One year after the 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommended Americans increase their whole grain consumption to at least three servings a day, sales and production of whole grains have climbed steadily. Whole grain bread sales, for example, are up 18 percent, according to the Whole Grains Council, which organized the conference with Oldways Preservation Trust.
The new challenge for bakeries and others in the whole grains business will be maintaining the momentum gained by the USDA's recommendations. The conference addressed how food manufacturers, purveyors and government organizations have encouraged whole grain consumption. Currently, only 13 percent of Americans consume the recommended three servings, said Eric Hentges, Executive Director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion.
To help consumers identify whole grain foods, the Whole Grains Council developed stamps for food manufacturers and restaurants to promote their whole grain products. Nearly 600 products now carry the stamp, reported Cynthia Harriman, the council's director of food and nutrition strategies. Breads and bagel products carry the stamp more than any other food group.