Breaking into the Canadian market is a natural next step for many US food and beverage brands. Canada is the largest trading partner of the US, has a population similar to California, and about 90% of Canadian consumers live within 100 miles of the US border. However, the process of shipping food and beverage products to Canada can seem daunting, with regulatory requirements that include registering the company in Canada, obtaining an import permit, adhering to import quotas and restrictions, and labeling products in both English and French.
Most of these regulations were written for B2B manufacturers, but direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have an advantage. If you plan to ship your products directly to Canadian consumers who order from you online, the regulatory requirements are quite simple. The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations exempt most food that is imported for personal use from the B2B licensing and regulatory requirements. So, as long as your shipments are under the "Maximum Quantity Limits for Personal Use" threshold (typically 20 kilograms or 20 liters of any given product), you will be able to ship directly to consumers in Canada who order from you online.
However, some food and beverage products are more regulated, and if you plan to ship such products to Canada, it's essential to obtain the proper import documents and adhere to all regulatory requirements. That's where a carrier like Passport can help. They can map your products to the proper regulations to ensure that your shipments are not held at the border. If specific products are restricted or regulated, Passport can help you obtain the proper import documents, and as your carrier, they make sure that all international shipping documents are complete and accurate.
When shipping food and beverage products to Canada, it's crucial to label them in both English and French. This is a regulatory requirement, but it also helps to make your products more accessible to Canadian consumers. They will appreciate the effort you have taken to make your products easy to understand and use.
In summary, shipping food and beverage products direct-to-consumer to Canada is a natural next step for US brands looking to expand their market. While there are regulatory requirements, the process is quite simple for DTC brands as long as they adhere to the "Maximum Quantity Limits for Personal Use" threshold. For products that are more regulated, carriers like Passport can help map your products to the proper regulations and ensure that your shipments are not held at the border. With the right approach and attention to detail, US food and beverage brands can successfully expand their business into Canada.