Grocery eCommerce has become one of the fastest-growing product categories, particularly in the U.S. If you are wondering how to sell food on Amazon to tap into this lucrative sector, this is the guide for you.
Amazon private label food brands are slowly overtaking national brands, with customer loyalty growing at a similar pace.
Not only are customers more open to buying groceries online, but they seem to be trusting private label brands far more than national brands.
Private labelling has become the go-to option for many food sellers because of the flexibility and pricing controls.
Let’s get into the details of how you can start selling fresh food and groceries on Amazon.
How Do I Sell Food on Amazon?
Selling food and groceries on Amazon is slightly different in the United States versus the UK.
Whichever marketplace you decide on, you will need to set up a Professional Amazon seller account, go through the necessary approval process, and create your listings.
It will also be necessary to undertake the necessary product research, ensuring you are selling in-demand food and/or beverage items, more on that later.
As for the specifics per marketplace, here are the basics.
Sell Food on Amazon U.S.
To sell products under Amazon’s Grocery and Gourmet Food category on Amazon, you need to meet a few key requirements.
Here are some of the general product requirements that U.S. sellers need to meet:
- Sellers require a license or approval from a government agency depending on the products they plan to sell.
- All products need to comply with federal and state laws.
- Food needs to be correctly prepared, packaged, and labelled. Used products are prohibited, and expiration dates need to be clearly marked. Here are some useful links for you to look through; FDA Food Labeling and Nutrition, FDA Pet Food, and USDA Label Approval web pages.
- Manufacturer UPC codes need to be used when listing food items. For more information, see Product UPCs and GTINs.
If you plan to sell chilled foods, additional requirements need to be met.
Sellers also need to meet specific performance targets:
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
Sell Food on Amazon UK
Any seller wanting to list food items for sale in the UK needs to meet several EU food regulations (this could change with Brexit). These regulations are aimed at maintaining high-quality standards, hygiene, and animal and plant health.
Some of the product requirements that UK sellers need to meet include:
- Food needs to be correctly packaged, labelled, and delivered. You can access details on the EU regulation on the provision of food information to consumers here.
- Labels should be in the same language as the website and comply with all labelling regulations.
- Expiry dates cannot be covered by labels and should be readable on the box.
- To sell organic products, you must carry a valid, in-date organic certification in accordance with EU directive 834/2007.
- Prohibited food items cannot be sold on Amazon UK – you can find the full list here.
Lot’s to go through here; please take your time with this.
How to Get Approved to Sell Food on Amazon
The requirements for selling food on Amazon are definitely a lot more stringent than other categories.
This is understandable considering the nature of food and beverages.
To ensure your listings are approved, this is what you should have on your to-do list:
Secure the Necessary Documentation and Certification
Once you sign up for a Professional Amazon Selling Plan, Amazon will require the necessary documentation for the products you wish to sell. As a U.S. seller, you need to provide a Certificate of Registration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and your FDA New Dietary Ingredient Notification.
As a UK seller, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Certificate of Registration and Food Standards Agency (FSA) New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) Notification.
Regardless of the market, you will also need to produce a business license.
If you are planning to sell organic products, you need to prove your product was produced to USDA organic requirements. UK sellers need to ensure their products are certified by one of the UK’s organic control bodies.
Familiarize Yourself with Packaging and Labeling Requirements
Food products that can melt, spoil or get damaged need to meet Amazon’s specific packaging and labelling requirements to be approved. You should also be aware of Amazon FBA rules and requirements, previously we’ve had chocolate rejected from Amazon as they will only receive goods like this at certain times of the year.
As mentioned above, each product requires a visible expiration date marking and should arrive at an Amazon fulfilment centre with a shelf life of 105 days or more.
Any packaging should include the name of the product, the packaging company address, net quantity and weight, and any specific product information such as gluten-free indicators.
Be Aware of Specialized Product Requirements
If you do plan to sell frozen foods or food that requires refrigeration, additional documents are required. I suggest you read through these Chilled and Frozen Foods guidelines for more details and to ensure your listings are approved.
Since Amazon recognizes the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmark standards, you need to prove your items are handled and shipped correctly. This also means proving you have all the necessary permits to distribute your chosen products.
If you keep these requirements in mind and apply to sell food items with all the necessary documentation, there is no reason why your listings won’t be approved.
What Is the Difference Between Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh?
The main difference between these two platforms is that you cannot sell perishables on Prime Pantry. This includes items such as meat, dairy, and vegetables. If you want to sell fresh items, Amazon Fresh is the right platform for you.
Unfortunately, Amazon Fresh is only available in specific areas across the U.S. and UK.
As for Prime Pantry, this is only available to Prime Members in the U.S currently.
Even though Prime Pantry was discontinued in the UK in June 2020, many of the bestsellers are being moved over to the Amazon.co.uk site.
Best Foods to Sell on Amazon
Deciding which products to sell is one of the most important parts of getting set up on Amazon as a seller.
One way to decide which products you should consider selling is to browse Amazon’s Best Seller Site. This includes both perishables and non-perishables.
This is only a small part of getting to know what people are buying on Amazon, though – you need to take your research one step further.
Below you can see a video with one of the techniques I use to qualify demand for particular product ideas, we also offer full product research training if you want to take things to the next level.
How Do You Make Money Selling Groceries on Amazon?
Along with selecting the right grocery items to sell, how you set up and optimize your product listings will play a big role in how much money you make.
One approach is to create variation listings for products in the same line. This ensures customers have a better idea of what you are selling in terms of product sizes, flavours, and other variations.
You also want to do what you can to convince customers to purchase more than one unit. Offering coupons, buy-one-get-one-free specials, and selling complementary products are just some of the ways to do this.
In terms of the look and feel of your listing, focus on your images, headlines, and product descriptions to grab and hold a customer’s attention. Instead of just using food images, add a few lifestyle images into the mix too. You can also highlight the benefits of your products using bullet points, which is great for conversions.
Lastly, don’t forget to keep a close eye on your sales numbers. These will tell you early on which products you should stop wasting your time on.
Here is some information on how to use Amazon Brand Analytics for this exact purpose.
Should You Sell Food on Amazon?
Based on the rate that the online grocery shopping sector is expanding, selling food on Amazon can certainly be a worthwhile endeavour.
Once you have all the necessary documentation in place, you mostly need to follow all the same processes and suggestions as product sellers. This includes optimizing your listings, expanding or altering your offering, adjusting prices, and marketing your products.
Have any further questions about selling groceries on Amazon? Leave me a comment below.