USSEC held the third and last of its series of regional meetings last week in St. Louis. Meeting participants included stakeholders, regional representatives, and USSEC staff and contractors. This final series of meetings focused on the Americas region.
The first meetings, which took place in late October and early November, focused on North Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, Middle East/North Africa (MENA) and the Asian Subcontinent (ASC).
The United Soybean Board’s (USB) new Long Range Strategic Plan went into effect on October 1 and USSEC’s regional meetings are designed to ensure that USSEC’s projects are aligned with the needs of its funding source.
International staff and consultants, industry reps and various U.S. soybean farmers discussed markets, various soy organizations’ strategic plans and soy export promotion ideas. Other members of the U.S. Soy family included the American Soybean Association (ASA), USB, Qualified State Soybean Board (QSSB) and ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) Program.
Topics covered included strategic landscapes such as a review of the global soy trade; funding; the outlook and strategic implications on various trade agreements; perspectives from the supply and demand side; a strategic review of how USSEC incorporates its founders and industry; how Global Utilization Plans (GUPs) are relevant to strategy in meal, oil, aquaculture and market access; and an assessment of regional markets. Discussions included how to best meet stakeholders’ needs; program building; project management discussions; and leadership topics.
USSEC staff will now prepare regional and utilization plan budgets and strategies for grower leader review in late January.
United Soybean Board (USB) directors Jim Carroll (USB) and Rob Hanks (USB) traveled to the 1st Gastronomic Soy Food Fair in Bogota, Colombia on November 22. The event marked Colombia’s first food festival dedicated entirely to the soybean.
30 reporters from 23 media sources were invited to participate in the invitation-only event at the MNR Ediciones offices. The purpose of the fair was to educate and engage the media by hosting a cooking class where invitees could learn about the gastronomic qualities of soy in food preparation and the benefits of soy and soybean oil in human health.
USSEC Regional Representative – Americas Francisco de la Torre, who discussed the importance of the U.S. and Colombian soy industries with the press, attended the event. Renowned chef Catalina Velez also discussed the benefits of soy and soybean oil.
USSEC Exporters Class Member Bunge issued the very first sustainability certificate for the Americas region on November 5. A volume of 18,506 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybean meal was exported onboard the ship MV DK IONE on November 3, from Bunge’s facilities at Destrehan, Louisiana, heading to Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala. Central America is a region with a solid and very competitive market where imports in FY15 grew to 1,050 million metric tons (MMT) of soybean meal, and over 330 thousand metric tons (TMT) of soybeans.
Bunge Central America, LTD CEO Luis de la Cruz stated, “It has been a great pleasure working hand in hand with USSEC Americas in this process; we are definitely committed to continue sharing the U.S. soybean sustainability message so as to best service our mutual customer base in Guatemala – our headquarters for Central America – and further into the region, while supplying them with such a resource as the sustainability certificates.” He added, “The communication and exchange of information with USSEC’s team proved invaluable. . .we are glad to add value to our relevant chains, USSEC’s membership, and – most of all – to our customers.”
About 70 percent of the volume of U.S. soybean meal in the cargo goes to Grupo Importador de Guatemala, a purchasing pool made by four core customers in the country.
“We are very satisfied to receive the first U.S. soybean sustainability certificates ever in the region, which are of most interest and use for the end customers in Guatemala,” said Ronald Perez, the pool purchasing representative. The pool includes leader feed processors, and poultry and egg producers: COMAYMA, FRISA, Plantaciones del Sur and PROAVISA.
“This is a first and firm step into most actively communicating the sustainability message of U.S. soybeans and issuing the U.S. sustainability certificates in the Americas region,” remarked Pablo Viglierchio, Bunge’s Execution and Operation Manager for the region. He shared that Bunge expects to issue other certificates for the region “in the very near future per our line-up of U.S. soybean product exports to El Salvador and Panama in Central America and Colombia in South America, with other countries to soon follow.”
