Branded Program Industry Spotlight Series: Pet Food

Part 3 of a new blog series that features industry segments and explores how to use the Branded Program to its fullest potential. This post is about Pet Food.

by John Eppinger, Branded Program Associate, Food Export-Northeast

International sales are more important than ever to grow your business and diversify risk from the U.S. domestic market. Marketing support is essential to grow those international sales. Food Export’s Branded Program recognizes marketing’s essential role and helps make it possible by reimbursing Midwest and Northeast food and agricultural suppliers for 50% of their international marketing expenses.

In this blog series we feature a new industry segment each month and give specific examples per industry segment of how suppliers can utilize the Branded Program to the fullest of its potential.

What if I told you that the “food” in Food Export did not just represent food for humans? While most of Food Export’s companies produce food for human consumption, there are a lot of pet food producing companies as well.

Since 2018, suppliers of pet food have been reimbursed over $5.6 million for 50% of their international marketing expenses.

Popular Pet Food Promotions

We reimburse a variety of creative international promotions in the Branded Program, and promotion of pet food is no exception. Here are a few popular types of promotions for pet food:

Social Media

The pet food sector has the unique opportunity to utilize cute animals when marketing their products. In the photo below, you will see how U.S. pet food producers often adapt their product to the foreign market they are targeting. In this case, they ran Facebook ads in Hong Kong.

Country Naturals Pet Food

Export Packaging & Labeling

Foreign countries almost always require U.S. companies to change their packaging to meet the importing countries rules and regulations. We can reimburse for the design, translation, printing, and stickering of your pet food product packaging. You can learn more about developing foreign market complaint labels in our recent blog.


Food Export participants have utilized creating ads for a variety of mediums; this includes in magazines, on websites, and even in television programs. Below you will see a screenshot of a video advertisement made by Chicken Soup for the Soul targeting the Canadian market. (Note the U.S. origin statement on the right. For international marketing it is always required.)

Chicken Soup for the Soul


The exhibition cost of presenting at a trade show is an eligible expense in the Branded Program. This includes trade show booth design, shipping trade show materials to the show, and the travel costs for international shows.

Popular pet food shows that companies attend and receive reimbursement for include the following:

Giveaway Items

Giveaway items are a great way for companies at trade shows to leave potential customers with something to remember you by. These come in all shapes in sizes, the one below is a to-go bag from Annamaet Petfoods. Don’t forget, all reimbursable give-away items must include a U.S. origin statement!

Annamaet Petfoods

Success Stories

Check out these companies who’ve successfully utilized the Branded Program to support their international sales:

In 2020 Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals, utilized Food Export – Northeast’s Branded Program to build new relationships including 68 new distributorships and even a first-time sale to China. Through utilizing the program they also earned sales of over $2 Million to Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and South Korea.

Since 2011, Best Breed Inc., has been a prosperous Branded Program participant, and that growth continued in 2019 where they reported yet another increase in new export sales to South Korea.  The supplier also reported that they expect sales over the next 12 months to continue with positive growth.  In addition to these excellent sales numbers, Best Breed Inc. also announced a new agent partnership in the South Korean market while utilizing their allocated Market Access Program (MAP) funding.

How Can We Help?

Are you promoting pet food products in foreign markets? We’d love to work with you! Get started today with a pre-qualification here.

We’d also encourage you to reach out to other organizations that offer export development programs focused specifically on your industry:

Make sure to check out the social media accounts for the partner organizations listed above to get the most up to date info on their events and efforts in the industry!

Upcoming Food Export Pet Food Events