USA Rice Federation’s annual survey of milled rice shipments to the U.S. domestic market is now available. The U.S. Rice Domestic Usage Report is prepared under the guidance of the Research Subcommittee of the Domestic Promotion Committee. Twenty-four firms representing 31 operating rice mills participated in this year’s report. A full copy of the report can be obtained through the USA Rice Web site: usarice.com

Key findings from the report include:

• Total rice shipments of 114 mm cwt shipped to the domestic U.S., U.S. territories, and export markets — a 16 percent increase over last year, with sharply higher exports and higher crop production driving the increase.

• 70 mm cwt shipped within the domestic U.S. Fifty-six percent of these shipments went to direct food use and 44 percent went into pet food, processed food, beer and sake.

• Of rice shipments for direct food use, the largest market segments for rice were retail grocery and warehouse clubs; 35 percent, ethnic distributors and repackers; 22 percent; and mainline foodservice 17 percent.

• The domestic market segments with the strongest growth include ethnic distributors up 20 percent; warehouse clubs up 16 percent; and mainline foodservice, up 12 percent.

• Brown rice shipments continue to increase — up 37 percent from last year, from 1.6 mm cwt to 2.3 mm cwt. Parboiled rice shipments also increased, up 27 percent from 2006-2007.

• Americans consume 25 pounds of rice per person annually. • The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 17 mm cwt of rice imports — the highest figure on record — during the 2007-2008 milling year. That number is projected to decrease for the 2008-2009 marketing year.