Jun 19, 2020
ARLINGTON, VA -- As people all over the world are changing how they work, play, and consume, USA Rice is conducting similar changes in the organization’s international marketing programs. Meetings with importers and utilizers of U.S. rice are happening virtually, rather than in person, and most of the consumer-facing promotions have transitioned to social media as social distancing restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis are still in effect in many countries.
Other changes include taking a step back and using this time to conduct additional research on rice.
“In Mexico, we are commencing nutraceutical research, which means determining the health benefits of rice in addition to its basic nutritional value, to help create messaging that resonates with health-conscious consumers,” said Asiha Grigsby, director of international promotion for the Western Hemisphere. “And in Canada, we are looking to develop consumer surveys to determine how purchasing behavior has changed over the past year.”
“In Taiwan we are conducting research on cooking attributes of various types of U.S. rice to share with the foodservice industry,” said Jim Guinn, director of Asia promotion programs. “The humanitarian aspects of our promotions are also important, as we show appreciation for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. We are now working on a second event in Singapore, delivering bento boxes to hospital workers and other unsung heroes.”
“Many retail sectors are seeing significant increases in their online sales platforms,” said Eszter Somogyi, director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. “We’re reaching out to U.S. rice importers in several markets to develop marketing materials and activities that can help U.S. rice sales in this arena.”
The only constant in life is change and USA Rice is working to ensure our overseas activities are evolving to remain effective in increasing sales of U.S. rice and are relevant in the current environment.
The U.S. has exported more than 1.1 million tons in the first four months of 2020, valued at $655 million – a 5 percent increase in volume from 2019 and a 10 percent increase in value.