The Whole Grains Council (WGC) recently hosted a three-day conference in Portland, Ore., entitled Whole Grains: the New Norm. The event featured a tour of Bob’s Red Mill, a foodservice workshop on how to incorporate whole grains into menus, as well as several education sessions on topics ranging from social norms and behavior to how grains are grown to promoting whole grains to children.
“Whole grains are the hottest trend in sliced bread,” said Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies, Whole Grains Council and Oldways, during her opening remarks. For the first time, whole wheat commercial- aisle bread edged out white bread in total sales.
Sales of natural products with the Whole Grains stamp grew 11.1 percent in 2010 to $687.3 million compared to 2009, said Bobbi Leahy, director of sales for SPINS Inc., a sales data company. Of those sales, 12 percent were from bread and 8 percent were from snack bars. “Consumers vote with their dollars and sales show they are embracing WGC products,” Leahy said.