Companies currently participating in the U.S. Identity Preserved assurance plan and using the U.S. Identity Preserved brand mark are already enjoying the benefits of Food Export Midwest’s Branded Program, which offers reimbursement to food and agricultural suppliers for a percentage of their international marketing expenses. The following blog post, submitted by Food Export Midwest, is an introduction to its Branded Program. Apply to join the U.S. Identity Preserved assurance plan and brand mark program and get connected with Food Export today!

Offset costs on your (or your importer’s) marketing plans

In a time when maintaining international sales is more important than ever to grow your business and diversify risk, taking advantage of federal programs that support this objective is a must. Marketing support is essential to grow your international sales.

Once distribution is established in a particular market is important to promote a product to build sales and Food Export Association of the Midwest USA administers a program called the Branded Program. This program makes it possible to reimburse food and agricultural suppliers for 50% of their international marketing expenses.

This blog will introduce you to the Branded Program, and give you examples to help you take full advantage of the program.  

We work with small U.S.-based ingredient companies every day. Here’s how it works:

  • The U.S. supplier completes the Branded Program application process and once is approved,
  • The U.S. supplier or their international partner executes some type of international marketing or promotional event or activity.
  • Then, the U.S. supplier collects the documentation and submits it to the Branded Program.
  • The Branded Program reviews the documentation and reimburses 50% of the eligible cost!

Following are a few of the most popular types of promotions for ingredient companies:

Technical Product Information

  • Some food ingredients and additives may need explanation or training before use. We can reimburse for the creation, translation, and printing of technical product literature.
  • Informational videos directed at a foreign audience, and technical seminars or product demos hosted by the company or their importer are also eligible.
  • Check out this example video of one of these expenses from one of our suppliers:

Export Packaging and Labeling

  • Many foreign markets require different labels or stickers for imported ingredients. You may translate your product information into another language, add your importer information, etc. We can reimburse for the design, translation, printing, and stickering of your packages with the new labels.

Sample Shipments

  • As in any industry, ingredient importers need to see, feel, and test out food ingredients in their products before committing to buy them. We can reimburse for the freight costs of sending samples to potential clients in foreign markets.
  • There is no cap on the number of sample shipments that you can have reimbursed, as long as the countries are in your Branded Program application.


  • Billboards, magazines, television and radio ads, and other traditional forms of marketing are popular for ingredient companies. Their creation, placement, and translation costs are eligible for reimbursement.
  • The costs to advertise your product on B2B online marketplaces may be eligible if directed toward a foreign audience.

Product / In-store sampling Events

  • Cooking demonstrations using your product, or product tastings in foreign markets are eligible for reimbursement.
  • Pro tip: Check out this blog for more information on how your importer/distributor can work with you to receive reimbursement (via your U.S. based company) for marketing your company’s brands. Contact your Branded Program team for further information.

Website Development

  • Companies in all industries can benefit from having an importer or international business focused website. The Branded Program can reimburse for the costs of designing, translating, maintaining, and updating a website directed toward a foreign audience. 
  • Here is an example of an internationally focused website from one of our suppliers:

Tradeshows (in-person and virtual)

*Travel to tradeshows in the U.S. is not eligible for reimbursement
**As of right now, Supply Side West is only eligible for the 2022 Branded Program year.

Success Stories

Below a testimonial from a user of the the Branded Program:

In 2020, Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, located in Nevada, Missouri, utilized Food Export – Midwest’s Branded Program. One of the first markets they exported to was Germany in 2013. Since then, they have exported to Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland where they captured up to 30% of their total sales from exports. 

“I like the cost share program because, we have to invest in it too, and commit that we are paying a portion…it helps small businesses like ourselves take on and develop those markets affordably” said Joe Wilson, Co-Owner and General Manager of Missouri Northern Pecan Growers. Cheshta Sehgal, FSQ Manager, appreciates that the Branded Program will help cover artwork, labeling, translation, advertising, promotional materials, and marketing costs. Because of their increased sales they have hired on 3 additional employees.

How Can We Help?

Are you promoting Ingredients & Additives in foreign markets? If so, we’d love to work with you!

Our program runs annually. Ideally you want to submit this application before the new year starts, so the whole year is open to reimbursable marketing. However, we accept applications on a rolling basis pending available funding. Just be sure to submit the application before you pay and conduct any marketing you want to be reimbursed.

Want to know if you are an eligible company?  Just answer the 3 questions below.

  • Are you a U.S. company?
  • Do you meet the SBA guidelines of a small business?
  • Do you promote brand name products that contain at least 50% U.S. agricultural content by weight (excluding added water and packing)?

If your answer to these 3 questions is YES, then great news!  Get started today with a Branded Program pre-qualification here.

If you are interested, we would love to get you started in the process:

Food Export Association of the Midwest USA (Food Export–Midwest) is a non-profit organization created in 1969 as a cooperative effort between 13 Midwestern state agricultural promotion agencies and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Our purpose is to provide a wide range of services to facilitate trade between Midwestern food suppliers and importers around the world.