Producers Rice Finds Its Own Niche

by Luke Jones  on Monday, May. 26, 2014 12:00 am  

However, Glover said, the company isn’t big on promoting its own brand. Another company’s rice in a supermarket may actually be Producers rice packaged under a different name. The company packs for around 100 brands.

“In the retail side, there’s a lot of rice we sell to repackers, where we sell them the bulk rice and they take it and package it under their brand,” he said.

Glover said about 70 percent of Producers rice is sold in the U.S. Export markets include Haiti, Saudi Arabia and Africa, and in the past Producers has sold rice in places like Iraq and the European Union.

“Our main focus is trying to service our farmer-members and trying to meet their needs during the harvest,” Glover said. “We’re also taking care of our milled rice customers. There’s a lot coming here in 2014. The USDA indicated that rice makers could be up as much as 41 percent from last year with added rice. Obviously, that presents additional challenges for us in trying to market it. Since the domestic market has stayed steady, odds are we as an industry will have to look to export markets.”

Export markets can be tougher, Glover said, because that’s where the company has stiffer competition from Riceland.

There’s also some volatility in the business that comes with the weather. “2010’s summer was the hottest since 1954,” Glover said. “We had the poorest quality rice crops since then.”

Last summer, Glover said, was comparatively cooler than the previous ones, and “because of that, our quality improved dramatically. Also, our farmers set a record. So the weather does have an impact on our crop both on field yields and also on quality. We prefer summers that, temperature-wise, are normal to slightly cooler than normal.”

That cooler weather was evident in the company’s revenue in 2013: $568 million, up 18.8 percent from the previous year.

The good news for Producers is that, being in the food industry, it was mostly immune to the effects of the Great Recession.

“Especially when you’re talking about a product that has such a good value for consumers, like rice. If people have to tighten their pocketbooks, rice gives them a good value,” Glover said, pointing out that a product that can cost about 50 cents per pound looks pretty attractive if a family is on a tight budget.

Sales were hurt in the food service sector, he said, but “we did see a little pickup in the retail with the supermarket side.”



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