Growing and selling microgreens for profit is a lucrative business that can be started on a small scale without much space or investment and with just a little bit of effort.
In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about starting your own microgreens business at home from scratch and how to sell microgreens!
The start-up costs for a microgreens garden are minimal and the market is wide open with potential customers who love trying new things. Microgreens are popping up on menus of restaurants as garnishes or as side dishes, so there’s no shortage of opportunities for you!
What are Microgreens Used For?
Microgreens are simply seeds that have been harvested when they’re still very young, at around three weeks old or less, with their stems measuring only 1/4 inch long.
Because of their size and tenderness, this is the ideal stage for growing microgreens. At this point, the young seedlings contain all of their original nutrients and can be harvested to enjoy as a microgreen salad in just about any setting.
Some common types of microgreens include pea shoots, sunflower greens, broccoli sprouts, lettuce, basil and red cabbage. With just over 100 varieties available to choose from, microgreens are one of the most popular plant varieties available today.
As more people embrace a health-conscious lifestyle, the demand for microgreens has skyrocketed over recent years. A natural part of this growth has been an increase in the number of homegrown growers who are looking to capitalize on this market by growing their own microgreens at home and selling them to local restaurants, grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
According to several recent reports, the market for microgreens is expected to climb significantly in the coming years, with some sources estimating that it will grow by more than 200 percent through 2021.
This presents a great opportunity for anyone who’s looking to get started with their own microgreens business or for those who are already involved in the trade but want to expand their markets.
How profitable can a microgreens business be?
It’s not uncommon to see microgreens sold for $3 to $5 per pound or more. They can be very profitable since they grow so fast from seed to harvest and have high margins.
You can make $300 (profit) per week from a small rack of microgreens AND, they can easily be grown in your basement, garage, spare bedroom, or even your kitchen for less than $500.
So if you rinse & repeat to scale a few racks, it’s not long before you’re profiting $1,000s per week…
Here’s the math:
1 tray costs $5 and typically sells for $20
1 rack (20 trays): $300/week profit
2 racks (40 trays): $600/week profit
5 racks (100 trays): $1,500/week profit, etc.
It all starts with 1 rack.
There are a few things to keep in mind, however. First of all, microgreens require a lot of work and attention if they’re going to grow well.
For those who have been successful with microgreens before, this won’t be an issue. If you’re new, however, it may take some time for you to find your groove and develop a system that works.
The other thing to remember is that the market for microgreens isn’t as saturated as it may seem at first glance. Even though there are other people who do what you’re doing, there’s always room for more growers and sellers out there, especially if they can stand out from the crowd
Before getting started, it’s important to look at why some growers fail, what you’ll need to do differently and which growing methods will give you the best chances of success. By understanding these factors upfront, you can put yourself in a position to capitalize on the growing demand for microgreens and start enjoying all of the benefits that come with running your own business.
The Biggest Obstacle to Overcome: Selling Your Microgreens for Profit
While starting your own microgreens business presents many great opportunities, keeping things profitable can be one of the biggest challenges that many growers face. If you’re like most growers, then you’ve probably already tried selling your microgreens to local restaurants or grocery stores.
While this can be a great way to get started with your business, it comes with several important limitations that will make things more difficult than they should be.
For example, when selling your microgreens at local restaurants or grocery stores, you’ll often be forced to invest a significant amount of time and money into marketing efforts that will get very little in return.
Because these venues typically sell their produce for much less than you’re able to offer it, there’s not much reason for them to place an order unless you can get them to change their minds and pay a higher price.
When you’re just getting started, you might be able to convince one or two restaurants or stores to try buying your microgreens by offering discounts on the initial order.
However, if this approach fails to produce any results, then it can take weeks before they will agree to buy from you again. And with the exception of a few high-profile restaurants and stores in your area, there’s a good chance that many others won’t be interested in your microgreens at all.
For most growers, selling to local restaurants or grocery stores can turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth. Unless you’re looking for an easy way to get your microgreens business up and running, there are far more effective ways to sell your product for profit.
Where to Sell Microgreens While Expanding Your Market
While selling locally can be a great way to generate some initial cash flow, it comes with several important limitations that make it difficult to scale your business and maximize your profits. If you’re looking for a way to do this, then selling your microgreens online is by far the most effective option.
In the past, many microgreens growers have been able to build thriving businesses from local sales alone. However, in today’s world, it can be a lot more profitable to sell your microgreens online.
This is especially true for those who are willing to keep their initial costs low and work hard toward mastering effective marketing techniques that will attract customers to their website.
