More than a dozen wheat foods popular with consumers in South Korea were introduced to Filipino bakers and millers at USW's Korea Bakery Workshop last summer.

More than a dozen wheat foods popular with consumers in South Korea were introduced to Filipino bakers and millers at USW’s Korea Bakery Workshop last summer.

Movies, music and the cream cheese garlic bun – only one is a baked good, but in a modern twist, each is part of U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) effort to grow global demand for U.S. wheat. It’s called the “Korean Wave,” or “K-Wave” for short. It represents the influence of South Korean pop culture on consumers in other parts of the world. Riding the K-Wave, USW has been able to create fervor for wheat-based Korean products in important markets like the Philippines, a top export market for U.S. hard red spring (HRS) and soft white (SW) wheat.

“We’ve seen an incredible influence from South Korea,” Joe Bippert, USW Assistant Regional Director for South and Southeast Asia, said. “Every Filipino seems to be watching Korean dramas. On those dramas, if the stars are not eating food, they’re talking about eating food. K-pop stars are shown eating – let’s say Blackpink Oreos – and suddenly you cannot find them on shelves in the Philippines. That’s the power of the K-Wave.”

Inserting U.S. Wheat into the Wave

USW’s strategy is to monitor consumption trends in markets and promote the quality of U.S. wheat for food products. The K-Wave requires watching Korean trends, as well as trends in markets influenced by the Korean market.

Exhibit No. 1: the cream cheese garlic bun.

“It was one of more than a dozen wheat foods we introduced to Filipino bakers and millers at our Korea Bakery Workshop last summer, and it has since become quite popular with consumers in the Philippines,” Bippert said. “Now you can see it in hotels, at restaurants and on grocery store shelves all across the country.”

Taking advantage of the power of the K-Wave is not a new approach for USW.

“We constantly look at trends in one market that we can translate over into different markets,” Bippert explained. “In recent years we’ve been able to do exactly that through some of our work in Korea. We also look to the future and what products are going to continue to drive the market forward.”

Particpants in USW's Korea Bakery Workshop pose for a group photo. The purpose of the workshop was to introduce Filipino bakers and millers to foods that could be made with U.S. wheat in the Philippines.

Particpants in USW’s Korea Bakery Workshop pose for a group photo. The purpose of the workshop was to introduce Filipino bakers and millers to foods that could be made with U.S. wheat.

K-Wave – The Basics

K-Wave has been successful in promoting South Korea’s culture, first in China and then in Japan. It touches various things, like fashion, language, and entertainment. It started to gain momentum in the late 1990s.

Today, mostly through social media, K-pop music acts, and popular films and television programs, the K-Wave has impact. It affects consumption patterns and popularity of Korean food in many southeast Asia countries.

Welcome to K-Wave

During COVID, USW conducted webinars in the Philippines focused on Korean wheat foods. Having seen the interest in Korean products, USW later utilized USDA’ s Agricultural Trade Program (ATP) funding to take Filipino bakers and millers to Korea. The goal is to help them learn about products and recipes they could take back to the Philippines.

In July 2023, USW’s offices in South Korea, the Philippines and Singapore teamed to jointly organize a Korean Bakery Workshop. The sessions were held at the Korea Baking School (KBS) in Seoul. Participants in the workshop were bakers and millers from the Philippines.

USW Seoul Food and Bakery Technologist David Oh leads a session during the USW Korea Bakery Workshop.

USW Seoul Food and Bakery Technologist David Oh leads a session during the USW Korea Bakery Workshop.

The theme centered on Korean culture in bakery production.

“We had four Korean master bakers give a presentation on 13 Korean bakery products made with U.S. hard red spring, hard red winter wheat (HRW) and soft white wheat,” explained USW Seoul Food and Bakery Technologist David Oh. Oh has conducted several baking, biscuit, and noodle production courses across the globe. “These were a combination of traditional products and trendy products that were popular with Korean consumers. The bakers creatively taught the participants the recipe formulation, step-by-step processes, and the secrets in producing high-quality Korean bread and cakes.”

Among the products introduced were the handcrafted chocopie (made with HRW and SW), the pandoro (made with HRS) the strawberry spongecake (made with HRS).

Will K-Wave Roll On?

There are no signs the influence of Korean pop culture will ease anytime soon.

“Squid Game 2” is currently in production.  K-pop acts are all over the music charts. The K-drama genre is streaming on multiple. platforms. Korean cuisine is dominating the internet.

Meanwhile, USW staff in several markets will continue to look for opportunities to promote U.S. wheat in products caught up in the K-Wave.

“We’ve seen products really gain traction here in the Philippines, and we are seeing a lot of restaurants and cafes offer products made popular by the K-Wave,” Bippert said. “But we see U.S. Wheat’s impact, too. After one of our customers participates in a Korea Baking Workshop, then we see the products they learn about start showing up on the shelves in the Philippines.”



Flour millers and bakers in the Philippines have a strong preference for U.S. wheat, and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has spent many years building relationships in the important market.

‘Spotlight on the Philippines’ Provided Opportunity

Because of USW’s work there, USDA invited USW to participate in “Spotlight on the Philippines,” a webinar held in December that was organized by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) office in Manila. USW Assistant Regional Director Joe Bippert presented during the event. He shared USW’s experiences in the market and some of its plans for the coming year.

In this short video – the first of two videos on USW’s work in the market – Bippert explains why USW was chosen to participate in the FAS event. He also provides some background on U.S. wheat’s successes in the Philippines.

