USA Rice Reaches 6 Million Turkish Consumers Thanks to Blogger Events

Apr 26, 2017
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ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- Turkey is a high priority market for exports sales and a good prospect for promoting increased consumption of U.S. rice due to the young, westernized population readily accepting of imported products, a concentration of buyers, a well-developed media, and a tradition of rice consumption.  As with many countries around the world, reaching these younger consumers is best accomplished via social media, an inexpensive and convenient way to gain media coverage that plays out in sales over the long term.

In 2016, USA Rice held two blogger events here, Turkey’s most populated city with more than 17 million consumers.  The first event targeted media bloggers with the goal of introducing U.S. rice and U.S. wild rice, and to teach about the versatility of U.S. rice, along with its taste and quality attributes.  

Sixteen top food bloggers attended the social media campaign launch with the Kirinti restaurant chain.  According to Deniz Erkul, the operation's owner, wild rice menu sales are now 20 percent of the total menu due to the USA Rice promotion.  “We believe that U.S. rice and mainly wild rice will be an asset to our existing rich menu.  Expanding our menu and including U.S. rice in different meal parts like salads, main dishes, and even desserts is exactly what we are looking for to encourage our customers to order it and to keep our menu fresh and exciting," said Erkul.

The Kirinti U.S. rice campaign generated free media coverage and blogger support as key dailies like Milliyet, with over 1.5 million readers, covered it.  

“Consumers naturally trust third-party blog posts about a product or company more than statements from the company itself,” said USA Rice Regional Director Hartwig Schmidt.  “And we are happy to report this campaign generated five million impressions which is media exposure for U.S. rice equivalent to $50,000 ad buy, at a fraction of the cost.”

USA Rice hosted a similar blogger event at the Armada Club in Antalya where the restaurant’s executive chef prepared two dishes using U.S. rice.  The 22 food bloggers who participated received recipe brochures and detailed information about U.S. wild rice cooking and quality tips.  The coverage in major blogs generated one million impressions for U.S. wild rice.

“Last year, the U.S. exported about $31 million worth of U.S. rice to Turkey,” stated Schmidt.  “It’s an important growth market for our industry and we are grateful for the use of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (MAP) funds to help us market here.  Because of the MAP program, we are able to promote our products overseas and diversify the markets where we sell U.S. rice products.  This program is a huge boost to our growers who export about 50 percent of their crop each year.”