USSEC led a soybean oil marketing mission from August 16-21 to Costa Rica and Mexico. The Americas region is U.S. soy oil’s largest exporting destination and these two countries are U.S. Soy’s biggest oil customers.
United Soybean Board (USB) directors Jim Domagalski of Michigan, Dallas Wright of Delaware, Jay Myers of North Dakota, and Belinda Burrier of Maryland, along with American Soybean Association (ASA) director Ron Moore of Illinois joined USSEC Marketing Director – Human Nutrition/Oil Marypat Corbett, Marketing Assistant – Human Nutrition/Oil Jelena Smojver, Regional Commercial, Technical & Marketing Director – MENA Mousa Wakileh, USSEC Regional Director – Americas Francisco de la Torre, USSEC Regional Marketing Director – Americas Nayeli Villanova, and USSEC consultants Pedro Gonzalez, and Mark Anderson on this trip.
The purpose of the mission was to examine future export opportunities and competitive global market factors impacting U.S. soybean oil that can help define and develop effective defensive/counter-offensive actions and market development activities to increase the value and volume of U.S. soy oil exports.
The trip included an orientation on the vegetable oil retail sector in both Costa Rica and in Mexico, which involved visits to several different types of grocery stores. The shops included all types from large warehouse-style stores to small, mom-and-pop corner stores known as “chicos.”
The grocery store visits provided the U.S. farmers with an opportunity to observe and investigate how oils are marketed and sold in this region. At each store, the grower leaders looked at the types of oil, the length of the vegetable oil aisle and the shape, size and labeling of the container.
The U.S. farmers marveled at the vastness of consumers’ oil choices. Mr. Domagalski said, “The aisles that contained soy oils and other frying oils were from one end to the other.”
Ms. Corbett explained, “The competition [between oils] is unbelievably huge in both countries. Some vegetable oil aisles were over 50 feet long and had shelves that were 6 feet high – full of vegetable oils. They contained soy and soy blends, solid palm oil and liquid blends, canola and blends, sunflower and blends, and olive oil. The containers ranged in size from 2 pints to 4 gallons.”
In the Americas region, the per capita purchase and consumption of vegetable oils is 4.5 gallons (17 liters) a year, because people often fry foods for all three daily meals.
Mr. Domagalski continued, “Here in the U.S., I took notice when I returned. The frying oils areas are much smaller. Even with the fact that here, there are also several oils to choose from, the volume didn’t compare to Costa Rica stores.”
Consumption of vegetable oil is even higher in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region – closer to 9 – 12 gallons per year. Oil is used for every meal and to preserve pickles, which are extremely popular and served at least twice per day. Mr. Wakileh pointed out that, many years ago, the crushing and refining industry throughout the MENA region established regulations that made it illegal to blend oils.
Labeling of soybean oil in the Americas region is very different from the United States with helpful health benefit label claims on the soy oil bottles such as “Omega 3 and 6” and “No Trans Fats.” Some products had healthy additives such as Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and flavors such as garlic. The companies capitalize on soy’s differences from the competing oils and use a “Soy is Healthy” platform. In addition, there are cardiac health and diabetes association labels endorsing the use of certain oils.
The next phase of the mission included interactions with the largest U.S. soy oil customers in the two countries. Both are crushing/refining companies and are interested in the promise of the U.S Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol.
According to Mr. Moore, “These companies are some of U.S. soybean farmers’ best customers.”
With help from USSEC, both companies were responsible for introducing soybean oil into their markets over 10 years ago and making it the premium priced oil. Both have established their soy oil market and increased sales using a health platform, with one company relying upon Facebook as its most important form of communication. The other company has seen its marketing programs significantly increase its sales.
Both crusher/refiner companies gave several examples where they had recently been recently challenged to migrate away from soybean oil by very large customers. The solution for the refiner could be to add a small percentage of another oil to its current 100 percent soybean oil product to meet the demands of this large customer.