USW's . The 2023 South and Southeast Asian Marketing Conference will be held May 9-11 in Phuket, Thailand.

The 2023 South and Southeast Asian Marketing Conference will be held May 9-11 in Phuket, Thailand.

After more than a decade of absence, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is restarting an event that brings together customers and partners in an important region of the world. The 2023 South and Southeast Asian Marketing Conference will be held May 9-11 in Phuket, Thailand.

“Building Prosperity Through Partnership” is the theme of the conference, which will focus on the value of U.S. wheat and people who produce, supply and support it in the global marketplace. Asian millers, buyers and importers in the region will have the opportunity to meet with U.S. wheat farmers, state wheat associations, USDA representatives and USW technical and marketing staff. Likewise, those from the U.S. wheat industry will be able to interact with customers and potential customers.

The conference will include input from major flour mills in the region, with a panel discussion focused on the perspective of millers in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

“We recognized that the time had come to revitalize the conference to engage the trade and visit with our dedicated customers in the region,” said Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice President for South and Southeast Asia. “At the same time, there are opportunities to make new customers while also tackling challenges and identifying ideas for business growth. We have a top-notch lineup of speakers and presenters, along with a host of panel discussions that address critical issues in 2023 and beyond.”

USW’s Wheat Letter Blog will provide regular updates from the conference. Videos and blog posts will appear on the site throughout the event.


Taeyoung Grain Terminal’s CEO took time from his busy schedule March 8, 2023, to meet with U.S. farmers from Idaho, Montana and Nebraska and explain what happens when a shipment of imported U.S. wheat arrives in South Korea (photo above).

It was a fitting way for the U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) 2023 North Asia Board Team to wrap up its 10-day exploration of top Asian markets.

“We’ve been able to see every step, where demand for our wheat is created at the consumer level, to the baking process where flour is used as the ingredient, to the milling process where flour is made with our wheat, and now to the import process, which is how our wheat gets to the market in the first place,” explained Bob Delsing, a Nebraska wheat producer and Nebraska Wheat Board member.

Delsing took note of another important detail, too.

“The other farmers and I on the trip really noticed the respect people have shown us,” Delsing added. “The end of the Korea visit was a perfect example. Tae Hyun Yeo, who leads grain terminal as CEO, seemed happy to spend time with us and get to know us. We saw that over and over on this trip.”

Along with Delsing, team members are Bill Flory, of the Idaho Wheat Commission (IWC); Keven Bradley, of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee (MWBC); Kent Kupfner, Executive Vice President of MWBC; and USW Director of Communications Ralph Loos.

USW Country Director Rick Nakano discusses Japan's milling and baking industry to members of the 2023 USW North Asia Board Team.

USW Country Director Rick Nakano discusses Japan’s milling and baking industry with 2023 USW North Asia Board Team members (l to r) Bob Delsing, Keven Bradley, Bill Flory and Kent Kupfner.

Representing the USW Board of Directors, the team arrived in the Philippines on Feb. 28, then made stops in Japan and South Korea to meet customers of U.S. wheat. A return to the U.S. is scheduled for March 10.

“It was exciting to have the Board Team in Tokyo, and in fact it is the first team we’ve hosted since before the pandemic,” said USW Japan Director Rick Nakano. “The goal was to give the farmers a look at the market and how USW works to create demand for U.S. wheat. Our customers were eager to meet face-to-face with this team and get a perspective from wheat growers. Our customers also wanted to share what they need to help their businesses. We had some exceptionally good discussions.”

Compliments on Quality, Questions About Supply

Two overlying themes dominated each meeting between the USW team and flour millers in each of the three Asian markets: quality and supply.

“Our members are always very satisfied with U.S. wheat’s quality – never a question,” Jeong-seop Park, director of the Korea Flour Mills Industrial Association (KOFMIA), offered during a meeting between the team and his organization. “We have come to rely on that quality and we wish to show appreciation for the work U.S. farmers do to assure it in every crop.”

The 2023 USW North Asia Board Team meeting with members of the Korean Flour Millers Industrial Association in Seoul, South Korea

The 2023 USW North Asia Board Team met with members of the Korean Flour Millers Industrial Association at the KOFMIA headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

Like other customers the USW team met in the Philippines, Japan and Korea, KOFMIA asked each farmer about the status of his current wheat crop and projections for 2023 success come harvest time.

Questions in each market were centered on the supply of wheat from the United States.

“Those are difficult questions to answer this time of year because we won’t know about our winter wheat crop until later in the spring, but I feel they were satisfied with our answers and I feel they understand,” said Bradley, who has roughly 5,400 acres of hard red winter wheat (HRW) wheat in the ground on his Montana farm. “This was my first visit to a foreign market, so I learned a lot about our customers in each of the countries we visited. It’s an eye-opening experience and you see the value of the U.S. Wheat Associates offices in each market. The [USW] staff does a great job interacting with our customers.”

In addition to the Taeyoung Grain Terminal in Pyeongtaek , the South Korea leg of the journey included a tour of the Sajodongaone Dangjin Flour Mill. The day prior was packed with productive meetings in Seoul with Agricultural officials from the U.S. Embassy, the KOFMIA members, Samhwa Flour Mills, Daehan Flour Mills and the CJ Cheiljedang Corporation.

Members of the 2023 USW North Asia Board Team toured the Sajodongaone Dangjin flour mill March 7, 2023.

