Our team was delighted to gather with fellow Canadian brands at the Canada Business Builder’s Breakfast last week, hosted by Canada Organic Trade Association in Anaheim.
Not only was it a chance for Canadian brands to come together and network, but many useful trends and insights were shared on success stories and common struggles when entering a new market.
The common theme of the breakfast was: Know what you don’t know.
Working with so many brands in the wellness space ourselves (Canadian as well as international), this theme resonates with us – and know our clients feel the same, too!
In fact, in conversations with attendees and others during the show, the most common things brands are unaware of when selling in the U.S. market are related to regulatory concerns, compliance enforcement, and packaging.
Canadians never tire of seeing palm trees.
Keeping with the spirit of “know what you don’t know,” here are our top tips for entering the U.S. market as a Canadian or international brand:
How products are classified (i.e., food versus dietary supplement) differ between Canada and the U.S. – this becomes very important for products that make claims or contain ingredients not permitted in foods. Know this well before marketing your product!
Understand the regulations as early as possible in the produce lifecycle – this will reduce time and money spent on formulation, labelling, and packaging that ends up unsuitable for the U.S. regulations
Your label and marketing claims that are compliant in Canada may not be compliant in the U.S., and vice versa. It’s critical to understand all the compliance requirements, ingredient quantities that permit certain claims, and the burden of evidence required to validate your claims
The differences in nutrition labelling between the U.S. and Canada are more than just design and layout. The requirements for each market are intricate and can be daunting to get right, so working with an experienced regulatory consultant is essential.