The two companies stressed how they value U.S. soybean growers and their long-term relationship with USSEC, mentioning specifically that no other commodity or company offers partnering knowledge of the market place like U.S. Soy growers. Both crusher/refiners mentioned that they see U.S. soybean farmers as a true industry partner. They said it would be extremely beneficial to them if the U.S. would start labeling the soybean oil sold in U.S. grocery stores as soybean oil and not vegetable oil.
These businesses import whole U.S. soybeans and are very much interested in soybeans that have a composition which would give them higher oil yields and make a soybean meal that is higher in protein – they want more than 37 percent protein. These companies are interested in high oleic soybean oil as they see it as a way to effectively compete against South American soybean oil, canola and sunflower high oleic oil.
Mr. Moore said, “They indicated that they preferred U.S. soybeans because of their higher quality. They also were excited about the new high oleic soybeans and wanted to purchase them as soon as they became available.”
The purpose of the roundtable meetings was for grower leaders to leave with an impression of what’s going on in the market and with a better understanding of what U.S. oil’s future so that USSEC can better strategize its projects in the coming years. Two important outcomes of the meeting were that USSEC confirmed and quantified competitors’ bench strength over the next one to three years and helped confirm regional priorities and prospective positioning focus for future U.S. soy oil program development.
Ms. Burrier said, “The roundtable discussions were very productive for all involved. The key piece I took away was the magnitude Facebook played in the popularity of soy oil and the promotion of soy oil as a heart healthy product with added Omega 3.”
USSEC’s next steps include working to get U.S. companies to relabel their vegetable oil as soybean oil; encouraging India to consume more palm oil, which threatens the consumption of U.S. soybean oil; concentrating on defending its U.S. export markets in the Americas and MENA; and expanding partnering efforts with customers because they positively impact exports of U.S. soybean oil.
Five commodity/feedstuffs traders and manufacturers from Poland and Czech Republic were among the hundreds of customers from around the world who came to the U.S. in early September for the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange in Minneapolis.
USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki accompanied this team, which was excited by its visit to the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). For Michal Hadasik, Pawel Dulacz, Krzysztof Ulas and Jakub Jan Agas, who purchase grains and soybean meal on a daily basis, their time spent at the capital of global commodity trade and the opportunity to meet with the brokers in person was of great importance.. It was equally significant for Marek Kumprecht, a livestock nutrition and compound feed production specialist at DeHeus in the Czech Republic, but for other reasons: it was his introduction to the price discovery mechanism and risk management, which would help him in his new top managerial job at his company.
All of them, like many other international visitors, enjoyed visiting Minnesota soybean farms, where they not only appreciated the farm families’ hospitality, but they also enjoyed having the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of how U.S. Soy sustainability works at the farm level. Combining the theory on sustainability presented on and discussed at the Global Trade Exchange’s breakout sessions and at the trade show with the practical daily reality for an average U.S. corn and soybean grower was of special importance to the visitors and resulted in more trust in the U.S. products.
This year’s U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange was exceptionally well received by USSEC’s Northeast European customers. All of them agreed that the event offered a wide variety of subjects and every participant could find plenty of solid information for himself/herself.
Mr. Kosieradzki shared, “It was obvious for me that my customers would appreciate the keynote on the outlook for global economy and international trade, but I was truly surprised when my whole group decided to attend the session on soymeal quality by origin by Dr. H. Stein, University of Illinois, and they truly valued this newly acquired knowledge very highly. It is great for the commodity traders to listen information on this important topic!”
“The Northeast European customers also established or renewed a multitude of contacts during their very busy week in the U.S., which was an important added bonus for them,” concluded Mr. Kosieradzki.
USSEC recently conducted a baking workshop at the University Vasco de Quiroga in Morelia, Mexico, to promote the use and performance of U.S. soybean oil margarines, shortenings and soy flour in baking applications.
