Costco Taiwan promotes U.S. rice

USA Rice Federation and Costco Taiwan are working together on a promotion to sell U.S. long grain enriched rice grown in the southeast United States.

USA Rice director of Asia promotion programs Jim Guinn said the rice used in the promotion includes rice that was likely from Arkansas or Louisiana.

"It's definitely from somewhere in the South and best guess is it's either Arkansas or Louisiana or maybe a combination of the two," Guinn said.

Costco Taiwan is selling new packages of the U.S. grown rice as its Kirkland Signature house brand at all of the company's 14 warehouses across the island nation.

During the first phase of the promotion, there were sales of 200 packages that weigh 20 pounds each, Guinn said.

"In the first phase, they were able to taste just cooked rice, not a recipe per se, but in future promotions, we'll actually be creating recipes and cooking rice dishes that the consumers can taste in the Costco stores," Guinn said.

USA Rice has never worked with Costco Taiwan for this kind of rice promotion before, but has worked on similar promotions with Costco in South Korea and Japan.

"With Costco Japan, right now we're not doing any promotions, it's been California Calrose rice that's been going into that market, but with the high prices and the lack of availability of Calrose California rice in the market, we're no longer doing those promotions until after this year's harvest," Guinn said.

USA Rice has worked with Costco on rice promotions in Japan for three years and in South Korea for one year, Guinn said.

"And actually, in [South] Korea, we're not promoting rice per se, we're promoting a product that's made from U.S. rice flour, made from U.S. rice that was imported into South Korea and processed into flour," Guinn said, adding the promotion was in November.

"The product we're promoting there is actually a hotdog or a corndog product and the coating contains rice flour made from U.S. rice."

Taiwan has a history of buying U.S. grown medium grain rice but USA Rice began encouraging importers of American rice to buy long grain rice in 2020, which is now a more common purchase for importers, Guinn said.

USA Rice began marketing and promotional efforts, as well as educational events involving professional chefs, to promote U.S.-grown long grain rice last year.

Taiwan imports southern medium grain, long grain, long grain parboiled, long grain jasmine, short grain glutinous and Calrose rice from California; Taiwan imports a four-year annual average of 65,000 tons of U.S. grown rice worth $30 million, according to USA Rice.

Print Headline: Costco Taiwan promotes U.S. rice

Date: 10-May-2023