Turkish Retailer Shares the Bill with USA Rice for Promotions

May 26, 2017
Curious crowd
ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- A major Turkish retailer, Uyum Hypermarket, recently joined forces with USA Rice to promote U.S.-grown rice here with a cost-sharing marketing program.  The campaign, that included retail displays at one of their busiest hypermarkets, was conducted in the run up to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, that this year begins today and ends on June 24.

Rice consumption is very high during Ramadan because, though observers fast from sunrise until sunset, they gather with friends and family for a post-sunset meal, called an Iftar.  It is also common to have one meal, known as Suhoor, just before sunrise.  A wide variety of dishes, many of which are rice-based, are prepared for the Iftar.

The five-day campaign to promote U.S. rice included outdoor and indoor billboards, where the hypermarkets paid 50 percent of the costs; giveaways that included aprons, consumer bags and hats, where the hypermarkets paid 30 percent of the costs; and retail display space, completely paid for by the hypermarkets.  

Posters promoting the event and special announcements in the stores invited customers to taste healthy recipes made with U.S.-grown rice, presented by famous gourmet Elif Korkmazel.  Additionally, festive USA Rice booths were installed in the hypermarkets aimed at increasing visibility for U.S. rice, and educating consumers through taste events and distribution of recipes booklets and materials co-sponsored by participating U.S. rice brands.  

Throughout the campaign, sales of U.S. rice at Uyum stores increased by an average of 700 percent and consumers received important messages about the versatility and cooking characteristics of U.S. rice.

“We have very good acceptance here and Turkey is an important growth market for our industry,” said Hartwig Schmidt, USA Rice Regional Director.  “I think it is particularly telling that the retailers paid for part of these promotions because it shows they not only like our products, but see value in our specific promotion program to help drive sales at their stores."

Schmidt said cost sharing programs between USA Rice, local brands, and local retailers have been successful in the Middle East, the United Kingdom, and now Turkey.

“The success of these programs and the support from local businesses is undeniable,” he said.

Last year, the U.S. exported about $31 million of U.S. rice to Turkey; in the first three months of 2017, $10.5 million of U.S. rice has already been shipped.