CHICAGO, IL -- Last week, more than 10,000 dietitians, nutrition science researchers, policy makers, healthcare providers, and food industry leaders from around the world gathered here to attend the 100th anniversary of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE). As an exhibitor, USA Rice promoted U.S. rice messaging, addressed nutrition and food safety questions, and distributed educational materials to conference attendees.
Visitors at the USA Rice booth were able to test their knowledge on the Think Rice trivia wheel, receive branded USBs containing recipes and nutrition information, interact with the domestic promotion team, and experience the difference in feel, smell, and look of various U.S.-grown rice varieties.
“FNCE is one of the most important trade shows we attend,” said Katie Maher, USA Rice director of strategic initiatives. “The show provides a great platform for USA Rice to present itself as the ultimate resource when it comes to all aspects of the U.S. rice industry from nutrition to sourcing and recipe production.”
In addition to the booth’s traditional offerings, surveys were conducted by USA Rice of more than 175 health professionals to gain insight on rice attitudes and usage. Takeaways from the survey include 98.2 percent of respondents recommending rice and rice products as part of a healthy diet with whole grain brown rice, whole grain brown aromatic rice, and wild rice among the top recommended types.
Respondents also expressed a positive perception of rice pinpointing the top appealing attributes of rice as versatility (77.4%), affordability (68.7%), and taste (63%). When asked about health qualities associated with rice, whole grain (79%), complex carbohydrate (60%), gluten-free (59%), and a source of energy (53%) were identified as the top responses. Lastly, respondents were asked about barriers to acceptance and consumption of rice. Thirty percent identified the carbohydrate content of rice as the primary barrier, followed by misperception and confusion on rice cooking times and techniques at 19 percent.
“The conversations we’re able to have here at FNCE are crucial in gaining reliable feedback to better understand consumer interests and needs, while reiterating our message that U.S.-grown rice is a central component of a healthy well-balanced diet in both schools and homes,” said Maher.
Also while at the show, USA Rice joined more than thirty organizations at the USDA MyPlate National Strategic Partner meeting to learn about new partner research and MyPlate initiatives, and network with other strategic partners.