Posted on 5th May 2023
The recent rise in food prices, combined with shortages of tomatoes, cucumber and peppers, have seen increasing numbers of people heading to farm shops to buy local produce. If you’ve not opened a farm shop yet and are considering doing so, here are six things to consider.
Like many things facing rural businesses, the answer to whether or not you need planning permission is not straight forward.
If you produce 90% or more of the items sold in your farm shop, and you will be based in an existing suitable building, then you will not need planning permission. However, contacting your local authority and getting their ruling on your plans is always best.
Farm shops selling processed foods, including meat and poultry, will definitely need planning permission.
When it comes to red tape, food is the most regulated type of retail. You will need to register with the Environmental Health team at your local council. You may need a butchery licence too.
The building control team can advise you on fire safety requirements, but only the fire department can grant you a fire certificate, which you will need before opening.
Remember that anyone serving or processing food in raw form must be trained in basic food hygiene and have a certificate. Supervisors need higher level training, and everyone processing foo will require hazard analysis and critical control points.
Farm shops tend to have low-profit margins of around 10 per cent, though some can grow quickly. Fast-growing shops may be best placed to have their own accounts, separate from the farm. An accountant will be able to advise on the tax and VAT implications.
Make sure you talk to your current insurers, as many rural policies only cover the business of farming and not retail.
If you’re considering diversifying and would like some help or advice, please call Ray Phillips on 01522 696496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form.
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