USRPA's First Rice Master Class Kicks-Off August 3rd

USRPA continues adapting its promotional programs to continue expanding the message that U.S. rice is nutritious, economical, and the perfect grain for Mexicans diet especially during this time where COVID-19 is changing everyone's lives.

On August 3rd, we will kick-off the first Virtual Rice Class in Mexico! The webinar series consists of 5 modules with Mexican, Asian, European, Latin and, American dishes using U.S. long-grain rice. Melissa Morelos, Professional Chef, Influencer, and Finalist of Master Chef Mexico will be in charge of creating and sharing various recipes offering an innovative and different culinary learning experiences to the audience.

The classes will be uploaded on a free online platform where participants will need to login to attend the Master Class. USRPA, along with the webinar, continues with its social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram.

Mexico Rice Festivals

Under the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), USRPA and USA Rice conducted rice festivals in major cities throughout Mexico, such as Mexico City, Monterrey, Veracruz, and Merida.

The festivals were two-day events where U.S. rice was showcased in different recipes from around the world. Ten tents with twenty kitchen modules were placed in town plazas, parks, supermarkets, etc. Twenty culinary students from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico (UVM) were in charge of preparing the 20 different recipes featured at the festival and teach the attendees the benefits of U.S. rice.

At the point of entry, we conducted consumer surveys. A rice mobile or a decorated sound car attracted participants to the event and served as a staging and promotional area. A rice character entertained children and young at heart as well.

US rice producers, US Rice Producers Association staff, Trey Barker, and USA Rice staff in the Rice Festival at Soriana Hiper San Nicolas, Monterrey NL, Mexico

From left to right, Raul Medina, Deputy Director of Operations and Administration of Boca del Rio Government, Miguel Layun, Director LP Mexico, Rafael Guzman, Marketing and production coordinator of Boca del Rio Government, Bianka Rodriguez, Marketing & Promotions Director USRPA and Alejandro Lozano, Director of Tourism of Boca del Rio Government.

Mexico Social Media

The website is maintained and updated with the establishment of keywords to boost the different activities within the campaign. USRPA opened profiles in several social media networks including Facebook and Instagram.  Melisa Morelos, Professional Chef, Influencer, and Finalist of Master Chef Mexico has been in charge of creating and sharing various recipes, videos, and nutritional facts about using U.S long-grain rice as the main ingredient, expanding the scope of the message. The campaign will continue throughout the year on social media.

As part of the activity, we will conduct a Master class, the 1st National Recipe Contest and Digital Recipe Book.

Mexico In-Store Cooking Demonstrations

Under the Market Expansion Strategies in Mexico, USRPA has partnered with the Mexican Rice Council and four of the largest rice millers that import U.S. rice to conduct the in-store cooking demonstrations. The annual per capita consumption rate for rice is about 15lbs. per year. It is one of the lowest per capita consumption rates in the western hemisphere.

The objective of the promotional campaign “Consume Arroz USA is to teach consumers of socioeconomic classes C, D & E at retail and wholesale centers where the activity is presented, the nutritional and economic benefits of including rice in their family’s daily diet. 

USRPA promotional activities are very effective and are similar to those frequently used by many branded products at retail outlets. Promotional teams work eight hours a day six days a week at a portable stand where rice is cooked and presented to large numbers of consumers who see rice prepared, taste it in a recipe, and receive oral, visual, and printed messages regarding rice. To reinforce the campaign, we include recipe books, coloring books, and diverse promotional items as part of the program.

El Salvador Rice Festival

USRPA’s ATP campaign “Rice Festival” in El Salvador. The festivals are a one-day event where a live cooking class is held at the event with Chef Jose Urias, he and his staff prepare diverse recipes from around the world and teach the attendees the benefits of US rice and how they can incorporate US rice on their daily diet, during the activities, promotional items, and recipe booklets are giving it away to the attendees.  Tents with kitchen modules are placed in town plazas, parks, or popular outdoor areas.  At the point of entry, we request the attendees to provide empty US rice packages to gain entry and we conduct consumer surveys as well. 

On-site, our campaign nutritionist, Lic. Guadalupe Argueta responds to all the questions about rice nutrition facts, she also participates in TV interviews. A rice mobile or a decorated sound car attract participants to promotional events and serve as a staging and promotional area. A rice character, a person in a costume, is part of promotional events as well. On the radio, we work eight radio stations of Grupo Radial Megavision announcing the Rice festival and rice capsules.

Chef Jose Urias and his staff during one of the Rice Festivals in El Salvador
USRPA Staff traveled to El Salvador to oversee the Rice Festival
From left to right: Bianka Rodriguez-USRPA Marketing & Promotions Director, Marcela de Miranda-ASALBAR Executive Director, Juan Pablo Alvarez-Mayor of Soyapango, El Salvador, Kevin Rodriguez-Director of Megavision, Joaquin Aguilar- Radio Corazon DJ.

El Salvador Market Expansion Strategies

USRPA continues the success of its partnership with the Salvadorian Rice Association (ASALBAR), the local rice millers group, to conduct a promotional campaign to address the constraint of a lack of consumer awareness of rice. Campaign messages will point out to consumers that rice is an economical source of good nutrition it is abundant and appetizing, so the Salvadorian consumer would be persuaded to eat rice every day at more than one meal. USRPA will also emphasize that most Salvadorian brands use U.S. rice.

