News & Insights


Stay informed with the latest MRL, Food Additive and Company news from around the world.

BCI Staff Visit Washington State Wine Commission
March 1, 2019

BCI staff visited the Washington State Wine Commission for a presentation on Washington State wine and guided tasting by the Commission’s president, Steve Warner. Steve taught BCI staff about all of the factors—including climate, geology, and winemaker talent—that make Washington State a premium wine-producing region making a higher percentage of 90+ rated wines in the past five years than Italy, Spain, or California.

The group was able to taste this quality for themselves through a guided tasting.  BCI’s marketing team works closely with the Washington State Wine Commission on their international marketing programs, helping to grow exports for the Washington State wine industry.

Sarah Gelpi Judges Culinary Competition at UpperCrust in Mumbai
December 10, 2018

India is an emerging market for the U.S. cranberry industry, and BCI works with the Cranberry Marketing Committee to increase awareness and utilization of U.S. cranberries through a mix of promotional, educational, and trade relations activities.  As a part of these efforts, CMC leads a USDA-funded Global Broad-Based Initiative project in India in collaboration with California Walnuts, USA Pears, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, and Washington Apples to promote the use of these U.S. agricultural products as premium ingredients. 

At the UpperCrust Food and Wine show this weekend in Mumbai, BCI Marketing team-member Sarah Gelpi served as a judge for a culinary and mixology competition during which these products were featured in dishes and cocktails made by budding and professional chefs and mixologists.  Sarah said: “The creativity in using our U.S. agricultural products—including the fusion into Indian cuisine—was great to witness and to taste.  Activities like these reinforce the idea that U.S. ingredients like cranberries are versatile, and can complement Indian flavors well.  And while India does have a reputation for being difficult to penetrate, the market potential is evident.  With a growing middle-class, solid economic growth, and increasing demand for healthier foods, the market is ripe for development for products like U.S. cranberries.”   
Melissa Melgar Joins BCI
November 7, 2018

Melissa Melgar joined Bryant Christie Inc. in November 2018 as a Financial and Grant Management Assistant. Her primary role is supporting BCI’s marketing staffShe has six years of administrative and operational support experience in both public and private sectors, including an internship with the World Affairs Council of Seattle. Professionally she has enjoyed working with federal and state grant process, managing cross-sector relations, and program management in various global affairs settings.

Melissa is a graduate from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor’s in Political Science-International Relations and a minor in Business Administration. As an undergraduate, Melissa spent a year in Sweden where she participated in a study exchange at Uppsala University, learned Swedish, and coordinated the 2015 Uppsala Model United Nations conference.
Matt Lantz Attends the Commodity Expert Working Group (CEG) on Hops in Žalec, Slovenia
October 30, 2018

The European Union is proposing to eliminate certain crop protection products used in hop production. Those proposals, dominated this week’s discussions at Commodity Expert Working Group (CEG) on Hops in Žalec, Slovenia. Matt Lantz, Bryant Christie’s VP for Global Access, is the only American member of the European CEG.

At the meeting, Lantz provided the European hop industry with a list of nine hop crop protection products that could be removed in the EU within three years. One is quinoxyfen (Quintec), a chemical that attacks a serious hop disease called powdery mildew. It could be removed from the EU next year, and while that would make it unavailable to EU hop growers, it would also effectively remove it from the US market because hops treated with it could not be exported to the EU. That could leave the 2019 hop crop vulnerable to this hop cone destroying mildew.

“The US and Europeans hop industries know they’ve got to encourage harmonizing technical standards’ Lantz said, “And they’ve got to present unified responses to EU proposals. BCI is helping with both.”

Shown here: Matt Lantz (at center), Dr. Kugel from Germany and Dr. Radišek from Slovenia enjoying the world’s only public beer fountain in Žalec, Slovenia.

Kristen Ford Joins BCI
October 22, 2018

Kristen Ford joined Bryant Christie Inc.’s Sacramento office in June 2018 as the firm’s Accounting Manager and Grants Finance Assistant. Split between these roles, she manages BCI’s main business finances and assists the federal grant accounting staff including client financial accounting and audit preparation.

