A pound of high-quality microgreens can cost anywhere from around $20-50, thus making it a very profitable business if you’re sure to keep your costs down. Microgreens themselves have a reputation for being rather expensive, so some consumers are willing to pay this much for them.
Buying small amounts at first can help to dramatically reduce costs when you’re first setting up a business selling microgreens you grow. There’s very little profit in acting as a middleman, so you probably don’t want to go into business as a microgreen broker.
Grocery store owners, especially those who manage farm-to-table boutiques, can make sizable profits in some cases. This is especially true of those who buy large amounts of microgreens in bulk and then divvy them up for customers.
How Much Money Can You Make Selling Microgreens?
Assuming that you grow them yourself, you can expect to make anywhere from a few dollars to more than $50-60 per pound. It depends on where you sell them and how you do so.
Farmers’ markets tend to be one of the least expensive and most effective ways to sell microgreens, due in part to the fact that the booth rent at them is relatively low. However, you usually won’t expect to make anywhere near as much at these as you would in a private boutique.
Wholesale options abound since many restaurants want to acquire sources of high-quality microgreens for their clients. If you know anyone in the field of haute cuisine, then they might be willing to pay upwards of $65 for every pound you sell them.
In general, it costs around $15 to cultivate a whole pound of microgreens. If you part out your trays just right, then you could expect that one tray could hold an ounce of seeds, which should cost around $1.75 or slightly more.
Scaling up your operation and increasing your overall client base will help to average costs out, but this is true of any business. The reason microgreens cost so much is the cost of growing them remains relatively high in most cases.
How Much Money Do Microgreen Farmers Make?
Independent farmers in certain urban areas with an established farm-to-table upscale dining scene can make $12,000-13,000 annually. This means that depending on your situation, microgreen farming may be an attractive second income.
One specialist from the Tempe, Arizona metro decided to aggressively market microgreens from an urban farm collective and ended up making $1,100 a month. Others have focused on keeping expenses down by growing sunflower greens and other microgreen crops that are dense and therefore more cost-effective to produce.
Parting out your product might be a good way to increase the amount of money you make in selling it, especially if you’re selling your wares at a farmer’s market or a cooperative. Assume you have 64 trays for sale, which are made up of 4 oz. portions of your crops.
You sell each of these at $3.25 so you could take in $208 before expenses. Anybody who wants to try this tactic would do well to grow some sort of microgreen crop that grows very fast and stays hardy.
Are Microgreens Still Profitable in 2021?
Arguably, microgreens are more profitable now than at any time before. One study from a Canadian commercial organization found that microgreens can earn a profit of nearly $26,000 annually for those who grow them as part of a second income, and this number keeps increasing as people focus on natural food products.
Energy costs are the one thing to keep your eye on, especially as meter rates start to climb. Assume that you’re using indoor growth lights that are metered at around $0.10 per kilowatt-hour of electricity used. If you had four 50 watt lamps on a tray holder, then you’d be using 200 watts every hour you had them on.
That means you’re spending a dime for every five hours you have the growth lights on. While that might not seem like much, it can eventually start to grow in the financial sense if you’re not careful.
The more trays that you plan on growing, the more lamps you’re going to need. That could potentially increase your costs exponentially because there’s always the possibility that electrical costs could increase over time.
Keep your eye on any changes in tax law as well. Agricultural businesses might be subject to some new taxes in certain states by the end of the fiscal year 2021.
Who Can I Sell Microgreens to and Make the Most Profit?
You can sell microgreens in bulk to upscale restaurants as well as boutique-style greengrocers. Grocers are usually your best bet as long as you can get a long-term contract that’s at least somewhat in your favor.
Selling microgreens at a farmers’ market can be profitable, but people might not be keen on spending that much for what amounts to regular salad greens to them. If you’re competing with people selling arugula and spinach at $2.50 per head, then you’re going to have a hard time convincing mainstream consumers that your product is worth the extra cost.
Restaurants will pay the most for microgreens per pound, though they might make demands that some smaller farmers can’t meet. You may be expected to produce crops that adhere to certain aesthetic requirements or potentially have to produce far more than you’d be able to.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Microgreen Business?
Upfront equipment costs are usually the biggest part of running a microgreen business. You’ll need to buy physical growth trays, grow lamps, a frame to mount your equipment in, and designate a space to perform the work in.
Water is another consideration, especially if it has to be purified. According to the World Population Review, an average family of four in the US is already paying around $72.93 for water each month.
Depending on the number of microgreen crops you plant and how hardy they are, you could be looking at doubling or tripling that figure. Water that has to be purified or processed before using it to water crops will use additional energy.
Enough seeds to plant the equivalent of a pound of microgreens will generally come to around $15, though you might be able to start making your own seeds from some crops over time. Considering that you could sell a pound of certain types of crops for upwards of $60 you might be looking at a tidy profit based on this alone.