Members of the 2023 USW North Asia Board Team toured the Sajodongaone Dangjin flour mill March 7, 2023. Here, USW Seoul Food/Bakery Technologist Shin Hak “David” Oh translates the mill manager’s explanation of this display of  flour streams the mill creates for Korean bakeries.

Japanese Stress ‘Trust and Understanding’

In Japan, the farmers met with the Japan Flour Millers Association (JFMA), as well as Agricultural Affairs and Agricultural Trade Offices of the U.S. Embassy and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). A tour of the Nippn Corporation’s Chiba Flour Mill provided insight into Japan’s use of U.S. wheat.

JFMA members pointed to the long relationship Japanese millers have had with U.S. producers. Recent high prices for U.S. wheat have been a concern, along with future production. However, officials made it clear they understand how weather affects the wheat crop and that they trust U.S. farmers.

JFMA Executive Director Yasuo Sasaki sought input from the USW Team about their farms and the business challenges they face.

In Tokyo, the 2023 USW North Asia Board Team met with members of the Japan Flour Millers Association.

USW Tokyo Country Director Rick Nakano (far right) introduces the the 2023 USW North Asia Board Team to members of the Japan Flour Millers Association.

“High-quality wheat is what we need in Japan to satisfy our customers and consumers and we also need a reliable supply of that high-quality wheat,” said Sasaki. “We know we can count on U.S. farmers to come through.”

Kupfner, a former wheat trader and grain company manager, went into the Japan part of the trip interested in growth opportunities for U.S. wheat.

“What we saw in Japan was a large urban population with an appetite for all kinds of food, but especially top-quality foods,” he said. “It’s a very consistent market and we want to maintain U.S. wheat’s place in it.”

Bakery Fair Connections

Highlights of the Philippines portion of the trip were a tour of the Gardenia Baking Facility and participation on the Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association’s 2023 Bakery Fair in Manila.

While not a “North Asian” market, the Bakery Fair provided a special opportunity for this Board Team. During the Fair’s opening ceremony, Flory was invited to provide remarks on behalf of the U.S. wheat industry. He shared his appreciation for the long relationship between U.S. wheat and the Philippines.

“From our farms to you” is the salutation Flory used to end his address to bakers and industry partners gathered. He shared his appreciation for the long relationship between U.S. wheat and the Philippines.

“We have had a long connection and we have had a long record of success together,” said Flory, a member of the USW Board of Directors and current Chair of the Wheat Marketing Center board. “We know that you rely on us to supply you with the wheat you need and desire. We want you to know that we take pride in that.”

By USW Director of Communications Ralph Loos


Appropriately, the celebration of the 60th anniversary of USW’s office in the Philippines included the U.S. Ambassador to the country, representatives from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Executive Director of the Philippine Association of Flour Miller’s (PAFMIL).

It also featured a cake contest starring U.S. soft white wheat.

The Nov. 18 event, which marked another milestone in an important relationship between U.S. wheat and one of its biggest and most dependable customers, came at the conclusion of the 2022 USW Crop Quality (CQ) Seminar in Manila – the first in-person CQ seminar since 2019.

The USW team poses with one of the photos gifted by Past President Darren Padget to Filipino flour millers during the 60th anniversary celebration of the USW office in the Philippines.

The USW team poses with one of the U.S. wheat harvest photos gifted by Past Chairman Darren Padget to Filipino flour millers during the 60th anniversary celebration of the USW office in the Philippines.

“It is fortunate and very fitting that we were able to get together with some familiar faces to celebrate the anniversary of our presence in the Philippines while also sharing information about the U.S. wheat crop,” said USW President Vince Peterson, who joined a large team of USW officers and staff at the Manila Marriott Hotel. “U.S. Wheat Associates and our legacy organizations have maintained an office here for six decades now for a very good reason. The flour millers in the Philippines rely on U.S. wheat to meet growing demand by consumers. And wheat farmers in the U.S. rely on Filipino flour millers who appreciate the high-quality wheat they grow.”

MaryKay Carlson, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, spoke about the significance of U.S. wheat in the region.

“Nothing symbolizes U.S. agriculture better than amber waves of grain,” Carlson told an audience. “We are pleased to make this important essential commodity available to our friends, partners and allies here in the Philippines.”

MaryKay Carlson, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, speaks during USW's 60th anniversary celebration. Carlson emphasized the importance of the relationship between U.S. wheat and consumers in the country.

MaryKay Carlson, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, speaks during USW’s 60th anniversary celebration. Carlson emphasized the importance of the relationship between U.S. wheat and consumers in the country.

PAFMIL Executive Director Ric Pinca was among representatives of the Filipino milling industry on hand to congratulate USW. USW Chairman Rhonda Larson and Past Chairman Darren Padget participated, each sharing background on their farms and production practices. Padget presented local millers with framed photographs of a wheat field overlooking the Lower Monumental dam on the Snake River.

Three flour mills participated in the contest to design, bake and decorate a cake made with flour milled from U.S. soft white wheat and a variety of local fruits.

The Philippines is the second largest importer of U.S. wheat in the world. Over the past five years, Filipino flour millers have imported an average of more than 2.9 million metric tons of U.S. soft white, hard red spring and hard red winter wheat per year.


USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Daniel Whitley recently returned from leading a U.S. trade mission to the Philippines. The mission’s objective was to help foster stronger ties and build economic partnerships between the United States and the Philippines. The mission included representatives from 29 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations and 10 state departments of agriculture who are interested in exploring export opportunities in the Philippines.

Charlie Vogel, Executive Director of the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council, Red Lake Fall, Minn., shared his experience on the trade mission that included meetings with U.S. wheat customers in the Philippines.

