What are the implications of exporting sweets to the United States?

Question posted by Steve Millard


We are a custom branded promotional merchandise distributor based in the UK, and we have had an enquiry from an international hotel chain in the United States for some custom branded sweets.

Because we are based in the UK and our sweets are manufactured in mainland Europe I would like to know if it is worth pursuing the enquiry, taking into consideration customs and food standards.

I don't know how large the order will be at this stage.

Many thanks,

Steve Millard
Grove Promotions Ltd

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Gemma Price, on behalf of @GemmaPriceUK in W13.

Hi Steve

Firstly I would say it is definitely worth perusing the order, even if it is a relatively small order!

In my experience large hotel chains will order goods for each hotel, so this could be an opportunity to really develop your international business and enter the US market.

If I were in your position I would connect with UK Trade & Investment in the first instance. UKTI will have an International Trade Adviser on staff that specifically deals with this region and will know the intricacies of the market.

If you would prefer to just get a general feel / foundation knowledge of the US market the “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Organization” (or CBP as they are more commonly known) have published an extensive guide on how to import into the US:


There is no general licensing of imports into the US and almost all UK goods may enter freely. This is also the case for some EU countries but without knowing exactly which European country you manufacture in it is difficult to be more precise with this.

The requirements/considerations I know of for food / sugar based goods are:

- Special invoice declarations
- Special labelling requirements
- Certificate of Origin (required for items containing animal byproducts)

You can find out more on the above items by contacting:

United States Customs Attache
31 Grosvenor Square
T: 0207 499 9000

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Gemma Price, on behalf of @GemmaPriceUK in W13.

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You may also find support / guidance from the following contacts:

Embassy of the United States of America (commercial section)
T: 0207 894 0419
E: office.london@trade.gov

BIS Country Desk
Contact : Oliver Parsons
T: 0207 215 4608

Food / Foodstuffs exporters to the US are also advised to visit the following website, although in honesty I did not find it a useful resource:


I hope this helps.

Kind regards

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HMRC Advisor, on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs in G67.

Information on the Customs requirements for exporting is given in HMRC Public Notice 275. All notices can be found on our website www.hmrc.gov.uk under Quick Links > Library > Official Statistics – Publications – Notices, Info Sheets & Other Reference Materials > Import, Export & International Trade. The Public Notices are in numerical order.

I would also suggest that you contact the American Customs Authorities to ascertain if there are any import restrictions on such items.

HM Revenue & Customs

Customs International Trade & Excise


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Sarah Carroll, on behalf of Grow Global Limited in BN1.

Dear Steve

Great to hear that you're looking to export your sweets, or candy as they would call it, to the USA.

You may be interested to know that UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) offers a service called the Export Communications Review (ECR) which can help you to optimise your website for international trade, making you visible in search engines in the USA and other countries.
This will help you to generate new leads and sales online, as well as finding new buyers and distributors for your sweets.

I am the accredited ECR consultant for UKTI in London and the South East. If you'd like to find out more, please take a look at www.growglobal.com under Services or send us an email to ecr@growglobal.com.

Good luck with your international plans!


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The first port of call would be the US FDA
Then do market research on the product:
Establish - what is the target audience?
Volume or high end?
Perishable foodstuffs?
Just in time delivery?
How do you think US tastes differ from ours (They do and a lot!)
We have cases where the food side of things especially confectionery has failed miserably because the client never identified with the varied & eclectic US tastes.

Please see: www.agc.as "Alliance US ON-Site repesentational services" on the home page or call me:
GS Waller 01268-410211 and I am sure I can assist you in this venture and market entry

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