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Wisconsin Business Excels in the Asian Market with Help from USDA’s Market Access Program

With assistance from USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and working with Food Export-Midwest, a Milwaukee-based company has expanded its access to the Asian market for its brand of specialty cookies. Nikki’s Cookies & Confections has been baking a full line of shortbreads, chocolate layered cookies and holiday specialty products for 25 years. The company’s export success was recently recognized in the National Export Strategy Report, an annual update on the National Export Initiative progress. Under this initiative President Obama set a goal of doubling overall U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

Nikki’s Cookies are a regular fixture at international trade shows.

Nikki’s Cookies are a regular fixture at international trade shows.

In 2007, Nikki’s Cookies started to use MAP funding to promote its cookies in Japanese stores. As a result, sales to Japan totaled more than $418,000 over the past four years. In 2009, the company decided to expand its reach in Asian markets, exploring growth in China.

“In 2009, we took advantage of program funds to help with the cost of conducting in-store promotion for our cookies in China,” said Nikki Taylor, owner of Nikki’s Cookies. “We made actual sales of $30,000 in 2009 and $70,000 in 2010.”

This new export market is doing a lot more than just increasing the company’s bottom line—it also impacts Wisconsin’s local economy. The company hired one employee as a result of the new sales to Japan and has increased its sourcing of U.S. bulk products, including Wisconsin butter, flour, sugar, and other raw ingredients, by 15 percent as a result of the increased export sales to China and Japan.

USDA administers MAP to share costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities. The program provides cost-share assistance to nonprofit U.S. trade organizations and small-sized entities to help create, expand and maintain foreign markets for U.S. agricultural commodities and products. Each year, MAP helps launch and expand sales of U.S. agricultural, fish and forest products overseas, benefiting all regions of the country through increased exports and rural job expansion.

To learn more about USDA’s market development programs, visit

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