Prior to joining BCI, Kristen worked as the Grants Manager/Finance Manager for Farmer Veteran Coalition where she gained experience in her work with USDA grants.

As a licensed customs broker, Kristen ran her own brokerage business for over 12 years, specializing in the food and beverage trade.

BCI Staff Tour Blue Diamond Packing Plant
October 18, 2018

During the first week of October, BCI’s Sacramento team visited Blue Diamond Growers for a tour of its Sacramento plant.  The BCI team was able to watch as Blue Diamond prepared its signature flavored snack almonds, from the sorting of raw almonds, roasting and the application of Blue Diamond’s world-famous flavors, all the way through to packaging in the iconic Blue Diamond cans.  BCI also discussed the almond industry and international marketing efforts with Blue Diamond’s International Consumer team.

The visit provided an excellent opportunity to witness—in real time—the transformation of one of California’s most important crops into a value-added product with international reach.  Such experiences provide real-world context for the work that BCI does every day to assist agricultural groups to develop and sustain international trade.  This visit was organized as part of Bryant Christie’s BCXplore (BCX) program, designed to support leadership development and team building. 

Jakob Hofso Joins BCI
October 16, 2018

Jakob Hofso joined Bryant Christie Inc. in September 2018 as an International Marketing Assistant. He assists members of the marketing team in the preparation of export strategies, market research, client communications, and grant writing related to USDA export assistance programs.

Jakob graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Economics and a minor in English. He also speaks Spanish. Before joining Bryant Christie, Jakob worked as an intern for a regional economic development group.

BCI Attends the Women in Agribusiness Summit
October 5, 2018

Last week Sarah Gelpi Hooker, a BCI marketing business unit team-member, attended the Women in Agribusiness Summit in Denver, Colorado.  This annual event brings together women from across the U.S. to discuss a wide range of issues affecting U.S. agriculture and women in particular.  This year’s event drew more than 750 attendees from over 40 states and included executives, marketers, producers, and researchers, among others. 

At the summit, Sarah attended sessions on international trade, marketing strategy, and innovations in agriculture—all with an eye towards developments in the sector with the potential to affect BCI clients.  Overall, the three-day event provided BCI with an excellent opportunity to share with and learn from women leaders in the agricultural community.

BCI Works on U.S. NGO Registration in China
October 2, 2018


James C. Christie met with USDA/FAS Administrator Isley and a group of FAS officials and cooperators in Hong Kong earlier this month.  Topics during this discussion included tariffs, non-governmental organization (NGO) registration, and doing business in China.

Later in September, James then traveled to Shanghai and Beijing to further efforts towards an NGO registration for one of BCI’s clients. It is a cumbersome process that can take months and requires active management thereafter.  “While I don’t believe agricultural and food marketing efforts are the primary target of the law,” James said, “The Chinese government is actively pursuing registration of all foreign NGOs operating in China.”

The Foreign NGO Law came into effect in China in January 2017.  It mandates that foreign NGOs must register with China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) or its provincial level equivalent before conducting activities within mainland China. If a foreign NGO wishes to carry out single activities in the market, it can file for a temporary activity permit, but even this process can be difficult and time consuming.  In both cases, foreign NGOs must coordinate with a domestic Chinese organization in addition to the MPS.

According to the law, foreign NGOs are permitted to work in economics, education, science, culture, health, sports, environmental protection, poverty, and disaster relief but “must not endanger China’s national unity, security, or ethnic unity; and must not harm China’s national interests, societal public interest,” or engage in or fund for-profit, political, or religious activities. 

Please contact Bryant Christie Inc. for more information.

James C. Christie Attends AsiaFruit Congress in Hong Kong
October 2, 2018

BCI President James C. Christie attended the Asia Fruit Logistica exhibition in Hong Kong on September 3, 2018.  While there, he spoke with U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service officials regarding issues that affect BCI’s agricultural clients, including tariffs, marketing, and non-governmental organization (NGO) registration in China.

Asia Fruit Logistica is a leading trade show for the international fresh fruit and vegetable business. The show and associated AsiaFruit Congress is held annually in September and is considered the gateway to the Hong Kong market as well as the rest of Asia.

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