How to Sell Food on eBay

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Selling US commercial food items on eBay can be profitable, especially if you sell to customers on the international eBay websites who do not have access to these items. They are highly regulated, however, by the food and drug administration and other government agencies. Government health departments are required to close businesses selling food items that fail to fall within established guidelines. EBay will cancel auctions for items that do not follow their guidelines or meet government regulations.

  • Research your different food sale options on eBay listings. These are usually found under the "Home and Garden" section. Visit other seller's eBay stores to see what types of items they sell. Study completed eBay listings to find out for what price the items sold, and what items sold best. Think of American food items you would miss if you lived abroad. These are the items you want to consider selling on eBay.

  • Purchase grocery items using coupons or sale offers to get better prices. Make sure, however, to check expiration dates to make sure they are longer than just a few days. The farther out an expiration date, the better the product will keep. Remember, many of these products are sent abroad and can take a week or two to arrive at their destination. You can sell food that has passed its "Best Until," "Display Until" or "Best Before" date, but the fresher the item, the more you'll please your customers.

  • Review shipping prices and food shipping regulations for the countries to which you will be sending your items. Shipping costs to foreign countries are higher, so it may be too expensive for a potential buyer to purchase just one food item and have it shipped. Consider listing multiple numbers of your product for one price and one shipping cost. Customers may prefer to purchase multiple items of the same product and have them shipped in one box to save money.

  • Create a listing for your food items on international eBay sites like eBay UK, eBay Latin America (DeRemate) or eBay Australia. Purchase items with as long a shelf life as possible.

  • Offer international shipping or shipping to military addresses on your eBay listing. Many eBay sellers do not offer international shipping, so be sure to make this service available, and specify the availability of international shipping in your listing. American military personnel and people living abroad often hunger for American made products. They're willing to pay for the extra international shipping costs.

  • Store food items according to the storage directions listed on the packaging. Store canned items and dry goods on dry shelving. When selecting foods at the grocery store, look for the appropriate storage and handling practices to help keep the product fresh longer. Improper handling of foods causes bacterial growth and spoilage.

  • Send the items as quickly as possible once they sell. Avoid having them arrive after the expiration date.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only commercially wrapped and made food products are acceptable for sale per eBay guidelines.
  • The kind of food items that sell well can usually be found in large urban areas or cities, but are unavailable in rural areas, as well as other countries. People living in these remote areas look for these types of sales on eBay.
  • American junk food products are very popular in other countries, often selling at much higher prices because they're otherwise unavailable.
  • All food items listed on eBay need to have a clearly marked expiration date and must be delivered to the customer before that date. It is illegal for any retailer, including those who sell products on eBay, to sell food items past the "Use by" date.

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