The Caribbean region, excluding Cuba, is home to 28.8 million people in more than 25 island nations. Exportable U.S. wheat supplies enjoy a strategic, competitive advantage in these nearby countries and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) considers the Caribbean a U.S. wheat growth market.
Efficient use of export market development program funding is very important to support continued growth in the region. USW saw an opportunity to increase that efficiency using incremental funding from the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program.
USW used ATP funds to conduct a study of wheat-food consumption in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad-Tobago, the largest Caribbean markets. The objective was to identify end-product growth potential, the number of companies in each end-product segment, flour quality specifications and manufacturer expectations for growth trends in the bread, confectionary, cookie and pasta segments.
Conducted between November 2021 and March 2022, the study found that bread represents nearly 40% of total wheat product consumption and crackers are considered the healthiest wheat-based product in those countries. Pasta and cookies are also consumed regularly in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica. In Trinidad-Tobago, pasta, cookie and roti (flatbread) are the primary wheat products consumed after bread. The study also identified the Dominican Republic as having the largest growth potential, followed by Haiti, Trinidad-Tobago, and Jamaica.
USW judged the study quality to be excellent. Thanks to ATP funding, the USW/Mexico City team now has new, very reliable evidence that technical support aimed at increasing demand for U.S. hard red winter, hard red spring, and soft red winter wheat should focus on bread, pasta, and snack food markets in those Caribbean countries.
At more than 786,000 metric tons, and valued at about $292 million, U.S. wheat commercial sales in 2021/22 are the most in one marketing year since 2016/17, benefitting farmers and the Gulf export industry in the southern and northern Plains and the Southeast.