WGC Monthly Newsletter
In This Issue
What's a WG Food?
Donate Your Products
WGC Chefs in Schools
Web Traffic Way Up
Work with Oldways
Quick Links
An Oldways Family Program

Oldways is a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, with a mission to guide people to good health through heritage.
May 2013

Dear Whole Grains Council members,

Summer is on the horizon. We're making sure to get this out to you before you all scatter for Memorial Day weekend. Make sure to use whole grain buns with whatever you're serving at your cookout this weekend!
AACCI Characterization of a Whole Grain Food
Breaking news this week: AACC International (formerly the American Association of Cereal Chemists) has come out with its much-deliberated
characterization of a whole grain food. There's widespread international agreement on the definition of a whole grain ingredient (one that has all its bran, germ and endosperm in their original proportions) but many conflicting standards for how much whole grain a food must have before it can be considered a whole grain food. AACCI has now added one more option to the standards mix: "A whole grain product must contain 8 grams or more of whole grain per 30 grams of product."

This new option reinforces the near-universal recognition of 8 grams of whole grain as the credible threshold for a significant amount of whole grain -- a standard that the Whole Grain Stamp helped establish in 2005. It also aligns fairly well with one standard in the US dietary guidelines (8 grams per ounce equivalent). It lends itself to international use by avoiding any connection with "servings" which vary widely in different countries, and could also be useful in standardizing research on whole grains, which was one of AACCI's goals.

However, one serious issue is that many good whole grain foods won't qualify for this standard - even when all their grains are whole grains and they contain at least 8 grams of whole grain. Heat-and-eat grains are one category. Dry oatmeal qualifies; but if you sell it cooked, its weight increases five-fold so the water weight disqualifies it for the AACCI option. Ready-to-eat combination foods are another category that this AACCI approach ignores. Healthy foods such as "Broccoli, Spinach and Green Lentils Vegetable Pie" -- with a whole grain crust containing 15 grams of whole grain -- wouldn't qualify. Nor would soups, whole grain beverages, pizzas with a whole grain crust, and many other mixed dishes full of whole grains.

What does this mean for you, as a manufacturer of whole grain foods? Nothing, immediately. AACCI's new "characterization" has no legal or regulatory authority. (In fact, that's why AACCI decided to call it a characterization rather than a definition.) However, FDA has in the past looked to AACCI and other credible organizations when it makes regulatory decisions, so take a look at your product portfolio. If you see that some of your products wouldn't meet this standard - and don't have a "good reason" like those cited above - ask yourself: could we reformulate to add more whole grain?

See the WGC blog for more details and if you have any questions about the new AACCI "characterization" of a whole grain food, contact Cynthia Harriman (617-896-4820 or [email protected]).
WG Month: Good Grains for a Good Cause
As we mentioned in last month's newsletter, a program called Good Grains for a Good Cause will be the centerpiece of this year's Whole Grains Month activities. We'll be inviting people to nominate their favorite charity addressing food insecurity (a food pantry, soup kitchen, or other organization), then picking a winning organization to receive some additional help.

Your company can be involved in two ways:
  1. Have your company's charitable efforts featured on the WGC website
  2. Pledge prizes (whole grain products and/or money) for our winners.
Thanks to Carl Brandt (Mestemacher Bread) and Bob's Red Mill, our first two WGC members to step forward and offer to help. Contact Mallory Cushman ([email protected] or 617-896-4832) if you'd like to take part. This is your chance to do a good deed and get some good visibility for your company at the same time.

WGC Member Chefs Cook with Schools
Last October we ran our fifth (and final) Whole Grains Challenge. This time we focused entirely on schools, and, as Grand Prizes, offered a workshop for two winning schools' staff with a professional chef. These workshops just took place in April - and our chefs' reports warmed our hearts. "What an interested and passionate group! One woman drove 90 minutes from the Idaho border to take part. We love doing this kind of thing; it adds to our overall knowledge and understanding of what all school districts go through," said Chef Coleen Donnelly of Indian Harvest.

An enormous thanks to Chef Barbara Mattaliano of Goose Valley (L, above and in our blog) who shared her whole grain expertise with the St. Paul, MN schools, and to Chef Coleen (R, above) and Chef Mike Holleman from Indian Harvest who traveled to remote Baker City, OR, to inspire the staff there plus staff from neighboring districts. These two top schools and eight others also received a great mix of whole grain products from WGC members who generously supported the 2012 Challenge.
WGC Website Traffic Way Up
The ever-increasing momentum of whole grains is nowhere more evident than on the WGC website. We now get a quarter million pageviews every month! Comparing the past 30 days to the same period a year ago, visits are up 165%, with unique visitors up 172%. Traffic still comes mainly from the United States (61%), but visits from outside the US are mounting rapidly. 8% of our visitors now come from Canada, 6% from the UK, 4% each from Australia and India, and 1% each from New Zealand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Mexico, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, and Ireland.

If you sell your products in many countries but are only using the Stamp so far in the U.S., consider expanding your use of the Whole Grain Stamp. Remember, it's now being used in 41 countries around the world. Click here to download our 
Oldways Menu of Opportunities for Food Companies
We know you value your WGC membership and find that working with the Whole Grains Council offers cost-effective ways to promote your whole grain products and to get advice and resources about the whole grain market. We want you to be aware of other Oldways programs that might also be useful to your marketing goals: Email Cynthia Harriman if you'd like to receive an Oldways Menu of Opportunities with an overview of ways that companies can partner with Oldways.
Best regards,

Cynthia Harriman
Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies

Karen Mansur
Program Manager

Mallory Cushman
Program Assistant

... and from all of the Oldways and Whole Grains Council staff