Selling Food at a Flea Market?

Baked good for sale at a flea market.
If you are considering selling food at a flea market there are likely steps that must be taken to get a permit to do so. Additionally, a second step in your planning would be to research the types of foods that sell well in this venue. This is a page about selling food at a flea market.

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May 5, 2017

I am wanting to sell, my baked sweets that I make in my own kitchen, at the local flea market. But I'm not sure what I need to obtain to do so. What licenses do I need? Please help!


Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,298 Posts
May 5, 20171 found this helpful

It depends where you live.

But at the local fair - the people who sell baked goods or any food have to get a permit from the health inspection/country, in addition get a permit to sell at the flea market.



There's a lot of steps...

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
May 6, 20170 found this helpful

They are right. If you have pets, you will most likely not be able to get a certified kitchen. Any home "ailments" will knock you out, too.

But that doesn't mean you can't. If you find it's too much work, here's what a friend of mine did. Until she knew if her product was going to sell, she rented a church kitchen for a few months. If you know someone with a small deli, that might work for off hours, too. I wish you luck!!

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
May 6, 20170 found this helpful

As a general rule, it is not always easy to sell "food", even baked goods, at a flea market. This is mainly due to the fact that most flea markets (even covered ones) are not always that clean or at least give the appearance of being unclean. Outdoor flea markets are the worst (for keeping an area clean) and most of the flea markets only alow a certain number of food vendors and most of those have an enclosed stall (rented from the establishment). Now this is not always the case but it does bear checking out before making any definite plans.


Generally, a farmers market is a much better idea for what you are considering. It may be open but it is usually a smaller area and not the same type of "traffic" and usually has a cleaner appearance. Of course, this would need checking out also.
Every state/county/city has laws concerning selling food of any kind but there is something called "Cottage Food Laws" and many states have information available to help people like you get started.
I hope you have found all the information you need to be sure of the cost effectiveness of what you plan to bake and sell as there can be a very small margin of profit and - if you are not really careful - you can go in the red very quickly.
There are several government agencies that you will/may have to contact but this link might help you get started. Click on your state for beginners information:

There is a wealth of information on ThriftyFun site also:

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July 21, 20170 found this helpful

hi dear

You need to get a food licence

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May 26, 2012

What are some good food ideas to sale at flea markets? Also, what are prices for each? I live in the south. Thanks and God Bless!

By Freckles


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 186 Feedbacks
May 27, 20120 found this helpful

It will mostly depend on your area, not just the south, but each state will be different, plus certain areas of each state could be different. As far as selling food at flea markets, I have never seen that done, other than maybe home made lollipops.


Before you do this I would recommend checking with the department of health and see what and if there are any regulations on things like this.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
May 29, 20120 found this helpful

Good advice. I often deal with our own Salem Saturday Market and as a vendor, they have a variety of soups, Tai, Hispanic, Malaysian, Hungarian and more foods. There are also tasting things like cheeses, pickled products, and sweets. We have vendors who sell candy, cakes, gluten free things, and a variety of yummy stuff.

Getting on line with the local Flea Market and find out what others sell, so yours can be different. If your market has a hot dog and hamburger vendor, then you may want something like salads, hoagies, or fresh things for the people who don't want what they already can get at the local drive through. You want something that people can walk around with and eat, too, so they keep shopping.


If their idea is to take a break, then is there somewhere covered that they can sit?

If not, complicated food might be best sold somewhere else. I was in Fairbanks, AK one time and the gal I helped out sold pizzas made from Hoagie buns. That's right...sauce, meats, cheeses, etc on a four level toaster oven. In under 5 minutes, you walked away with a custom made pizza that is easy to carry and eat.

You may want to check out some other places and just see what they all sell...then find something that makes you stand out.
Good luck!

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December 8, 20132 found this helpful

Selling food at flea markets can be a challenge. There are many variables to consider. Examples include weather, location, space availability, health department regulations, what others are selling, and last but not least, whether what you sell can be sold at a price that makes your time and trouble worthwhile.

For baked goods, don't forget to include such costs as:
- energy (oven, mixer, etc)
- labor (your time in making the item),
- consumables (plastic wrap, parchment paper, aluminum foil, etc),
- packaging (plastic bags, cardboard containers, etc),
- display accessories (paper plates, plastic forks, tablecloth, etc),
- transportation (what it cost to obtain everything and get it to where it needs to be) and last but not least,
- the cost of the selling space itself.

It could seem overwhelming, but break it down into smaller sections and it's easier.

One tool that helps is a recipe cost calculator.

Recipe cost calculators easily handle the complex math and measurement conversions involved with figuring out what a recipe costs to make.

An example of an online recipe cost calculator can be found at

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September 17, 2013

A friend and I are considering making, packaging, and selling small quantities of beef jerky at the flea markets here in NZ. We are wondering if we need to go through some process of certification to be allowed to do so or do we just go see the council for a permit? Is a permit even required?

By JB Chapman

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