Demand for cookies, savory biscuits and snack bars in Mexico has grown significantly since 2016 and now accounts for 10% of wheat foods consumption in Mexico. The functional properties of U.S. soft red winter wheat (SRW) are well-suited to commercial production of these products, with relatively low import freight costs to our southern neighbor.
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Mexico City successfully uses technical support to add value to SRW, and other U.S. wheat class, imports for its customers. In July 2021, USW used Market Access Program (MAP) funds to conduct a four-session, virtual cookie production seminar series for a large manufacturer near Mexico City. Thirty managers from production, innovation, process engineering, quality control, and other technical departments participated in the sessions led by a Spanish-speaking consultant. Conducted over several days, the seminar included “homework” and in-plant projects.
USW Mexico City followed up with the company in January 2022. It reported significant process improvements as a result of the USW seminar. For example, the company was able to better control weight variation in its wire-cut cookie production that is saving about $25,000 per year. Improved release of rotary-molded cookies has reduced production losses. And with a better understanding of the functionality of ingredients like flour from SRW wheat, process control and baking, the company has reduced finished cookie deformities.
Value-added activity like this seminar, made possible through MAP, was very timely as U.S. wheat export prices kept rising through 2021 and well into 2022. Yet as of late April 2022, sales of SRW to Mexico for 2021/22 were 830,000 metric tons (MT). That is more than 250,000 MT more than in 2020/21 and the most SRW imports by Mexico since 2018/19. The return to SRW farmers and the U.S. export supply system from Mexican imports is about $270 million.