws change from state-to-state. So do your research to ascertain the specific paperwork you require for your meal prep business. Here is a blog about the rules of selling food in the United States.

7. Website

Your technology may be costly, especially if you try to hire a team. That’s why we suggest Alpha Trait at $19 a month +1.95% for management, maintenance, automation, research and development.

8. Payment Processing Fee

There is a standard online payment fee of 2.99 + 30c for the transaction. This fee is set by banks and major brands like Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

Where to sell your meal plans?

Online, Online, and Online! Take advantage of online platforms to sell your meal prep services and automate business processes. Web-based tools can efficiently manage most of your manual work, such as reorders, payments, receipts, and notifications. While choosing your online platform, keep the following points in mind:

Subscription Automation

Imagine texting or emailing your customers to ask if they want to place an order every week. You have to wait for their response every week. Once they show interest, you have to receive payment and generate a receipt every week manually. It is not a very sustainable model and, thus, requires an automated platform for streamlined processes.


We suggest charging a delivery fee every week. It will keep your finances running smoothing without shipment cost glitches. Your platform should be able to charge delivery based on the distance or zip code.


The screen sizes for every gadget, including laptops, phones, and tablets, are different. Therefore, it’s important to design a platform responding accurately to each screen size for smooth navigation. A poorly designed website can cost you, potential customers.


Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats in the age of information. That’s why you should only trust platforms with the highest security.

Meal Management

Your website should have a simple admin panel to manage your meals and orders. The complex meal management system will waste your time and put off users.

Alpha Trait - Meal Prep Solutions

Alpha Trait is a cutting-edge technology solution for your meal prep service. Our platform is designed for your success. We take pride in our work and stay on top of the technology so you can get ahead in your game. Request a Demo Today!