People Make It A Small World

“Participating in the trade mission, I was reminded how big this world physically is and the miracle of modern transportation. However, from a human perspective, it is a small world,” Vogel said. “The concerns about geopolitics, world wheat supplies, market volatility, and weather were the exact same questions domestic buyers ask me about hard red spring [HRS] wheat. People are people the world over.

“A key takeaway from this trade mission is the value U.S. wheat farmers receive from the continued efforts of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and its staff, who set up meetings, tours, and dinners with millers, bakers and associations. Some themes became apparent. USW staff has developed deep and genuine relationships with these HRS buyers and end users. They provide technical skills and resources to assist these partners in maximizing use, expanding markets and product lines, and improving business. The consistent quality of HRS provided by U.S. growers, including from Minnesota, is essential to the value proposition USW utilizes. In the face of a rising U.S. dollar and uncertain geopolitics, these relationships are critical to continued success.”

Meeting Wheat Customers

USW Country Director Joe Bippert and the USW Manila team arranged a tour and meeting with Gardenia Bakery, a large commercial bread and wheat food company in Manila, for Vogel. In addition, Vogel and Bippert met with leaders of the Filipino Chinese Bakery Association.

Vogel’s photo at the top of this page is from a visit to the flagship store of Eng Bee Tin, an over 90-year-old landmark in the heart of the oldest Chinatown in the world. Eng Bee Tin produces hopia, a popular snack in the Philippines.

“We met wonderful, hospitable and genuine people in Manila, and I was happy to let them know how much our wheat growers in Minnesota and across the country appreciate their support for our products,” Vogel said.

Customer meeting during Philippines trade mission

Valued Customers. (L-R) Charlie Vogel and Joe Bippert met with Royce Gerik Chua, Eng Bee Tin, Jerry Midel, Philippine Society of Baking, and Henry Ah, Liberty Food Mart, during the FAS trade mission to the Philippines in July 2022.

World’s Most Reliable

USW and its legacy organizations have maintained an office in the Philippines for almost 60 years. Flour millers in the Philippines rely on U.S. HRS, soft white and hard red winter milling wheat to meet the growing demand for wheat foods in the island nation. Administrator Whitley also noted that the Philippines is the eighth-largest market for U.S. agricultural and food products, with even more potential. There is a reason for that, he said.

“Everywhere I go, trading partners are looking for a reliable supplier. And they view American agriculture to be the most reliable in the world,” Whitley said. “That, along with our outstanding qualities and the fact that we are embracing the challenge to produce commodities that are more sustainable.”


Originally printed in Dakota Gold, June 2020, Volume 37, No. 4; Reprinted with permission from the North Dakota Wheat Commission

Dr. Senay Simsek, Bert L. D’Appolonia Cereal Science and Technology of Wheat Endowed Professor, will be leaving North Dakota State University (NDSU) at the end of June to take a position at Purdue University as the head of the Food Science Department. Even though she may be leaving NDSU, the work that she has done will leave a lasting impact.

Dr. Simsek began her career at NDSU in 2007 after obtaining her Ph.D. from Purdue. While she was fairly new to world of wheat, her background in cereal and food chemistry prepared her well for the role.

A significant portion of Dr. Simsek’s position has been to manage the wheat quality lab at NDSU. The lab analyzes thousands of spring wheat lines each year, including breeder material and samples for the regional crop quality report that is used by thousands of customers each year. Simsek also took on numerous graduate students in her 14 years at NDSU, training the next generation of cereal science professionals. She completed extensive amounts of research, mostly related to wheat quality and performance, many of the ideas which came about after discussions with domestic and international customers and her desire to help solve issues or answer questions customers had about various topics.

Showing Dr. Senay Simsek at work for USW in the Philippines

During one of her many consulting activities promoting U.S. spring wheat, Dr. Senay Simsek paused with Ellison Dean Lee, Managing Director, Universal Robina Co. Flour, Philippines, to point out the American Quality Wheat seal on packages of URC’s Baker John brand pan bread.

Clear Competence

Joe Sowers, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Regional Vice President based in the Philippines recalls the first time he met Dr. Simsek in Fargo with a high-level delegation of Filipino millers.

“Through Senay’s affable charisma and clear competence in discussing wheat quality, she and the millers became fast friends. At the end of the meeting the Director of the Philippine Flour Millers Association told me that training from Dr. Simsek was what his industry needed,” Sowers said.

The next year Dr. Simsek provided her first training to the Philippine millers and returned ten times after that, fostering strong relationships with millers in the Philippines and helping to maintain the country as the top HRS market. Dr. Simsek provided training in many other countries and presented on USW sponsored crop quality tours in all the major regions – reaching thousands of customers during her career at NDSU.

“Every visit Senay made to various customers around the world paid off for U.S. wheat farmers,” Sowers added. “Her ability to illustrate the superior quality profiles offered by U.S. HRS was integral in proving its value to the milling and baking industries, reinforcing their preference for U.S. HRS.”

Passion for Wheat Quality

Presenting quality data, conducting training, and completing research on behalf of customers became a top priority for Simsek and one that benefited producers tremendously. Greg Svenningsen, NDWC Chairman says, “when you saw her interacting with a trade team, you could easily see her passion for wheat quality and that her expertise was well received by customers. As a producer, I didn’t always understand the topic or the in-depth technicalities of some of the discussion, but what was evident was that she was providing much needed information to the industry and to our customers. In return, they could better understand our wheat and be maintained as customers.”

