Delivering Consistent Quality: Italian Team to Examine U.S. HRS Crop
August 01, 2014
ARLINGTON, Virginia — Pizza is an Italian specialty, but the secret ingredient may be U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat. In fact, Italy is Europe’s largest importer of U.S. HRS wheat, and six Italians are heading to Montana, Minnesota and North Dakota Aug. 2 to 9, 2014, to investigate out this year’s crop as part of a U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) trade team.
The team members represent the next generation of Italian milling, who will eventually assume management and procurement responsibilities at their family owned mills. The team also includes a representative from the largest HRS broker in Italy. Participants will visit with wheat farmers, breeders, traders and export officials to gain a greater understanding of the U.S. wheat supply chain as well as how inspectors and exporters meet and monitor Italian specifications.
“Teams like these demonstrate to Italian millers that U.S. HRS wheat is ideal for use in their products,” said Rutger Koekoek, marketing specialist based in the USW Rotterdam Office, who will travel with the team. “Combining technical information on the gluten strength of HRS and conversations with members of the entire U.S. wheat supply chain prove the U.S. HRS crop has the reliability, versatility and quality that these millers need year after year.”
In addition to flour for pizza crust, Italian millers look to U.S. HRS for high protein quality to produce flour for pandoro and panettone, two types of bread made and consumed around Christmas, as well as high loaf volume bread. The Italian milling industry is very quality conscious, but fiercely competitive. As a result, U.S. HRS often competes with lower-priced European origin wheat for Italian market share – a challenge that USW addresses by educating millers about the value of consistent U.S. HRS quality.
USW collaborated with the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council and the North Dakota Wheat Commission to organize this team.
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS.
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2014 European Trade Team Members
Manager, Molino sul Clitunno, Trevi (Perugia), Italy
Administrator, Molino sul Clitunno, Trevi (Perugia), Italy
Sales Manager, Molini Industriali, Modena, Italy
Laboratory Director, Molino DallaGiovanna, Gragnano Trebbiense (Piacenza), Italy
Accounting & Administration, Molino DallaGiovanna, Gragnano Trebbiense (Piacenza), Italy
Grain Broker/Trader, Grain Services Reggio Emilia, Italy
Marketing Specialist, Rotterdam, U.S. Wheat Associates
U.S. and Italy Wheat Trade
Despite producing large amounts of both durum and “common” (everything that is not durum) wheat, Italy is the largest European wheat importer, purchasing between 5.2 MMT and 7.0 MMT each year. Italy is also the top European importer of U.S. wheat, including U.S. HRS.
Italian millers look to U.S. HRS for high protein quality to produce flour for pandoro and panettone, two types of bread made and consumed around Christmas, in addition to pizza and high loaf volume bread. The Italian milling industry is very quality conscious, but fiercely competitive.
Italian millers and bakers face growing cost pressures, especially since the economic crisis. Attributed to the economic crisis, the Italian Farmers’ Confederation reported that Italians spent an average of 12 percent less on food in 2013 than before the economic situation deteriorated in 2007. Additionally, Italians have significantly reduced the number of times they eat out in restaurants.
Because high protein wheat from Austria and Germany is often significantly cheaper than U.S. supplies, it competes effectively with U.S. HRS imports. But, European wheat lacks consistent high quality, so Italian millers routinely recognize the performance of U.S. HRS as more valuable than geographically closer European supplies. Italian millers also report more variability in Canadian spring wheat, sometimes even among the wheat in a single shipment, as well as lower gluten quality than U.S. HRS.
The USW European regional office in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, is responsible for carrying out activities in all countries of the European continent, Israel and the former Soviet Union. The region includes a sub-office in Moscow, Russia.
USW works directly with EU end-users and importers to help them deepen commercial links with U.S. export companies through trade servicing and technical assistance activities in Europe and by facilitating visits to the United States, like the one taking place this month. USW also keeps buyers regularly informed on the quality of all six classes of U.S. wheat, helping buyers understand the consistent high quality of U.S. wheat supplies.
U.S. Wheat Sales to Italy
1,000 Metric Tons
(June - May)
Data current through July 28, 2014
NOTE: The Imports from U.S. by Class table is a summary of all wheat inspected for export by the Federal Grain Inspection Service.
One metric ton = 36.74 bushels