USA Rice Domestic Usage Report Confirms Significant COVID-19 Retail Bump

2019-20-DUR-Cover with photos of milled brown rice (left) and mature rice field (right)
Just the facts
Apr 29, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, USA Rice released the 2019-20 U.S. Rice Domestic Usage Report, an annual publication that tracks categorized domestic shipments and consumption of U.S.-grown milled rice.  The report covers the 2019-20 marketing year, which ran from August 1, 2019 through July 31, 2020.

According to the report, U.S. rice mills shipped 113.3 million hundredweights (cwt) of rice to domestic and foreign markets, an increase of 4.5 percent over the 2018-19 market year.

Overall, the report captures 69.1 million cwt of rice shipped domestically, an increase of 6 percent over last year.  Of that, 60.4 percent is for direct food use and 39.6 percent for processed foods like pet food, beer, saké, and snacks.  This distribution is very similar to that of 2018-19, indicating stable trends in domestic demand in these areas.

The report captured the first five months of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the U.S. market, which resulted in a change in the rice industry’s domestic distribution patterns.  While many direct food use sectors saw increases this year, the most notable change is the significant increase in retail sales, which grew 10.4 percent in 2019-20 compared to 2018-19.

"The numbers included in the Domestic Usage Report provide statistical support to the anecdotal evidence of empty store shelves across the country in 2020," said Gary Reifeiss, vice president of marketing and sales with Producers Rice Mill and chair of the USA Rice Domestic Usage Report Subcommittee.  “A concerning note is the continued sharp increase in imported rice with a 28.6 percent increase over last year.  The 2020-21 industry survey, due sometime after July 2021, will provide additional COVID-19-related distribution data to help further analyze its impact.”

The report is complimentary for USA Rice members who contributed data towards the report.  Others interested in purchasing a copy of the report can do so via the USA Rice website.