By Betsy Ward
President and CEO
USA Rice Federation
USA Rice’s vital efforts offer excellent return on investment.
USA Rice’s domestic promotion program is supported by check-off dollars from rice states and is spent in three main areas: Nutrition, Foodservice and Retail. Our international programs are supported by the USDA’s Foreign Market Development (FMD), Market Access Program (MAP) and the Emerging Market Program (EMP), and also bolstered by rice check-off money.
We have robust promotion programs here and abroad, specifically designed to move the needle for you. We’re constantly apprising our activities based on feedback and results. One thing is certain, we need to keep our promotion programs moving forward.
The return on your investment is both measurable and immense.
Every day our government’s nutrition policy touches us – from the nutrition facts panel on packaged food, to the meals Americans eat in schools, hospitals and even the military – food decisions are rooted in nutrition policy. Keeping U.S.-grown rice front and center is the name of the game.
We commission nutrition research highlighting the health benefits of eating U.S. rice and engage with policymakers and national nutrition organizations, whose recommendations trickle into other areas as well, which is why this is a top priority.
Dining Out And In With Rice
Retail and foodservice promotions are all about connecting with consumers. People have a choice when they shop, plan menus or order out at a restaurant. We want to make certain that rice factors in their decision making and that they, Think Rice, our new consumer theme.
We partner with supermarket chains to promote rice year round through their publications, circulars, in-store displays and demonstrations, and social media. We typically see sales increase as much as 15 percent as a result.
In 2014, we successfully partnered with Supermarket Retail Dieticians – a growing and influential group of professionals who help shoppers make healthy decisions.
Our foodservice goals are similar to our retail goals – on an industrial scale. The recipes we promote through our foodservice website, menurice.com, speak directly to professional chefs, taking into account industrial quantities and equipment, food cost calculations and required nutritional information.
Our Grown in the USA logo and National Rice Month activities also help us reach additional consumer targets.
We operate successful marketing programs in 30 countries, from attempting to crack the table rice market in Japan and Korea, to paving the way for the eventual exporting of U.S. rice to China. And from awareness campaigns in Jordan and Turkey, to in-store demonstrations and the launch of a new U.S.-grown seal in Mexico, our largest export market.
Our programs are carefully tailored to each market. Sometimes speaking directly to consumers, as with billboard and shopping mall advertising during the high rice consumption time of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia, or our television ads during the World Cup in Haiti that contributed to a 12 percent increase in U.S. exports last year. Other efforts go directly to foodservice, as when we participate in large food shows in Shanghai or Dubai. We also work with influence leaders, sponsoring contests with culinary schools in Ghana and other events with Canadian food writers.
Ladies And Gentlemen, Children Of All Ages
This merely scratches the surface, but the bottom line is we have robust promotion programs here and abroad, specifically designed to move the needle for you. We’re constantly apprising our activities based on feedback and results. One thing is certain, we need to keep our promotion programs moving forward. As one of the most successful promoters of all times, P.T. Barnum, said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens… nothing!”
To learn more, visit www.usarice.com.