America Calrose medium-grain rice debuts in Costco stores in Japan

calrose sampling at Japanese costco

Tasting station at a Costco store in Japan offers Sun Valley rice to customers.

Costco stores in Japan have just completed a first-of-a-kind tasting test of American-grown white Calrose rice.

The successful testing brings the product one step closer to being sold alongside other popular American products at Costco and other retail stores throughout Japan, according to a news release.

In-store food tastings were conducted this September at 20 of the 26 Costco outlets in Japan featuring Calrose medium-grain white rice milled and packaged by Sun Valley Rice, a Sacramento, California-based rice mill.

The goal of the Costco tastings was to determine how responsive Japanese customers would be to the American-grown rice.

The 5-kilogram bag of LaGrande Family Calrose rice is the first rice product grown, milled and packaged in the United States for direct retail sale in Japan. The milling facility at Sun Valley Rice meets Japan’s retail specifications, allowing them to bypass a second processor in Japan and pass on the savings to Costco consumers.

The LaGrande Family has been farming in California since the 1850s and has been farming rice for the past 100 years in the Sacramento Valley.

“We understand the role that small, local family farms play in feeding the world — since we come from one,” says Ken LaGrande, Sun Valley president and CEO. “The feedback indicates that consumers and restaurant owners are impressed by the quality, flavor and texture of our rice.

“We are looking to see the market grow and expand into other retail markets as Calrose rice gains more popularity with Japanese consumers.”