One of the biggest benefits of selling through your own website (an eCommerce store) is that you can reach a much larger market than what’s available locally. Since you can reach a much larger pool of potential customers than what’s available locally.
As an added benefit, selling online also allows you to charge more for your microgreens since you’ll be able to skip over the “middle man” that’s often involved when selling your microgreens locally.
This not only gives you more control over price, but it also allows you to offer a much higher quality product for sale online without having to worry about losing customers due to high prices.
While most growers are unaware of just how profitable selling their microgreens online can be, those who have taken the time to explore this option have been able to turn their microgreens business into a thriving company.
When combined with local sales or even wholesale pricing, selling your microgreens online can quickly turn into a high-profit business that’s capable of supporting both yourself and your family in just a few months.
Costs and Estimates of Starting a Small Microgreens Business from Home
One of the most important parts of starting a microgreens business is knowing your expenses before it’s too late. While many beginners are often tempted to make their initial purchases without first considering the costs, this can quickly turn into a costly mistake that could affect their profitability and success for years to come.
While each grower will have different needs and a different budget to work with, the following list of costs and estimates will give you a good idea of what to expect when paying for your initial setups.
Packaging: $100 – $300 If you want to attract customers online or locally, then you’re going to need something that makes your product stand out from the rest. In most cases, cheap plastic containers or bags will do just fine.
However, if you’re trying to sell your microgreens for a premium price online, then investing in professional packaging can go a long way toward increasing the perceived value of your product and getting more customers excited about buying from you.
Growing Supplies: $350 – $500 Most growers will be able to get by with very basic supplies like growing trays, plant nutrients, and other common items. However, others may want to invest in additional equipment like automated watering systems or greenhouse materials that can help them get better results faster.
Initial Inventory: $500 – $3,000 If you’re trying to grow your microgreens business fast, then investing in a larger initial inventory can make it much easier to reach profitability as quickly as possible. However, keep in mind that the more you invest upfront, the longer it will take for your business to become profitable and start generating real revenue.
Even if you’re just getting started, there’s a lot of profit potential in selling microgreens online. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to invest in several supplies and inventory before generating any real sales.
Based on our estimates, most growers can expect to spend anywhere from $800 – $5,500 in the first few months of operation when getting started with their new business.
While these initial costs may not seem like a lot, they could quickly eat into the profits that your business is generating. So if you’re working with a tight budget or are just starting out, then you may want to have another source of income coming in to cash flow your microgreens business until it starts generating revenue.
What are the most profitable microgreens?
Although there are dozens of different types of microgreens that you can grow, not all of them will provide the same level of profitability. While some growers like to focus on growing as many different varieties as possible, this isn’t always the best option for those who want to generate high profits with their business.
One common mistake that new growers make is focusing on a single microgreen that isn’t necessarily the most profitable one. While this can be fine for hobby growers or those who only want to generate side income, it will quickly turn into a costly mistake when you’re trying to grow your business and sell as many microgreens as possible.
According to experts, the following types of microgreens are considered to be the most profitable types of microgreens that you can grow:
4. Peas shoots
5. Mustard greens
6. Miner’s lettuce / claytonia / winter purslane
7. Wheatgrass / barley grass
If you’re trying to grow a profitable microgreens business, then investing in cilantro, basil or amaranth can be a smart option for those who want consistent demand and a relatively easy-to-source supply.
However, if you want the ability to pivot and grow other types of microgreens in the future, then investing in things like pea shoots, mustard greens, miner’s lettuce or wheatgrass can be a smart option for those who want to diversify their inventory.
how much do microgreens sell for?
The main thing that most buyers are concerned about is price, which can vary widely depending on the type of microgreen that you’re selling. However, even if you’re just getting started with your new business, there’s a lot of ways that you can start generating sales immediately without worrying about waiting too long for your product to grow.
In general, most buyers are willing to pay anywhere from $5 – $20 for a small package of microgreens. However, prices can vary depending on the type of product that you’re selling.
For example, outer petals from sunflowers are often priced at around $4 -$6 per ounce whereas wheatgrass is available for as little as $1 -$2 per ounce.
In general, you should expect to see the average price for a small package of microgreens around $15-$20, especially when selling at farmers markets or through a mobile stand. Of course, you can always increase your prices if there is high demand for your product or if you have some difficulty sourcing a particular type of microgreen.
do I need a license to sell microgreens?
Yes and no. While certain states and even cities may require you to obtain a license before selling microgreens, others may not have any restrictions at all.
In general, the safest bet is to check with your local authorities to find out if there are any legal requirements that you need to meet before getting started with your microgreen business.