This is the mission the Whole Grains Council has tasked itself with, and highlighted during its recent conference hosted jointly with Oldways in San Antonio. Since 2010, roughly 50 percent of consumers have ditched white bread for whole wheat or whole grain varieties, said Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways. Only one out of three loaves of bread sold is white bread, added David Sheluga, director of consumer insights, ConAgra Mills. Most consumers are purchasing whole wheat compared to other varieties, most likely due to the fact that whole grain has a “harsher” image in consumers’ minds than whole wheat, he said.
Jennifer Ignacio, nutrition communications manager for Compass Group North America, outlined several ways her company is getting the whole grains message out. In its cafeterias, Compass now uses whole wheat burger buns unless students requeste white, and during September, whole grains month, it also held a “Guess the Grains” contest. A variety of grains were placed in bowls and students were asked to identify what type they were. Most could name 50 percent of the grains, she said.
The Whole Grains Stamp, which was introduced in 2003, is now on almost 8,000 products internationally, said Karen Mansur, program manager, Oldways/Whole Grains Council. Of those products sporting the stamp, 36 percent qualify for the 100 percent whole grains stamp, which means all of the grains in the product are whole grain and the product contains a minimum of 16 g of whole grains per serving. Of the remaining products, 32 percent use the 16 g or more per serving stamp and 32 percent display the up to 16 g per serving stamp.