Whole grain consumption among Americans is up 20 percent since 2005, according to the Whole Grains Council (WGC), Boston. The council revealed this and other consumer insights about whole grains, during its Make Half Your Grains Whole conference held recently in Alexandria, Va.
A double-digit increase in whole grain consumption is compelling and indicates whole grains are moving into the mainstream, according to NPD Group’s Joe Derochowski, who presented data from his firm’s National Eating Trends survey, publicly released for the first time at the conference. Still, consumers are enjoying on average only 11 percent of their grains as whole grains, he added.
This falls short of the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ recommendation that Americans get at least half their grain intake from whole grains. The guidelines are based on numerous studies showing that those who consume more whole grains may reduce their risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes and some cancers, while also improving weight control.
The WGC developed the Whole Grains Stamp in January 2005, which today is used on 2,500 products in seven countries, according to a WGC press release. The packaging symbol shows consumers which foods contain significant amounts of whole grain.
The conference, which was organized by the WGC and non-profit Oldways organization, drew government policymakers, health professionals and manufacturers. “When manufacturers create delicious whole grain products, government policies support them and the health/non-profit sector popularizes them with creative and innovative programs, we’ve learned that we can move the consumer needle toward enjoying healthier foods like whole grains,” said Oldways President K. Dun Gifford.