By Shubhi Misra, FAS Agricultural Specialist, U.S. Embassy, New Delhi
While many Americans enjoyed time with family and friends grilling and preparing their favorite foods this past Independence Day, Indian consumers were learning about some of those same U.S. foods during a month-long promotional campaign.
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) offices in India recently held the first multi-retailer U.S. food and beverage promotional campaign in the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore from June 29 to July 22.
The “U.S. Food and Beverage Independence Day Festival” was coordinated with state regional trade groups (SRTG) and U.S. agricultural trade organizations, including the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA and Food Export USA North East, the Southern U.S. Trade Association, the California Prune Board, Paramount Farms, Sunkist Growers, Lady Liberty Brands and the Washington Apple Commission.
The goal was to increase U.S. food exports to India and help support President Obama’s National Export Initiative, which aims to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014. The SRTGs and agricultural trade organizations helped fund the 24-day festival through the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program.
On July 3, U.S. Ambassador to India, Nancy Powell, inaugurated the festival at the Le Marche store in Gurgaon, India. “We're very proud of the high quality of American food products, and we're delighted to have this opportunity to share these delicious and healthy food options with Indian consumers," she said.
Promotional events were held in the Le Marche stores in the National Capital Region of New Delhi, the Haiko store in Mumbai and the SPAR stores in Bangalore. Participating U.S. groups offered food samples, live cooking demonstrations by top Indian gourmet chefs and short educational presentations by certified nutritionists.
“If we can have more importers partner with USDA to help educate customers, as well as create awareness about the American food products, I am sure these products will gradually become a necessity in every [Indian] retail store,” said Gaurav Purohit, a top executive with Haiko Super Market in Mumbai.