ARLINGTON, VA - This September marks the 25th Anniversary of National Rice Month, a time to celebrate the harvest of this small, but mighty grain, and to remind shoppers to Think Rice while at the grocery store. This year, USA Rice is conducting customized promotions with supermarket registered dietitians (SRDs) at eight retail chains, including: Giant, HEB, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Rouses, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, and Weis Markets.
"This past spring, we conducted promotions with dietitians at two retail chains that generated nearly 19 million shopper impressions - so our messages were well amplified," said Paul Galvani, USA Rice Retail Subcommittee chairman. "Building on that success, the retailers we are partnering with next month cover almost half of all U.S. grocery shoppers."
Throughout the month, USA Rice's SRD partners will promote National Rice Month and U.S.-grown rice through various supermarket communication channels, such as: in-store radio ads, recipe demonstrations, newsletters, store magazines, circulars, store tours, nutrition classes, and more.
"We have some really unique promotions planned including U.S. rice-themed health and wellness text messages that H-E-B dietitians will send to more than 80,000 shoppers," said Galvani. "And Kroger dietitians are hosting an incentive contest to encourage employees to cook with U.S. rice and share their photos and nutrition tips."
Galvani also says that during National Rice Month several USA Rice Domestic Promotion initiatives dovetail to pack a powerful punch.
"The SRDs have received two recipe cards featuring USA Rice recipes, one of which, 'Brown Rice with Sizzling Chicken and Vegetables' is a result of our partnership with USDA's MyPlate program, and the other, 'Brown and Wild Rice Tropical Salad' is from a recipe contest USA Rice ran last year," he said. "USA Rice also distributed the refreshed SRD toolkit to a network of dietitians at 34 retailers nationwide."
Again this year, USA Rice is teaming up with Advanced Fresh Concepts, the largest supermarket sushi distributor in the United States, to conduct an NRM promotion in grocery stores and military commissaries. More than 2,000 stores across the country will feature sushi display case signage and 'Rice Grown in the USA' stickers on sushi containers. Last year, sushi sales increased 9 percent during the promotion.
Strongly supported by American rice farmers and millers, National Rice Month has become a well-known national program used to educate consumers about the benefits of rice grown in the USA. Next up will be a look at foodservice programs for September.