Louisiana Rice Mill enters retail market

Louisiana Rice Mill, whose rice is best known in export and industrial markets, is putting its Supreme Rice brand on area grocery store shelves.

“I see this as the natural progression of the business,” Chief Executive Officer Bobby Hanks said in a news release. “Supreme Rice is well-known and well-respected in the area. Customers wanted to see Supreme Rice on the shelf, and we felt it was time to launch a retail brand of products,” he said.

The Crowley company started its retail distribution in the high rice-consuming area of south Louisiana and said it plans to grow the retail business over time.

Several large Fortune 500 companies already use Supreme Rice in their retail products.

Supreme will be marketing four retail rice varieties: White long grain, white medium grain, brown long grain and aromatic Louisiana white jasmine rice. Each variety is grown by Louisiana farmers, the company said.

The company’s bags of rice feature an image of the Louisiana Rice Mill, noting the 1936 founding of the company by Joseph DorĂ© and a photo and story of one of several local rice farmers.

Since acquiring his first mill in 1999, Hanks has overseen the growth of Louisiana Rice Mill. The rice milling operation employs more than 150 people and processes more than 600,000 tons of rough rice each year, with annual gross revenue of about $200 million, the company said.

Supreme Rice is distributed around the world to South America, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia. Much of the rice is also used in the industrial market in the United States, in products such as beer and cereal.