This workshop, led by USSEC consultants Jorge Martínez and Oliverio Cruz, consisted of one theoretical session and one practical session. About 30 people from the baking industry in Morelia attended.
Mr. Martinez gave two presentations, the first titled “The Health Benefits of Soybean Oil.” The second covered the baking process, where he discussed the basic and optional ingredients for bread making and their functions, classifications of flours and their functions, dough formation and the relation with the gluten formation, baking dynamics, and the functions of shortenings and margarines. To illustrate these concepts, he discussed the preparation of recipes of baked goods and cookies.
Mr. Cruz conducted the practical session, where four kinds of common breads were prepared using U.S. soybean flour and soybean oil shortenings and margarines. Experienced bakers and participants tasted the prepared breads and all concluded that the use of soybean products does not affect the flavor and functionality of the breads, but enhances them. Participants also decided that the addition of soy flour to bread enhances the profitability due to a greater dough yield, lower dough cost and increased shelf life.
USSEC participated in the Abastur Trade Show in Mexico City from August 31 – September 3, to promote soybean oils and soyfoods. This trade show is one of the largest for the retail and food service segments in Mexico and Latin America. About 1,300 exhibitor companies from 12 countries participated in the 2015 show.
In the USSEC booth, more than 20 soybean products were exhibited and promoted, including soybean oils, soymilks and texturized soybean protein (TSP) foods manufactured by eight companies that consume U.S. soybeans and U.S. crude soybean oil in the Americas Region.
USSEC consultants Jorge Martinez, Pedro Gonzalez and Adela Perez worked at the booth and helped managers and representatives of the participating companies to exhibit and promote their U.S. soybean products, making more than 70 new commercial contacts.
Chef Giuseppe de Pascuale prepared different recipes using soybean oil, TSP, and soybean beverages for participants to taste.
The Abastur Trade Show promises to increase the sales of the soybean products of the participant companies and the consumption of U.S. soybeans and soybean oil.
USSEC recently provided technical service and held a seminar for Colombian fish producers.
Consultants Dr. Greg Lutz and Jairo Amezquita, together with staff from a local aqua feed mill, visited fish producers in the cities of Pereira, La Union, Ginebra and Palmira to provide technical service. They also held a seminar for nearly 60 people about the genetic aspects to improve the Colombia’s existing tilapia strains, which will help increase fish production and the consumption of U.S. Soy products. Dr. Lutz gave a presentation, “Improving Tilapia Genetics,” which received much attention from the aqua producers in attendance. He emphasized the current necessity for improving the strains of tilapia available in the region and the importance of local aqua production. After the conference, Dr. Lutz answered many questions and was also contacted by many participants who requested more information about fair practices management. Mr. Amezquita gave a presentation called “USSEC’s Role in the Development of Aquaculture in Latin American,” where he emphasized the current situation of the industry in the world, Latin America, and Colombia, and their opportunities to diversify with new species. Additionally, he talked about statistics and trial results with U.S. soybean meal, soy protein concentrate, and isolate protein in the diets of some aqua species.
The team visited six tilapia farms to determine the quality of the tilapia strains and give them the best recommendations about genetics improvement to increase production and help resistant strains that cause challenges to production. The consultants also met with the Colombian Federation of Fish Farmers (FEDEACUA) and with the government agencies in charge of aquaculture in Colombia to talk about sanitary issues at fish farms.
USSEC participated in the International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA) meetings in Montevideo, Uruguay from August 13-16.
American Soybean Association (ASA) first vice president Richard Wilkins and United Soybean Board (USB) treasurer John Motter participated in these meetings together with USSEC Marketing Director Market Access/FTO Roz Leeck. The agenda included listening to perspectives from the South American region and the world, along with an ISGA group discussion, moderated by Ms. Leeck. The ISGA’s next steps were discussed, including an April 2016 mission to China and a potential EU mission this fall. The group had the opportunity to visit the Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce and took an all-day tour of a local farm.