Dr. Senay Simsek at Northern Crops Institute

Dr. Senay Simsek enjoys a light moment with USW Regional Vice President Matt Weimar (L) and USW Baking Consultant Roy Chung (R) during one of the many events in which she participated with USW.

Sowers and others in the industry that traveled with Dr. Simsek over the years noted that her energy, friendliness, and willingness to build relationships with customers melded with her extensive scientific background to make her a sought-after resource for customers. While Dr. Simsek will be missed by colleagues at NDSU and North Dakota producers, we hope to see her involved with U.S. wheat promotion in some format.

Dr. Senay Simsek and USW's Joe Sowers at Philippines flour mill.

Dr. Senay Simsek and USW Regional Vice President Joe Sowers (L) with a flour milling team in the Philippines.


By Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice President for Philippines and Korea

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is very pleased that the Tariff Commission of the Republic of the Philippines has extended anti-dumping duties on imports of wheat flour originating and exported from the Republic of Turkey until 2023. The commission’s ruling, announced Sept. 9, 2020, extended anti-dumping duties that were first imposed in 2014 after PAFMIL, the Philippine Association of Flour Millers, Inc., proved that Turkish flour imports threatened to cause material injury to the domestic milling industry. The decision marks the culmination of a decade-long effort by the Philippine flour industry to deter Turkey’s unfair trade practices and secure a fair and competitive market for wheat and flour trade.

USW and U.S. officials have been aware for many years that the Turkish government employs a complex, inward processing scheme that creates incentives for its milling industry to export flour regardless of price, distorting and disrupting flour markets around the world. In making its original case to the Philippine Tariff Commission, PAFMIL argued that the landed cost of Turkish flour was much lower than imported flour from other countries, lower than the prices of flour produced by the Philippine industry and, indeed, well below flour prices in Turkey. USW provided significant information on relative costs and other factors that supported PAFMIL’s case.

In 2014, anti-dumping duties of up to 16.19% were imposed on Turkish flour. Combined with the MFN tariff rate of 7 percent, the duties were enough to reduce imports of Turkish flour by more than 70 percent and allow the Philippine milling industry to increase production of flour needed to make high-quality Philippine wheat food products. The growth in demand for locally produced flour allowed mills to expand and helped smaller and independent Philippine flour milling companies to enter the growing market.

U.S. wheat farmers, who have had representation in the Philippines for 59 years, will also see benefits from PAFMIL’s effort. The Philippines is currently the world’s third largest wheat importer, with demand for wheat flour and milling wheat nearly doubling in the last decade. Its expanding population, coupled with increasing per capita income, has contributed to a surge in consumption of wheat-based products, especially bread, noodles, biscuits and cakes. The Philippine milling industry purchases nearly all its milling wheat from the United States for its quality and consistency. The impact of PAFMIL’s effort is clear with imports of U.S. hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat rising from 2.16 million metric tons (MMT) in marketing year 2015/16 to 3.58 MMT in 2019/20.

Source: USDA


Source: USDA

However, the original tariffs were set to expire at the end of 2019 and PAFMIL’s request for extension had to make the case that ending the tariffs would encourage Turkish exporters to target the Philippines again, increasing exports through their established dumping practices and, in turn, resume its threat to the Philippine milling industry.

PAFMIL’s successful petition to the Tariff Commission stated: “Once the duty is lifted, Turkish flour will come in at even lower prices and cause damage to the local industry. Extension of the anti-dumping duty will help these emerging independent Philippine flour millers to establish themselves and even expand such that the needs of the Philippine market for flour will be fully addressed.” After finding that Turkish exporters continued to dump flour in the Philippines during the period of investigation and would likely resume large scale exports should the duties be lifted, the Tariff Commission extended the anti-dumping duties for another three years, in fact increasing the top rate to 29.57 percent.

As an organization that believes in the value of a trade environment in which the participants compete fairly and openly, USW was happy to support PAFMIL’s request to reinstate the anti-dumping duties. And we were humbled by a recent letter from PAFMIL Executive Director Ric Pinca to our organization:

“I write to thank you for the support and encouragement the U.S. Wheat Associates extended … in our campaign for fair trade against the Turkish government and its wheat flour milling industry. It was a difficult and uphill fight, but we had the truth and your support behind us. With these, we never wavered in our confidence and we have been rewarded with a favorable ruling by the Philippine Tariff Commission … We couldn’t have gained this victory without your unceasing support, for which we are deeply appreciative and grateful.”


Name: Adrian “Ady” Redondo

Title: Technical Specialist

Office: USW South Asian Regional Office, Manila

Providing Service to: Republic of the Philippines and Korea

Growing up on his grandparents’ small farm in the Philippines province of Batangas, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Technical Specialist Adrian “Ady” Redondo learned that hard work is a great motivator.

“My father was away working in Saudi Arabia, and my mother worked as a midwife, so my three sisters and I spent our childhood helping our grandparents raise chickens and grow rice and corn. I learned that life is hard, and you don’t get to eat if you don’t sweat,” Redondo said. “But my grandparents also encouraged me to do well in school and be successful for them because they had to work on the farm with their parents to make ends meet instead of getting an education.”

The wisdom of grandparents helped set Ady Redondo on a path toward education and a career in food technology. In the top photo, his Grandmother Barbara (right) joined Redondo (far left), his mother Paz, younger sisters Anna Rose and Angelica, and a friend at a Flores de Mayo prayer service at church. In the bottom photo, his Grandfather Miguel holds Redondo surrounded by neighbors and friends. Redondo said his grandfather fought to get him in first grade even though he was too young: “He insisted I was just as smart as everyone in the class…and they accepted me.”

