Oct 26, 2020
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – In 2019, Saudi Arabia was the sixth largest export destination for U.S. rice, importing 117,300 MT with a value of $96.8 million. Imports to the country thus far in 2020 are 73,000 MT, roughly equivalent to the same period last year, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that locked down traditional celebrations here including Ramadan and the annual religious pilgrimage that typically attracts millions of tourists to the Kingdom.
USA Rice promotions quickly adapted to this rapidly changing global environment, moving more activities online and intensifying engagement on social media. Seventy-two percent of the Saudi population uses social media, which is actually 2 percent higher than in the U.S., with people spending on average 3 hours per day online, so it made sense to increase the number of recipe posts, cooking competitions, and online messaging about U.S. rice.
“With the gradual improvement in the public health situation in the region, and as people have started venturing out more, USA Rice has launched a new media campaign focusing again on outdoor billboard and LED screen advertising to augment the social media advertising,” said Eszter Somogyi, USA Rice director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa. “Our new campaign kicked off in early October and will run for six weeks, using outdoor media with digital advertisement through eight large LED screens and two large unipoles on the main streets of Jeddah, and in selected cities in the Southern province including Najran, Jizan, Al Taef, and Al Medinah Al Munawwarah.”
USA Rice also is sponsoring Live It Well, a radio program that’s a fan favorite with the country’s female audience, and advertising on key cooking websites that have become more popular during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“These new efforts remind consumers who are traveling to grocery stores of the high quality and long history of authentic U.S. rice on the Saudi market by featuring recipes for the most popular Saudi dish, kabsah, cooked with U.S. rice,” said Somogyi.