While the countries that make up ISGA typically are competitors in the world soybean market, the mission of the group is to collaborate in the development of select soybean markets and to speak with a unified voice opposing market restrictions, scientifically unsound non-tariff barriers to trade relating to health, environmental, chemical residues and biotechnology approvals. ISGA contributors work together to maintain the solid market position of soy against other competitor oilseeds and to communicate the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the soybean chain.
USSEC recently conducted the Regional Animal Production Course (RAPCO) for swine production at the University of Illinois. 26 swine producers and technicians from top Latin American swine operations in 10 countries attended the course.
The course program, conducted by USSEC consultant Julio Chaves, emphasized swine nutrition and management, covering topics such as amino acid requirements of pigs; amino acid digestibility; carbohydrates in feed ingredients; global soybean production and utilization; and feed technology. The program highlighted the importance of U.S. Soy’s high quality and its advantages over other soybeans in the market. Special attention was given to protein quality during all talks about soybeans. Lectures were also presented about the use of growth promoters (Rapctopamine) and its effect on pork quality, as well as the use of inmunocastration. Mr. Chaves presented a conference focusing on the evaluation of pork quality.
Participant discussions during this course were very interactive, which resulted in an excellent opportunity to share experiences and increase attendees’ knowledge. RAPCO courses are designed to create loyalty toward U.S. soybeans. USSEC provides superior technical and market support for swine producers, covering a vast amount of information in a short, intensive course where high quality speakers cover many aspects of production, nutrition, and pork quality.
USSEC organized and conducted a public cooking class using soybean ingredients to promote the use and health benefits of U.S. Soy products for gastronomic institutes and the general public. The event took place on July 25 in downtown Guadalajara, Mexico with about 180 participants. An expert chef was hired to develop and prepare soy dishes for the event, which included one recipe of chicken-flavored tabouli salad and another of soybean spaghetti Bolognese.
Three soybean oil refineries and six soyfoods and soy beverages partners/producers participated as event sponsors. These companies provided the ingredients used in the cooking class and also provided samples of their products to be included in giveaway bags given to each attendee of the cooking class. Brochures and promotional articles produced by USSEC were included in the promotional bags. Additionally, there was an exhibition of soybean products where participating companies promoted their products and gave information and samples of soybean beverages to participants.
In order to promote this event, as well as the health benefits of consuming U.S. soybean products, mentions were done prior to the event on four radio broadcasts and advertisements were inserted in newspapers and banners on the internet and social media. During the event, the USSEC Regional Marketing Director – Americas Nayeli Vilanova gave four interviews to media present at the cooking class to speak about USSEC´s mission, marketing activities, and U.S. soybean products and their health benefits. These interviews were broadcast on radio and published in newspapers and magazines. The public cooking class and media promotion about the health benefits of soybean products was deemed a success because 98 percent of attendees were convinced to use soybean products as a source of healthy foods. The outreach of USSEC´s message spread by the various media used was estimated at 8,421,390 people.
USSEC conducted a course on sales strategies for the sales forces of a soybean oil refinery in Mexico on July 30 and 31.
Two specialists gave the course with the main objective of providing the necessary skills to increase sales representatives’ self-confidence and sales strategies. They taught theory and dynamic practices to strengthen knowledge and made the course fun for participants. Attendees were attentive and participatory, discovering strategies to achieve better sales. The participants learned that relationships are an important aspect of doing business and heard about strategies to achieve empathy with customers and finish a successful sale.
USSEC consultants Pedro Gonzalez and Jorge Martinez also presented topics related to soybean oil in order to provide additional sales tools to event participants. Mr. Gonzalez spoke about market opportunities for soybean oil in the different market segments and Mr. Martinez talked about the characteristics and health benefits of soybean oil.
