USA Rice Market Research Focuses on El Salvador

Jan 31, 2017
Difficult to demo here anyway
A small local shop in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR – USA Rice, ASALBAR (El Salvador Association of Rice Millers), and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service representatives in San Salvador met earlier this month to discuss the results of USA Rice market research into consumer behavior and preferences in El Salvador.

“We learned that regardless of the source, statistics and consumption figures show that there is a stagnation in rice consumption in El Salvador, or at best, very timid growth,” said Jose Alfonso Lainez of Praxis, the firm that conducted the research.  “Consumers see rice as a complement to the main dish, making it easy to replace with items such as potatoes, vegetables, salad, and about 20 other options they name.  However, one of the changes in consumer behavior we noted was a migration from purchases at traditional ‘tiendas’ and ‘pulperías’, (small shops), to establishments that offer better conditions of safety and cleanliness.”

This shift actually makes it easier to reach consumers through in store demonstrations – something USA Rice began last year.

Although rice is rich in vitamins and minerals, and is an excellent source of energy, the research confirms not many consumers are aware of its health benefits.  Several means of communicating these important facts, in an effort to increase rice consumption here, were discussed, including a public relations campaign targeting health professionals, paid media with nutrition and lifestyle journals and popular newspapers, and educational outreach at local health clinics. Additionally, a large scale cooking lesson for professional chefs will be held in a renowned culinary school later this year.

USA Rice will use the results of this study to fine tune promotional activities in this important and growing market.  From January through November 2016, U.S. rice exports to El Salvador were 265,000 tons – up 636 percent over the same period in 2015.