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Earth Globe clip art highThe American Peanut Council's active participation in the USDA/FAS Cooperator Program began in 1978. APC on behalf of the U.S. peanut industry and in coordination and collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has undertaken market development activities throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Russia and North and South America.

The American Peanut Council undertakes its international market development program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural  Service (USDA/FAS). The programs are funded through the FAS Cooperator and Market Access Program and other related programs. Each year, the U.S. peanut industry comes together to review and revise an international strategic plan or Unified Export Strategy (UES). The UES is then submitted to FAS for review, approval, and funding. The APC, on behalf of the U.S. peanut industry, is the contract holder and administrator of these funds.

With the market promotion funds, the U.S. peanut industry has been able to develop new markets for U.S. peanut exports, to maintain existing markets in the face of increasing global competition, and to provide trade and technical support for U.S. peanut customers around the world. The U.S. peanut industry has historically exported 20-25% of its crops so maintaining a strong export market is an important priority. Many international companies use the Quality USA Logo on their packages to identify the origin of their great tasting peanuts. For more information on USDA/FAS programs, visit: http://www.fas.usda.gov/

Programs have included:  

  • Extensive joint promotional activities for high value U.S. processed products;
  • Extensive generic promotional activities highlighting the health and nutritional benefits of peanuts as a daily dietary item;
  • Branded promotional efforts with processors of intermediate value for U.S. peanuts in foreign markets;
  • Trade seminars and trade shows
  • Generic campaigns in traditional and new markets;
  • Market surveys and evaluations
  • Technical trade servicing to include issues such as aflatoxin testing, sampling and analytical methodologies, quality factors, import restrictions, etc.
  • Monitoring trade issues and seeking resolution of the same.

While the APC has discontinued its branded programs due to regulatory changes made in the program, the industry works in concert with peanut processing companies and leading customers of U.S. peanuts in key markets. APC works closely with European peanut councils in the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands, particularly on technical and trade issues. APC also serves as the only origin representative to the European Snack Association's Nut Working Group. The U.S. peanut industry also undertakes programs in Mexico, Canada, Japan, and a special humanitarian initiative called "Peanut Butter for the Hungry." (www.peanutbutterforthehungry.org)

Countries where APC activities have taken place:

North & South America: Canada, Mexico, Brazil

Western Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Eastern Europe: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia

Middle East: GCC, Saudi Arabia, UAE

Asia: China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand

Member Spotlight

  • The Virginia Diner

    An interview with Christine Epperson, President of the Virginia Diner

    APC: This year the Virginia Diner will be celebrating its 85th Anniversary

    The Virginia DinerCE: The Virginia Diner is an important part of Virginia history and there are several special events being planned to mark the anniversary.  There will be two open houses, one from April 25-27 and the major one will be from September 25-28.  We will feature our peanut products and the food for which we have become famous – chicken, ham, biscuits and peanut pie. Special guests and elected officials will be in attendance. Make plans to attend the 85th Anniversary! 

    APC: The Virginia Diner started out as a small diner in a railcar in 1929, when did peanuts become a major part of the business?

    CE: The Diner has been cooking and selling peanuts since the late 1940s.  The peanut part of the business grew out of the Diner, as travelers requested peanuts be shipped to them.  My parents bought the business in 1976. At that time, the mail order part of the business was mostly fourth quarter seasonal with everything still being done in the Diner kitchen utilizing many of the restaurant employees.  It was in the mid-1980s before we had full time staff hired for the peanut side of the business. Today, we provide sample bags of peanuts for diners in the restaurant. The Diner is a whole entity, you can’t have one without the other.

    APC: Is the mail order peanut business larger than the restaurant business, and when did this occur?

    CE: The peanut side is about 80% of our sales now.  Peanuts became a larger business in the mid-1980s. We printed our first "catalog" in 1984. Prior to that, we mailed letters with order forms and yellow envelope –sized cards with our products on them.

    APC: What kinds of peanuts do you use and what are some of your top selling products?

    Virginia Diner Peanut PieCE: We use only Super Extra Large peanuts and we have a production facility for most of our products. The salted peanuts are our best sellers, followed by the double dipped chocolate peanuts and butter toasted peanuts.

    APC: Are Virginia Diner peanuts sold nationwide?

    CE: Yes, but pockets of the business are in large metropolitan areas. We sell to resellers (particularly on the west coast due to shipping costs), internet sales, corporate gifts, home buyers and fundraising groups.

    APC: The American Heart Association has awarded your peanuts the "Heart-Check Food Certification". How has this impacted sales? 

    CE: This is very new and exciting and we are the only peanut company thus far to receive this.  There has been a lot of interest at wholesale shows, but it is too soon to tell.

    APC: Who developed your tag line, "A Legend in a Nutshell since 1929", which your firm has lived up to?

    CE: My father, now deceased, was a visionary.  He came up with the tag line, as well as first naming our product gourmet. He received a phone call from Moscow back in 1977. The ambassador wanted our Virginia Super Extra Large Salted Peanuts shipped to him for a banquet.  My father said that if our peanuts were being served alongside caviar and champagne, then by God we were gourmet! He was also the first among the peanut companies to lead the way to the world wide web.  We were on CompuServe in 1993, DOS, and then Windows 3.1.

    APC: How has APC membership helped your business?

    CE: Membership has given us a wonderful source of information. Helped us reverse the decision to keep peanuts out of the Boy Scout Jamboree in DC (where we sold).  It provides a resource for vendors and to our customers.  Membership also provides us with educational materials, and funding for the Ag schools which assist us with various projects.  And it has helped us prepare a response regarding peanut allergies in the schools when we had a school division threatening to not use our fundraiser.

    APC: Anything else you would like to add?

    GC: We are the oldest continually run roadside Diner in Virginia.

    For more information, visit: www.vadiner.com

    Virginia Diner, Inc.
    322 W. Main Street
    Wakefield, VA 23888

     

     

  • Mississippi Growers AssociationAn interview with Dr. Malcolm Broome, Executive Director, Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.