USRPA’s Market Expansion Strategies are conducting in supermarkets, and also includes radio spots on national coverage, radio interviews and a page layout in a culinary magazine to expand our message that rice is a nutritious and economical addition to their daily diet for Salvadorians. Promotional activities are conducted by a well-known chef “La Chilena” across El Salvador but mainly in San Salvador. The campaign slogan is “Todo es mas nutritivo con Arroz” (Everything is more Nutritious with rice)  is used repeatedly through the campaign in supermarket promotions, magazine advertisements and radio spots, that way the consumers will have constant reinforcement that rice is nutritious and can be combined in many ways to provide a healthy meal.

Guatemala Social Media Campaign

Since the Guatemalan government implemented strict stay at home orders due to the development of COVID-19, the use of social media has increased significantly.  USRPA considered it very important to continue the promotional campaign presence and started a social media campaign using social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Consumers are targeted with live cooking classes, video recipes, photos, cooking tips, menu ideas, rice facts, and more. In June we launched the first live interactive virtual cooking course where attendees can follow along for free on Zoom, live cooking classes are broadcasting two days a week since June and we will continue to the rest of the year.

Thanks to the success of the social media campaign an increase of new followers, shares, and likes has been reflected in the data. Our Facebook fan page “USA ARROZ” counts with 1,552 followers and the number increasing day by day.  Page analysis reported an increase in the number of followers not only in Guatemala but also in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, USA, Argentina, and Bolivia. This campaign allows us to go beyond a single sector since social networks reach all over the world.

Guatemala Market Expansion Strategies

Under the Market Expansion Strategies promotions, USRPA continues its partnership with the Guatemalan Rice Association (ARROZGUA), the local rice producers and millers group, to conduct promotional campaign to make consumers aware of the benefits, both economical and nutritional, of adding rice in the diet of low-income Guatemalan consumers.  The targets of promotions are housewives between 16 and 45 years of age who make purchasing decisions for households in socioeconomic levels C and D.

USRPA’s Market Expansion Strategies consist of bringing rice to town plazas, markets, supermarkets, fairs, and other locations for demonstrating how to cook rice while giving away recipe/information brochures on the benefits of adding rice to the diet.  These simple promotions allow people who have never tried rice, or are unfamiliar with it, to see how easily rice is prepared and how good it tastes.  Consumers are attracted to events by radio, newspaper ads, mobile sound trucks, posters, and fliers and may request future training courses for groups or institutes. Campaign messages will point out to consumers that rice is an economical source of good nutrition and that rice tastes good and can be served more frequently in Guatemalan households.  The campaign slogan “Eat Delicious, Eat Healthy, Eat Abundant, EAT Rice” will be used repeatedly through the campaign.

 School Nutrition Program and Market Expansion Strategies Campaign will be conducted in the same area simultaneously. We believe that with this strategy the consumer will be saturated with the same message in the schools and the nearby supermarkets and markets.

Guatemala School Nutrition Program

USRPA continues with the School Nutrition Program (SNP) in Guatemala as part of the Market Expansion Strategies Campaign.

The USRPA promotional teams will obtain from the appropriate agency permission to conduct training in schools, along with all information on schools necessary for program planning, including the student population of each school.  A yearly schedule will be made and enough product obtained as needed to provide a school meal for each child at the schools and participating mothers.

USRPA School Nutrition Program teams composed of one coordinator and four trainers will visit up to four schools per day to influence and train school cooks/mothers and teachers.  The two-hour cooking demonstration is conducted at the school kitchen or designated cooking space, this program is focused on teaching mothers the importance of including rice in their families diet as well as giving them different recipes to use rice at every meal. We must emphasize that due to the results of USRPA and Arrozgua campaigns during the past years, the Guatemalan Ministry of Education added rice to 8 of the 20 recipes included in the official recipe book given to the 25,000 schools across the country, 1/3 of the recipes are based on rice. These changes were previously discussed in meetings with technical committees and institutions related to health and nutrition in Guatemala where representatives of ARROZGUA and USRPA participated.

USRPA Participates in SABOR USA in Guatemala

USRPA staff, Texas rice producers, and USA Rice representatives participated in Sabor USA in Ciudad Cayala, Guatemala City, an activity organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote American products locally. Sabor USA was highlighted by the participation of Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga, Agricultural Counselor Todd Drennan, and Sean Cox Agricultural Attaché. This year was the first year that USRPA and USARF joined to create promotional items together and work together jointly in a booth. In the past, both organizations had attended separately.

Sabor USA’s rice booth in Ciudad Cayala (left to right) Chef Javier (USA Rice), Ani Vettorazzi (USA Rice), Trey Barker (Texas farmer & USRPA Member Services), Bianka Rodriguez (USRPA Marketing Director), Roberto Wong (ARROZGUA General Director), Galen Franz (Texas farmer), Casey Smith (Texas farmer), Rosy Vettorazzi (USA Rice).

To prepare the paella, a team of 12 chefs used 150 pounds of rice, 50 pounds of shrimp, 50 pounds of chicken, 37 pounds of sausage and condiments. During the activity, 1547 rice samples (paella dish) were served. 

Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga (4th from right) and Agricultural Counselor Todd Drennan (5th from right) stopped by the rice stand.