At his elementary school, lessons about a Batangueño hero added inspiration to Redondo’s interest in science.

María Y. Orosa was from the same hometown as Redondo’s mother and was considered the Philippines’ first female scientist. She invented the palayok oven to help families bake without access to electricity and developed recipes for local produce, including a banana ketchup formulation that became a favorite Filipino condiment and cooking ingredient. Orosa also used her knowledge of food technology to help save prisoners in World War II by inventing soyalac, a protein-rich powder from local ingredients, that she smuggled into the prison camps. Then, tragically, Orosa was killed in an Allied bombing raid.

Statue honoring María Orosa, Historical Park and Laurel Park, Batangas Provincial Capitol Complex. Photo copyright By Ramon F. Velasquez.

At home, Redondo had started cooking rice and eggs by the age of seven, and his interest in food and the sciences grew. He was valedictorian of his elementary school class and Salutatorian of his high school class. Once again, his grandparents were the catalyst for his next chapter.

The friendly competition helped fuel Redondo’s very successful high school education and prepared him for an excellent university. On the right, Redondo and his mother, Paz, with classmate May and her mother, Apolinaria, at a high school awards ceremony. On the left, Redondo at his 1997 high school graduation (as Salutatorian) with classmates (L-R) Cecilia, his cousin Norma and Cecil. “I hung out with them at lunch because they always had nice snacks and desserts, and the conversations were fun,” Redondo said.

“My grandparents always talked with respect about someone who graduated in agriculture from the University of the Philippines in the city of Los Baños, an area also known for its hot springs resorts,” Redondo said. “That is where they wanted us to go. When I discovered that the university offered a degree in Food Science and Technology, I knew I had to pass the tough exams and get into the program.”

Part of Redondo’s university studies included collaborative work with Nestlé Philippines, Inc. The company was looking for ways to develop coffee and coffee mixes that aligned the most sensory appeal for Filipino consumers with its international standards. As a student and during an internship at Nestlé, Redondo helped develop “3-in-1” flavored coffee mixes that were launched commercially to Philippine consumers under the Nescafé brand.

Redondo noted that the University of the Philippines is the top university in the country and has generated countless breakthroughs in research and established trailblazing leadership in agriculture, veterinary medicine, and forestry education.

Future food technologists at their 2001 graduation from the University of the Philippines, Los Baños. College buddies (L-R) CJ, Redondo, Ed, and Joel were all student members of the Philippine Association of Food Technologies.

After graduation (which offered a great sense of pride for his grandparents), Redondo took the advice of his Nestlé internship supervisor to gain a wide range of experience inside the Philippines’ thriving food production industry before venturing outside as a sales representative. So, he said the start of his career included “most of the work that a food technologist could see,” including research and development, quality control and assurance, technical service, production management, and technical sales.

“Almost all of that work related to the baking industry,” Redondo said. “I did technical servicing for Sonlie International, a company that distributed LeSaffre yeast in the Philippines, and learned proper commercial baking there under the tutelage of the company’s Head Baking Technician Rolly Dorado, who had served as a baking consultant for U.S. Wheat Associates in the 1980s.”

Redondo also worked as a production supervisor for the food service department of “a local burger chain” and in research and development for a company supplying premixes to Dunkin Donuts franchises in the Philippines.

Toward the Next Generation

His next career move into technical sales for commercial ingredient companies put him on a direct path to his current position in USW’s next generation of technical experts.

“I love to meet people, interact with them, and share what I know while learning from them at the same time,” Redondo said. “I had that opportunity as a technical sales executive at Bakels, a Swiss company that manufactures, sells, and supports high-quality bakery ingredients around the world.”

Redondo joined Bakels Philippines in 2005, where he found great value in the work of a colleague, Gerardo Mendoza, who is now a veteran Baking Technologist with USW/Manila.

Redondo worked with USW Baking Technologist Gerry Mendoza (left) when they both worked in technical sales at a global bakery ingredient company, Bakels.

“I worked with Gerry on provincial accounts, and eventually, I moved to key accounts where I had a lot of success,” Redondo said. “Gerry moved on, and I moved on to a multinational food ingredient company called Ingredion, specializing in modified starches and sweeteners.”

Redondo said his experience at Nestlé opened the door to the technical sales position at Ingredion. Gleaning from Mendoza’s passion for the work and people and his experience at Bakels, Redondo was able to build additional revenue for Ingredion’s Philippines and greater Southeast Asia bakery segment. He was recognized with Southeast Asia Top Sales Awards and “Best Campaigns” for three consecutive years.

“I think this success also came from trying to create additional value for whatever product Ingredion was selling,” Redondo said.

Any Resource Available

Toward the end of the ten years Redondo spent at Ingredion, USW Regional Vice President Joe Sowers was making plans to maintain a high level of technical support to the growing wheat foods industry in the Philippines. USW/Manila’s reputation for employing any resource available to help its customers succeed has helped make the Philippines the top global market for U.S. hard red spring (HRS) and soft white (SW) wheat. A fortunate change in USW’s funding sources helped solidify Sowers’ plan.

“As a result of the trade dispute between the United States and China, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service made additional export market development funding available under the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program,” Sowers said. “This allowed us to hire a new Technical Specialist in Manila who could expand our after-sales service while training for a long time with our regional technicians. Fortunately, Gerry Mendoza had someone in mind for the job.”

