LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - In a major victory for the rice industry, U.S. rice has reemerged on mainstream UK retail shelves for the first time since 2006.
The reappearance of U.S. rice in U.K. retail stores comes after years of campaigning and promotional efforts by USA Rice to assure suppliers that U.S.-grown rice is a high quality, competitive crop free of GMO traits. Last October, a USA Rice trade delegation traveled to the UK to meet with major retailers, UK rice importers, millers, and selected wholesalers.
During that successful trip, the team met with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service representatives from London, and Jim Higgiston, the Agricultural Minister Counselor at the United States Mission to the EU.
"We had an excellent and worthwhile dialogue with U.K. importers that has apparently paid off," said Bastiaan de Zeeuw, president and CEO of Riviana Foods.
For the past several years, U.S. long grain rice in the UK had only been present in the ethnic segment of the market, targeting mainly Chinese, as well as the Afro-Caribbean and Bangladeshi populations, a loyal consumer base who appreciate U.S. long grain's high quality characteristics.
However, thanks to the continuous joint effort by USA Rice and U.K. importers, U.S. rice can now be enjoyed by a much wider audience.
The umbrella brand carrying U.S. rice, Tolly Boy, is a well-known and trusted brand in the UK market, carrying different high quality rice varieties. The identified U.S. rice brand is available in select Asda stores in 5 kg and 10 kg packaging and its presence in mainstream retail stores has the potential to expand the consumer base substantially, offering higher sales volumes for U.S. long grain rice.
"This is an exciting development for the U.S. rice industry. The U.K. has the potential to grow into a significant market again and perhaps signal our imminent return to the continent as well," said Bastiaan de Zeeuw.
Contact: Eszter Somogyi 011-49-40-4503-8667