To introduce new products to a market, one proven strategy is to educate trading partners about their quality and availability. Working with a retailer raises consumer awareness of these new products, building demand for more and ultimately increasing the exports of new (and established) products in that market.
A recent example of the success this approach can yield is evident in the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s (USDEC) multi-year effort promoting cheese in China. USDEC began working with one hypermarket in the country that has 13 stores in Beijing and Tianjin and sells a wide selection of imported products. Using Market Access Program (MAP)-funded activities, in 2020 USDEC worked to educate the retailer about U.S. cheese and held in-store demonstrations to encourage customers to sample products and make purchases.
USDEC continued working with the store in 2021, conducting the USA Cheese Specialist Certification Program for 26 staff from the chain, including mangers, department supervisors, and procurement staff. Four U.S. cheese companies participated in the program, which introduced new products in China: cream cheese, processed Swiss and American slices, pepper jack, and several varieties of Italian-style cheeses. The estimated sales value from these promotions totaled $150,000.
In 2021, USDEC expanded on these MAP-funded efforts, working with two additional retail chains. One hypermarket chain with outlets in Qingdao, Tianjin, and Changsha City held in-store demonstrations and sampling at two stores. Consumers were able to sample and purchase new U.S. varieties of cheese, resulting in an estimated $9,000 in new annual sales. An additional campaign involved demonstrations and sampling with a third retail chain with 90 stores located throughout mainland China. These demos introduced six varieties of cheese, promoting both branded and private label products. An estimated $375,000 in new annual sales were expected from those activities, with six U.S. cheese companies participating.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) builds demand for U.S. dairy products in foreign markets. About 70 percent of U.S. lactose production is exported, 60 percent of whey proteins, 70 percent of nonfat dry milk and 6 percent of U.S. cheese production. In FY 2021, U.S. dairy and product exports reached a record $7.3 billion, with more than $3 billion of the exports going to Mexico, Canada, and China.