“I liked working in the commercial food industry, but no matter how well you did, you would only be as good as last month’s or last year’s sales,” Redondo said. “Then, I was able to talk with Gerry and Bakery Consultant Roy Chung during an interview, who told me that success in technical support at U.S. Wheat Associates would be about helping local companies grow while helping farmers in the United States build demand for their wheat. I was all in after that talk.”

“We knew Ady had a solid background in the bakery ingredients industry that gave him the capability and credibility to contribute at a high level to our mission in the Philippines from his first day,” Sowers said. “He has also shown a strong work ethic combined with a pleasant demeanor since he joined our team in June 2019.”

“Right away, I understood that my focus would be on building relationships and serving bakery manufacturers and associations, providing technical support to flour mills, and promoting innovations in baking and quality analysis in the Philippines,” Redondo said.

Character Doesn’t Change

Late on a Friday afternoon, not long after he joined USW, Redondo had the chance to apply that focus to a flour mill that had a question about performance issues with a new U.S. wheat crop shipment. Sowers said Redondo responded immediately and asked to visit the mill Saturday morning to understand the problem better. Coordinating with other USW colleagues and a state-side university expert, Redondo was able to help the customer solve their immediate concerns and change purchase specifications to avoid similar issues in the future.

“Roy Chung likes to say the value of people is in their character; skills can be learned, character doesn’t change,” Sowers said. “Redondo’s willingness to go the extra mile, providing attention outside of office hours, was a solid indication that he would be very successful with our organization.”

That is becoming a hallmark of Redondo’s work. A Philippines baking industry executive recently noted that he is easy to work with and always responsive to the company’s inquiries.

“I am thankful that during this COVID-19 pandemic, Redondo was able to respond to our request for a webinar about Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC) as a measure of flour functionality,” the executive said. “He effectively organized the webinar and gave us new knowledge, proving there is no right time and venue to learn. He is surely adding value to U.S. wheat.”

In addition to “learning the ropes” with Mendoza and Chung, Redondo said he had been actively participating in trade visits, technical support inquiries, and teaching bakery science until the pandemic put restrictions on face-to-face customer interaction.

In October 2019, Redondo (back row, fourth from right) helped Mendoza (seated first on the left), USW Seoul Country Director CY Kang (front row seated, third from left), and USW Seoul Food/Bakery Technologist Shin Hak (David) Oh (front row sitting on the far right) organize and conduct two Baking Workshops on Korean Breads and Cakes to help Philippine bakers diversify product offerings as well as production techniques.

Another opportunity Redondo looks forward to is a Cereal Science Seminar he and Mendoza have created for technical staff at local flour mills.

“This will hopefully give them a better understanding of the quality testing they conduct with wheat and flour,” Redondo said. “And, of course, to help further affirm the superior qualities of U.S. wheat.”

While continuing to help customers and train with his USW colleagues, Redondo looks forward to the future.

“I like the working culture at U.S. Wheat Associates,” he said. “Everyone is so passionate about their jobs. They genuinely work as if they are fulfilling a duty of care for their industry, which is infectious. This really is an organization you can grow in – and it also grows on you.”

By Steve Mercer, USW Vice President of Communications

Editor’s Note: This is the eighth in a series of posts profiling U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) technical experts in flour milling and wheat foods production. USW Vice President of Global Technical Services Mark Fowler says technical support to overseas customers is an essential part of export market development for U.S. wheat. “Technical support adds differential value to the reliable supply of U.S. wheat,” Fowler says. “Our customers must constantly improve their products in an increasingly competitive environment. We can help them compete by demonstrating the advantages of using the right U.S. wheat class or blend of classes to produce the wide variety of wheat-based foods the world’s consumers demand.”

Meet the other USW Technical Experts in this blog series:


Ting Liu – Opening Doors in a Naturally Winning Way
Shin Hak “David” Oh – Expertise Fermented in Korean Food Culture
Tarik Gahi – ‘For a Piece of Bread, Son’
Gerry Mendoza – Born to Teach and Share His Love for Baking
Marcelo Mitre – A Love of Food and Technology that Bakes in Value and Loyalty
Peter Lloyd – International Man of Milling
Ivan Goh – An Energetic Individual Born to the Food Industry
 Adrian Redondo – Inspired to Help by Hard Work and a Hero
Andrés Saturno – A Family Legacy of Milling Innovation
Wei-lin Chou – Finding Harmony in the Wheat Industry


By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) believes customer engagement, supply chain transparency and free access to market information are the building blocks for robust relationships with U.S. wheat overseas customers. Every year, USW hosts several foreign trade delegations on trips to the United States to help foster these relationships. These delegations of millers, bakers, wheat buyers and executives from overseas mills and end-product manufacturers visit many stops along the U.S. wheat supply chain including wheat farms, state wheat commissions, export inspection facilities, export elevators, test labs, wheat breeding programs, bakeries and more. These trips are designed to assure overseas customers of the quality, abundance, end-use versatility and value of U.S. wheat.

This week, I joined my USW colleagues in Portland, Ore., who hosted a trade delegation of milling executives, including vice presidents, marketing directors and quality control and plant managers, from the Philippines. Many participants were from companies that are customers of U.S. wheat, yet had never been to the United States themselves. On day one, I asked each participant about what they wanted to learn on the 10-day trip. Interests ranged from supply chain management to best practices in flour milling and quality control measures to visiting export terminals and wheat farms Others were looking forward to learning more about quality benchmarks at U.S. bakeries and discussing new marketing insights which could appeal to the growing “foodie” generation of Filipino consumers. Each trade delegation experience is a little different, but each offers a variety of tours, meetings and seminars to address the diverse needs of each group.