The National Feed Producers Association (ANFACA), which represents a third of the feed produced in Mexico, recently formed a group with the assistance of USSEC. This alliance is aimed at young people in order to involve the next generation that will be in in charge of the member firms. The group is named “Jovenes ANFACA” and it recently organized the Young ANFACA Entrepreneurs Group Global Seminar on Price Management held in Guadalajara, Mexico.
This event was celebrated in the Pan-American Institute of Business Management (IPADE) and over 130 participants attended, representing 8 countries. Most of the delegates were from the feed and livestock sectors, with others coming from related industries such as corn/starch, oilseed crushers, trading firms, seed companies, and financial institutions, including government agencies. Commodity Ingredient & Hedging (CIH) executed the core of hedge-related training and IPADE had two professors address the group on related topics.
The event had several sponsors, including USSEC, CME Group, ANFACA itself, the Jalisco State Agricultural Council (CAJ), Cargill and Hayex Americas, among others.
USSEC Regional Director – Americas Francisco de la Torre and USSEC consultant Gerardo Luna participated in the seminar. During the price management program, Mr. Luna moderated two panel discussions, one of which featured Mr. de la Torre. The panel discussions covered a lot of information and both Mr. de la Torre and Mr. Luna shared their experiences in the private and public sectors and current business occupations. USSEC was repeatedly acknowledged for its continued collaboration with the Jovenes ANFACA project, from inception to its actual execution.
USSEC recently provided technical service to dairy producers in Guatemala. Consultants Carlos Campabadal and Carlos Espinosa traveled to Guatemala July 14-19 to participate in the Guatemalan Dairy Cattle Association’s field days and to provide technical service to dairy producers in order to promote the use of U.S. soybean meal.
During this trip, the consultants participated in four dairy field days in different regions of Guatemala. The regions were chosen to represent the different types of climates and types of animals (pure breeds and crossbred cows). The field days were conducted at four farms and the presentations consisted of conferences, machinery, feeds and veterinary medicines exposition, and a visit to see farm facilities and animals, as well as a question and answer session with the USSEC consultants. Approximately 500 dairy producers and technicians attended the four field days.
Mr. Campabadal gave a lecture, “Why Cows Do Not Produce Efficiently in the Tropics,” where he covered factors that reduce milk production in tropical climates. Mr. Espinosa presented talks related to dairy replacement feeding and management programs. Other speakers, technicians from Guatemala and Spain, talked about topics such as forage production and the use of biogas.
USSEC recently participated in the business meeting and trade show, GH-100.
USSEC consultant Jorge Martínez escorted a team of sales managers of soybean oil refineries and soyfoods manufacturers to promote their U.S. soybean products at the event in Merida, Mexico. GH-100 provides suppliers with the opportunity to meet with purchasing managers and executives from the hotels, restaurants and institutions (HRI) segment who are invited by GH-100 to participate in business meetings.
Two sales managers from two Mexican soybean oil refineries and two soyfoods manufacturers participated in this event working at the USSEC booth and presenting their products in four group meetings and in one-on-one meetings with purchasing managers of HRI companies. The U.S. Soy products promoted were four brands of soybean oils for use for frying in restaurants; one brand of soybean oil fortified with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA); soy beverages; and texturized soybean protein foods. The managers had business meetings with purchasing managers of participating companies such as restaurants and hotels chains in Mexico and Central America.
