Earlier this month, USA Rice exhibited at the Anuga 2017 “Taste the Future” trade show here. With more than 7,400 exhibitors and 160,000 visitors, 90 percent of whom are involved in their companies‘ purchasing decisions, Anuga is the world’s largest and most important trade fair for food and beverages, and USA Rice has exhibited there for the past nineteen years. Several USA Rice member companies attended Anuga, including American Commodity Company, Sun Valley Rice Company, and Farmers‘ Rice Cooperative, all from California. The show provided their representatives the opportunity to meet with partners, foodservice specialists, press, and U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel from the region. “Anuga is a great place to meet current and potential trade contacts from all over Europe, Asia, and the Middle East,” said Derek Alarcon, Farmers’ Rice Cooperative Director of Export Sales, who attended the show. “There was great interest in U.S. rice and this year there was no discussion of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in rice like we’ve typically heard in the past. Buyers over here understand U.S. rice is free of GMOs but they say convincing consumers of that is the challenge.” Participants noted that there was considerable traffic at the USA Rice booth and many quality leads were developed. The European market expects high quality food products and therefore the market commands a premium and provides a higher value for U.S. rice. “Interest really centered around medium grain with the most common point of discussion on lower production and higher prices,” said Chris Crutchfield, President and CEO of American Commodity Company, who attended the show. “With carry over stocks down considerably and planted acreage and yield both off, prices have strengthened and customers are seeking less expensive alternatives. It looks like global supply will remain tight pending the Australian harvest in the spring of 2018 and any lifting of the current Egyptian export ban.” The USA Rice booth was stocked with informational brochures and various U.S. rice samples for viewing by visitors.