ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- Last week, during the Istanbul World Food Exhibition, one of Turkey’s largest food and beverage expos targeting foodservice and deli operators, USA Rice showcased U.S. medium grain and wild rice for the more than 35,000 traders on hand.
A USA Rice booth welcomed visitors with a display of many U.S.-grown rice samples, including recently launched U.S. wild rice packages sold here, along with brochures and other literature explaining U.S. rice import procedures, quality determination, types of U.S.-grown rice, and supplier lists.
Activities focused on medium grain rice varieties Calrose and Jupiter, and wild rice mixed with white rice that could increase profitability while providing nutritious and flavorful meals to restaurant patrons.
USA Rice partnered with Istanbul Chefs Association Chef Sabahettin Guney to prepare three unique recipes featuring U.S.-grown rice that were served at an official event lunch to hundreds of attendees.
The recipes were: Wild Rice Pilaf cooked with USA Calrose Rice, Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Wild Rice, and Wild Rice Cream with Fruits, with the latter receiving the most positive feedback for its exciting flavors.
Fred Klose, manager of the California Wild Rice Advisory Board attended the show and met with traders and potential packers to understand the market and evaluate demand and interest in his organization’s products.
"We joined USA Rice here with a few specific objectives, all of which were accomplished,” Klose said. “We wanted to introduce wild rice mixes and varieties and showcase new uses for wild rice; we wanted to offer participants and targeted food professionals the opportunity to taste the products; and finally we wanted to educate the trade about U.S.-grown rice across the supply chain."
Feedback for USA Rice, and the California Wild Rice Advisory Board was positive, interest from food professionals and trade guests was high, and trade leads with major distributors across the region were generated, leading market watchers to suspect U.S. rice exports to Turkey are set to grow in the coming months.
USA rice works cooperatively with California and Minnesota to promote wild rice consumption internationally. California wild rice received funds from USDA’s emerging markets programs to conduct these specific activities.