USA Rice conducts more than 2,700 promotional activities in almost 25 countries each year to support the sales of U.S. rice abroad. Rice industry funds help augment the money received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program to conduct these activities, and an excellent indicator of the activities’ effectiveness is the willingness of local brands to also contribute their own funds to the efforts.
USA Rice works closely with the U.S. rice importers in key markets, such as the UK, Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, to develop promotional plans that support the sales of all locally available U.S. rice brands. All U.S. rice brands available in the market are welcome to participate, and many do.
“USA Rice’s third party ‘buy in’ program generated an additional $368,911 in 2017 from all importers participating in our different promotional activities in these four countries,” said Terry Harris, chairman of the USA Rice International Promotion Committee.
“These additional funds not only extend the reach of the combined FMD and MAP 2017 budgets by 33 percent but also attest to the value these importers place in our marketing efforts.”
Harris said the program creates valuable partnerships as the local importers now have “skin in the game” that motivates them to continue sourcing and identifying U.S. rice on a long-term basis; it encourages new companies to begin importing U.S. rice to be able to get in on the program; and the real-time market feedback helps ensure USA Rice promotions are on message and on trend.
The local U.S. rice importers also benefit from USA Rice expertise in creating promotional materials and programs, and with the additional backing of the MAP and FMD funds, they can afford to have stronger promotional support for their U.S. rice brands that ultimately increase sales and U.S. rice exports.
“We absolutely see higher sales in these markets, and are fostering sourcing loyalty to U.S. origin,” concluded Harris.