Business Overview

A jam business makes different flavors of jams and jellies, which are packaged into jars for distribution. Businesses may sell their jams to customers directly, or they might sell to retailers. These spreads are put on toast, used in cookies and cakes, and incorporated into many other foods. Jam businesses make different flavors of jams and jellies, which are sold to customers either directly or through retailers.

According to a report published by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada, the jam and preserve industry in the United States brings in over $1 billion annually. Most impressively, it’s grown steadily -- even through the Great Recession. The market for jams, jellies, and preserves is strong, growing, and has many opportunities for new start-ups.

Who is this business right for?

Anyone who likes canning and jarring may enjoy running a jam business. Jams and jellies are frequently packaged in jars, and mot small jam businesses jar their jams by hand.

It’s also helpful to have good people skills. Being able to connect with people can, of course, help business owners develop relationships with individual customers and wholesale purchasers. It also can help establish relationships with local farmers, which may lead to unique opportunities to purchase local produce.

What happens during a typical day at a jam business?

To maximize efficiency, most jam business owners spend different days focusing on different tasks. For example, a business owner might:

  • Sell jams and jellies at a farmer’s market 
  • Make jams 
  • Deliver jams
  • Market their business and take care of administrative tasks 

What is the target market?

A jam business’ ideal customer is a local business that regularly uses jam or jelly, such as a restaurant that wants to serve up locally made jams with breakfast or a small bakery that needs jams for certain baked goods. Such a business won’t pay retail prices for jams and jellies. A business will, however, place regular orders that can provide stable income.

How does a jam business make money?

A jam business makes money by selling jams, jellies and preserves. When sold retail, jams may be sold individually or in variety packages (e.g. three jams together). When sold wholesale, jams may be sold in larger jars (e.g. for use by a bakery) or in lots of small jars (e.g. for resale by a grocer).

What is the growth potential for a jam business?

Many jam businesses start out as small operations, with many business owners making jams, jellies, and preserves in their kitchens. Business owners may initially sell only by word of mouth or at a roadside stand where customers pay on their honor.

As a business grows, business owners may purchase a stand at a market or open a retail location. Most businesses don’t open multiple locations. Instead, they grow beyond a single location by acquiring more and more wholesale clients.

(When starting a jam business from home, it’s important to abide by all your state’s cottage food laws. PickYourOwn.org has compiled a list of each state’s applicable laws.)