The delegations first visit was to the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC), where they met Managing Director Janice Cooper, Technical Director Dr. Jayne Bock and a team of technical specialists. WMC demonstrates U.S. wheat quality and marketing differentiation by providing flour and end-use research and technical training. The delegation watched WMC specialists use a new solvent retention capacity (SRC) testing machine that creates a “fingerprint” analysis of the wheat. The delegation was very interested in the test’s ability to accurately predict end-use functionality for high volume samples of soft and hard wheat flours. Participants emphasized that flour consistency is a high priority for consumers and wanted to know more about research in the United States addressing this issue. WMC staff explained that U.S. wheat farmers use precision agriculture tools to better regulate and monitor nitrogen application, which minimizes fertilizer waste and helps stabilize wheat protein levels. WMC is also conducting tests to determine if wheat with different protein levels can be still be used to create similar end-products like cakes and cookies. Members of the delegation also asked about recommended wheat and flour tests, significant issues facing the future of consistency in wheat production and what is next for the future of wheat quality testing.

Watching a demonstration at the Wheat Marketing Center.

Next, during a tour with the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), the delegation had a first-hand look at the third-party, impartial testing procedures conducted by government inspection specialists at export elevators. FGIS falls under the USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service and assures, through rigid testing procedures, the quality and quantity of every grain order placed through U.S. export terminals. Through random sampling, compared to the size of the wheat shipment, FGIS specialists test for moisture, protein, unusual odors, insects, dockage, test weight, shrunken and broken particles, class and dark hard vitreous levels of each outbound wheat shipment.

Touring FGIS with commodity grader, Sam Stanley

At the Oregon Wheat Commission (OWC), the delegation met with Walter Powell, Oregon wheat farmer and OWC chairman, and Blake Rowe, OWC chief executive officer. Together, Powell and Rowe gave an excellent presentation on Oregon’s soft white (SW) wheat crop quality and marketing conditions, trade issues facing the industry and the Commission’s Wheat Quality Program. They explained that the program creates a “quality loop,” in which public crop quality data is used to inform customers, whose feedback in return directs private and public wheat breeding initiatives to improve end-use versatility and value. Powell and Rowe assured the delegation that customers have ownership in the quality development process by voicing their unique needs to members of the U.S. wheat industry.

The delegation started its second day at Franz Bakery, a large-scale U.S. bakery that services grocery stores, schools and chain restaurants in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). At the 113-year-old Portland facility, the delegation asked about marketing techniques, product differentiation and transportation logistics that allow the bakery to maintain its large PNW presence. Jodie Kelley, a Franz Bakey tour guide, emphasized that the business has been family-owned and operated since its inception, which gives it a unique marketing edge in the United States. By offering a variety of products, the bakery caters to a large customer base, including fast food chains and customers with different dietary restrictions and preferences.

The delegation’s next stop, Little T Bakery—a small, artisan bakery—gave the team a more intimate look at end-use versatility for locally-sourced SW wheat, spelt and whole-wheat flours. Unlike Franz Bakery, Little T Bakery caters to a much smaller community, baking only what it needs for the day and distributing minimally to local restaurants. Participants were greeted by the owner and baker, Tim Healea, who talked about local wheat sourcing and the challenges of marketing simple, traditional recipes in a trend-oriented industry. Team members asked about the popularity of GMO-free and gluten-free products. Healea believes the trend in gluten-free labeling is on the decline and does not market gluten-free products in his bakery.

Sampling artisan bread goods at Little T Bakery with owner and baker Tim Healea.

After the bakery tours, the delegation visited United Grain Corporation (UGC) export elevator, the biggest in the PNW at a 220,000 metric ton total storage capacity. UGC grain traders took the delegation through the technical control room that oversees all yard operations, the inspection facility that performs similar quality tests to FGIS, the rail unloading yard and the barge unloading dock. Participants asked questions about insect control, grain cleaning, quantity differentials at loading, the effects of rail costs on export and country elevator prices and the potential for rain damage during loading. At lunch, with members of the Pacific Grain Export Association (PGEA), UGC traders and a trader from Columbia Grain International gave crop quality reports on SW and hard red spring (HRS) wheat—top classes imported by the Philippines. In marketing year 2018/19, the Philippines was the largest importer of U.S. HRS and SW wheat and the second-largest overall importer of all U.S. wheat classes. The delegation was interested in hearing the traders’ long-term projections for SW wheat growth in the United States and traders shared that production should remain stable in the future as white wheat remains a “boutique” wheat on the global market, is unique to the PNW and highly valuable as an exportable commodity. Traders also forecast that customers will have access to large available supplies at reasonable prices as harvest in the PNW starts in the next few weeks. In return, to better understand the needs of their customers, traders asked the delegation about common blending practices, potential fumigation issues at delivery and vessel delays.

Touring UGC Vancouver, WA, export facility.

During the next eight days of their trip, the delegation will travel to Washington to visit wheat farms, a grain barge loading terminal, Washington State University’s Western Wheat Quality Lab and the Washington Grain Commission. Next, they will head to Idaho to visit a flour mill, a country elevator and the Idaho Wheat Commission. Finally, the delegation will finish its tour in Nebraska, where they will visit more wheat farms, another flour mill and the Nebraska Wheat Board.

Follow USW on Facebook and Twitter for pictures and updates about the delegation’s travels.