U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is building a preference for U.S. wheat in the Middle East and North and East Africa by helping millers and bakers find innovative ways to build their business.

That is the best strategy in these large but challenging markets, USW Regional Vice-President Dick Prior said in a presentation to the USW Board of Directors July 18 in Tulsa, Okla.

“This region, on average, represents nearly 35 percent of world wheat imports and the competition is strong,” Prior said. “However, we have worked hard to demonstrate there is a profitable market for better quality wheat foods using U.S. wheat. While price is still the primary thing many buyers consider, quality carries more weight in the decision, with growing interest in higher protein supplies, and that will help increase U.S. wheat demand in the region.”

Prior directs the market development efforts of 10 USW employees based in Cairo, Egypt, and Casablanca, Morocco. Working in this region can be difficult, Prior said. His team finds ways to work around obstacles by building productive working relationships with regional buyers.

“We focus on innovation in service, training and marketing that has created a very good image of quality, reliability and trust with buyers, millers and wheat food manufacturers,” Prior said.

“From wheat buying seminars to baking workshops, our goal is to help customers confidently get the best value possible from U.S. wheat supplies.” 

The developing countries in this region reflect the dramatic economic changes taking place around the world. Incomes are rising at a somewhat slower pace than in many developing countries, but the economic lift is creating new market segments for higher quality wheat foods.

Prior described a marketing concept that builds on the hard-won image of U.S. wheat and the increasing demand for flours blended with higher quality wheat.