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.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) followed up on feeding demonstrations with two cooperators in Mexico, the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) in Ensenada and the Feed and Research Center (CIAD) in Mazatlan. The demonstrations involved the evaluation of the inclusion of soy protein concentrate (SPC) from U.S. manufacturer Prairie Aquatech in a feed produced by a Guadalajara feed manufacturer. USSEC provided technical support by conducting one-on-one meetings with UABC and CIAD to discuss feeding protocols; checking which fish were used; inspecting feeds manufactured for the demonstrations; meeting with the managers of the feeding demonstrations; visiting the respective hatcheries; and discussing the current protocol, chiefly covering feeding practices and times for sampling. At CIAD, the feeding demonstration is being carried out with Lutjanus guttatus (spotted rose snapper) specie, while Totoaba macdonaldi (totoaba) specie is being used at the UABC. In the Mexican markets, working with red snapper and common snook offers a good opportunity to include SPC into the diets of these fish. These feeding demonstrations illustrate the benefits of using U.S. soy products in aqua feeds and provide an opportunity to boost the consumption of U.S. soy products in the Mexican aqua feed industry. USSEC also discussed opportunities to work with these cooperators in new research with other species of marine fish in the next fiscal year, offering greater opportunity for the import of U.S. soy. U.S. company Techmix, who will be providing the SPC for FY15 aqua feeding demonstrations, has informed USSEC that production capacity and supply for this year will be close to 100 metric tons a month.
USSEC is working with the Dominican Association of Ranchers and Farmers (ADHA) to improve the quality of beef products and reduce production costs to achieve higher profits for producers. ADHA is holding a seminar focusing on the “productive chain of beef cattle from farm to table” on July 29 and 30, with the participation of the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Agriculture and the Association of Zebu Cattle Breeders (ASOCEBU). USSEC will also participate in this conference.
According to a press release from ADHA, the seminar topics will include the reality of meat production in the Dominican Republic; requirements of national and international markets; export refrigeration conditions; and safety and traceability in Dominican livestock. Other topics to be addressed include fattening steers; animal welfare on the farm; transportation and confinement or management of feedlots; and artificial insemination.
USSEC co-sponsored the 5th Pet Food Forum recently celebrated in Guadalajara, Mexico. USSEC consultants Gerardo Luna, Gustavo Picolla and Ingomar Middelbos attended and participated in this event organized by the Balanced Feeds Manufacturers Association in Guadalajara. This forum had over 150 registered participants, most related to pet food companies, with a number coming from related services companies.
Dr. Middelbos gave a presentation titled “The Uses of Soybeans and Products in Pet Food Formulations,” where he shared the why’s and how’s of incorporating soybean meal, hulls, lecithin and soybean protein concentrate (SPC) in pet food. Mr. Picolla was the closing keynote speaker and talked about “The Importance of Strategic Planning in AgriBusiness,” where he shared the importance of strategic planning and leadership.
After the forum, Mr. Luna and Mr. Picolla continued their trip to Queretaro, Mexico and participated in the monthly board meeting of another feed association, which is the second largest in Mexico. Mr. Picolla gave a talk titled, “A Different View about the Strategic Planning in AgriBusiness,” and both consultants interacted with attendees. Finally, they visited the Swine Producers Association (APQ) where Mr. Luna provided a detailed introduction to USSEC, discussing its nature, structure, and objectives. He suggested later discussion on needs that could be supported and Mr. Picolla gave his lecture about strategic planning. The audience welcomed the presentation and discussion and was very participative.
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 class took place on June 27 in one of Mexico City’s public parks and more than 200 people participated. An expert chef was hired to develop and prepare soy dishes for the event, including chicken flavored tabouli salad and soybean spaghetti bolognese.
Three soybean oil refineries and four 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 participant. Brochures and promotional articles produced by USSEC were included in the promotional bags. There was also a soybean product exhibition where participating companies promoted their products and gave samples, information and tasting of soybean beverages to attendees.
Radio spots were run prior to the event during two broadcasts, advertisements were inserted in newspapers, and banners were used on the internet and social media to promote the cooking class, as well as the health benefits of consuming U.S. soybean products. During the event, USSEC Regional Marketing Director – Americas Nayeli Vilanova gave three interviews to media present and spoke about USSEC´s mission and marketing activities and about U.S. soybean products and their health benefits. These interviews were run on radio and in newspapers and magazines. The public cooking class and media promotion about the health benefits of soybean products was a very successful activity as 97 percent of the attendees were convinced to use soybean products as a source of healthy food. The outreach of USSEC´s message spread by the various media used was estimated to reach 6,028,302 people.