USSEC and the managers who participated in this event contacted more than 50 purchasing managers and executives of the HRI. As a result of these business meetings, the participating soybean oil refineries will increase their sales an additional 16,000 liters of soybean oil per month and the soyfoods manufacturers are making negotiations to introduce their products to several hotel and restaurant chains in Mexico.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) sponsored and participated in the 9th International Aquaculture Forum 2014 (FIACUI 2014), held November 5-7 in Guadalajara, Mexico. USSEC’s Americas office, which is funded by FMD and MAP, facilitated this forum. USSEC also invested $5000 of checkoff funds in this event. USSEC’s participation helped establish and increase relationships with aquaculture industry representatives, promoted the use of U.S. soybean products in aquaculture, and established key contacts for trade and technical servicing with this industry. The event drew representatives from the business sector, research centers, universities and the Mexican state of Jalisco’s Ministry of Rural Development. An international conferences program was included to provide producers with information to help them optimize their processes, packaging and marketing of seafood products. FIACUI 2014 also co-hosted the Latin American and Caribbean Aquaculture meeting (LACQUA 2014), a scientific conference organized by the World Aquaculture Society (WAS). Business meetings took place between aquaculturists, fishermen and potential buyers, with the aim of expanding their marketing channels. In the upcoming year, the Mexican aquaculture industry will produce nearly 120,000 metric tons (MT) of seafood and will use more than 70,000 MT of soybean meal from the U.S. This market has good potential for continued growth in the next several years, mainly with tilapia.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) visited one of Mexico’s biggest soybean importers, a Merida-based crusher and refinery company, and met with its commercial director to discuss plans to promote its 2015 soybean oil brands and ways that USSEC could provide assistance. USSEC’s support over the past two years to promote and impel two brands of 100 percent soybean oil has already resulted in sales increases. The production and R&D managers were invited to attend the next American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) Meeting in Orlando, FL, which is intended to update their knowledge of soybean crushing and production of soybean oil and edible fats with low trans fats content. USSEC also planned the organization of two seminars for the company’s key soybean meal customers with the objective to communicate the high quality of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal, along with relevant information on market trends.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) organized and conducted a public cooking class using soybean ingredients to promote the use and health benefits of soy products on November 29, 2014 in a Mexico City public park with more than 200 participants. USSEC brochures and promotional articles, along with product samples, were included in giveaway bags for participants. Event promotions included eight radio plugs, newspaper advertisements and banners for internet and social media. USSEC gave four interviews to media to discuss its mission and marketing activities, along with providing information about soybean products and their health benefits. These interviews were published in radio, newspapers and magazines. The public cooking class and the media promotion regarding the health benefits of soybean products proved to be very successful with 97 percent of the attendees convinced to use soybean products as a source of healthy foods. USSEC´s message spread by various media outlets was estimated to reach 9,306,212 people and the media coverage of the event was equivalent to over $86,000 USD.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) implemented a strategy, “Soy is Health,” to encourage greater consumption of U.S. soybean oil in the larger soybean oil-consuming countries in the Americas region where competing oils from other origins have affected imports from the U.S. In Costa Rica, USSEC conducted a generic campaign along with major soybean oil refiners touting activities that included educating consumers about the benefits of soy through community events, in-store promotions and an outdoor signage campaign. In Guatemala, USSEC worked with soybean oil refiners on similar educational activities and assisted “pull-through” at point of purchase in key retail stores in and around Guatemala City. USSEC invested $34,000 in Costa Rica and $10,524 in Guatemala, both under U14CXAM023-02 (Americas-Development of Media Campaigns & End User – Soybean Oil promotional campaigns). In both countries, the promotional campaign took place in August and September 2014. Costa Rica’s results showed a 10 percent increase in U.S. soybean oil consumption vs. the same period last year. Costa Rica imported 95,200 metric tons (MT) of U.S. soybeans for crush in FY14. Just two months into the current fiscal year, the major importer INOLASA was already ahead of that amount of U.S. soybeans with current and future sales of 112,500 MT. Results in Guatemala boasted an increase of 18 percent in soybean oil consumption vs. the same time last year with an increase of 25 percent for the brand promoted by the Guatemala refiner. In FY14, Guatemala increased its imports of U.S. soybean oil 292 percent (31,900 MT) vs. the previous year FY13 (10,900 MT). These results have raised Guatemala to the 7th largest importer of U.S. soybean oil in the world, up from 16th the previous year.