Exports to UK at Ten Year All-Time High

May 22, 2017
Big shelves to fill
LONDON, ENGLAND – The UK, the largest market for U.S. rice in the EU, has experienced an impressive 207 percent increase in all types of U.S. rice imports during the first 3 months of 2017 (over 10,000 MT valued at $5.4 million).  This has been driven by a staggering 5,877 percent increase in parboiled long grain rice imports and a 515 percent increase in long grain imports.
“Long a mainstay of ethnic markets here, we’re now seeing an overwhelming response from USA Rice promotions aimed at getting U.S. rice back onto mainstream UK retail shelves,” said Terry Harris, of Riceland Foods and chairman of the USA Rice Europe, Middle East, Africa Promotion Subcommittee.  “Following the initial success with retail promotions in 2014, we are seeing exports here increase significantly this year.”

UK marketing activities have been further strengthened by a broader strategy encompassing ethnic wholesale and retail, a traditionally important market for U.S. long grain rice.  Key relationships have been forged in the Chinese and Afro-Caribbean sectors and, in 2016, a highly successful trading partnership began with Wanis, the UK’s leading Afro-Caribbean wholesaler.

“Our focus, patience, and hard work has been rewarded and now U.S. rice is returning more broadly to the market,” added Hartwig Schmidt, USA Rice Regional Director.

“In addition to the retail and ethnic sectors, U.S. rice is also experiencing demand from the UK foodservice and manufacturing sectors.  A spokesperson for a leading UK manufacturer recently remarked that ‘the premium quality and consistency of US rice is seen as a benefit to both manufacturers and consumers alike,’” Schmidt said.