USA Rice Cooks Up Contacts at Restaurant Convention

May 19, 2015
Katie Maher talks with a specialty food manufacturer.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – USA Rice staff were among the more than 65,000 foodservice professionals at the National Restaurant Association 2015 Show here this year.  More than 2,000 exhibitors showed off all manner of foods, drinks, equipment, and gadgets for the restaurant industry.

USA Rice members Riceland and Riviana exhibited, performed cooking demonstrations, and handed out samples to the crowds.  In addition to these members, USA Rice staff visited with representatives of several major rice customers and potential customers including Sysco, Taco Bell, Kellogg’s, and several rice flour end users.  Staff also attended learning sessions on topics including food trends, consumer perceptions of authentic cuisines, and using social media effectively to communicate with “foodies.”

With the touch of a button
One of the technical highlights of the show were automated sushi machines that produced and packaged individual pieces of sushi.  When asked if the machine was using California rice the exhibitor replied, “of course we are.”

“As we look to expand our foodservice programs, attending this show was invaluable,” said Katie Maher, manager of domestic promotion for USA Rice who attended the conference.  “We were able to get a good handle on the foodservice universe, to see what’s possible, what we should pursue, and what we can skip given the resources available to us.”

Maher said the gluten free section of the trade show continues to expand, with most of the exhibitors using some sort of rice flour.  Many had food safety questions and were happy to make connections with USA Rice to serve as a resource for good, scientific information.

Contact:  Michael Klein (703) 236-1458


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