WGC Monthly Newsletter
In This Issue
Sampling Day Plans
Conference Nov 9-11
Dietary Guidelines
FDLI Food Week
African Heritage & Health Week
Quick Links

An Oldways Family Program

Oldways is a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, inspiring good health 
through cultural food traditions and lifestyles.
January 2014

Dear Whole Grains Council members,

The WGC is starting the new year in fine form, with an appearance this week on NBC's Today Show. The segment, which clarifies a range of nutrition-confusion questions, praises the Whole Grain Stamp as a trusty solution. We love the way the Stamp graphic was featured throughout the piece. Click here to watch the clip of the Whole Grain Stamp on the Today Show. 

In other media news, we've added a new "Myths Busted" page to the Newsroom section of the WGC website. This page may have just the answers you need on the questions consumers and the media ask most about wheat, gluten, and other hot topics. If you have additional issues and answers you'd like to see us add to this page, contact Cynthia Harriman ([email protected] or 617-896-4820).

Whole Grain Sampling Day is April 2
We are on our way to a very big Whole Grain Sampling Day (WGSD) this year, so it's the main focus of this month's member email. Our goal: to convince YOU to reap the benefits of participation. WGSD -- always the first Wednesday in April -- is a day when companies everywhere run clever promotions and events to make it easier for everyone to sample more whole grains. Click here to get the big picture.

*** Who's Already Partnering with the WGC ***

Major partners have already committed to WGSD promotions.
Google will be serving special whole grain dishes and samples at their nearly 60 workplace cafés, and will be working with their suppliers to offer dazzling cooking demos and giveaways on WGSD. Restaurant chains, including McDonald's, Rubio's, and California Pizza Kitchen will be promoting their whole grain options through social media, and Genghis Grill has woven WGSD into their very cool Health Kwest Challenge. 

Partner HealthyDiningFinder has been working with us for months, helping with outreach to restaurants, and is heavily promoting WGSD on their consumer website (HealthyDiningFinder.com) and their trade site (RestaurantNutrition.com). AICR (the American Institute of Cancer Research) is revving up their whole grain educational efforts, by distributing a new infographic and posting a slideshow on lesser-known grains. The week of WGSD, they'll feature whole grains in their weekly recipe email to 50,000 consumers. We're also cross-promoting with the National Restaurant Association. More potential partners are signing on every week -- including some food trucks (very cool!). 

*** We'll Help You Reach Foodservice ***
Another WGSD partner is Barilla, offering a free case of whole grain pasta to qualifying restaurants participating in WGSD. Would your company like to offer free samples to restaurants that could become potential customers? We're excited to announce that WGSD partner HealthyDiningFinder has offered to publicize the Barilla offer and any similar free or discounted offers from WGC members in their weekly restaurant newsletter, which has 10,000 trade readers. If you would like to offer restaurant/foodservice samples, contact Danita Boyce ([email protected] or 617-896-4880). 

*** We'll Help You Reach Supermarket RDs ***
Two sister programs of the WGC (the Oldways Nutrition Exchange and the Supermarket Dietitian Symposium) are in regular contact with the vast majority of supermarket dietitians in the U.S. If your company would like to offer samples to supermarkets for their WGSD promotions, contact Mallory Cushman ([email protected] or 617-896-4832) to learn more about our supermarket matchmaking service. While this matchmaking service can be very successful, we encourage you to have realistic expectations, as stores have widely different policies for sampling, and generally will only sample products already in inventory. That said, the benefits can be great, so it's worth a try. Contact Mallory today.

*** We'll Help You Reach Bloggers **

As we did last year, we've invited 20 popular bloggers to partner with us as Whole Grain Ambassadors. We'll be sending them Goody Boxes of assorted WGC member products for them to talk about on their blogs, build creative recipes around, and give away to their readers. Last year's bloggers offered another great level of visibility for Whole Grain Sampling Day (take a look!), so don't miss your chance this time around. If you'd like to participate, contact Mallory Cushman ([email protected] or 617-896-4832) today to make arrangements to provide 40 samples of your product (20 for the bloggers and 20 for their giveaways.)

*** How YOUR Company Can Maximize WGSD ***

As a starting point, we hope that all 372 Whole Grains Council members will be featuring Whole Grain Sampling Day on social media on April 2. It's also super-easy to simply highjack an existing marketing campaign or product launch, and add extra visibility to it by making your plans part of WGSD: e.g. "Acme Corp will celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day by introducing new Whole Grain Toasties." And then, for companies that really want to step up to the plate, there is of course the option of a special contest, or giveaway, or other activity designed specifically for WGSD.

What will YOU be doing? Our consumer PR starts the first week of February, so contact Danita (617-896-4880) or sign up on the WGC website with your plans. The sooner we know your plans, the more visibility and free publicity we can give you. And, of course, the more "wow factor"your plans have, the more likely they'll be singled out in the media. Let the creative juices flow!

Hot Tip: We have ideas on our WGSD page under Learn How, plus great resources for partners, including graphics and sample Tweets.
Save the Date: WGC Conference Nov. 9-11, in Boston


As your company develops and markets whole grain products, there are key questions you need to know the answers to, such as: 

  • How are consumer attitudes to whole grains evolving?
  • What's the best way to reach supermarket dietitians?
  • How can we combat "anti-grain" fads with solid science?
  • Why is an understanding of glycemic impact essential for product development
  • Where is gluten-free trending and why?
  • What strategies really work, for marketing whole grains?

You can get the answers to all these questions and more -- in just 48 hours -- at our next conference. We're calling it Whole Grains: Breaking Barriers, and it will be held in Boston November 9 through 11, 2014. We'll start late Sunday afternoon (perfect for those who would like to combine this event with a visit to Boston's historic sites), then pack an incredible amount of information into Monday's sessions, and wrap up after lunch on Tuesday. You'll be back in the office in time to apply all your new knowledge the same week!


As always, the first registration from each WGC member company is free so the value is outstanding. We'll send you a dedicated email about the conference, with a link to our registration website, sometime in February. 


Mark your calendar now, and make plans. In the meantime, get preliminary information at these links: 

Information for sponsors
Who comes to WGC conferences and why

Sneak Peek at 2015 Dietary Guidelines
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years, and the next edition will be in 2015. Already a group of nutrition experts known as the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has been meeting for months, reviewing the latest research. We listened in on their deliberations last week, and are pleased to report that it appears likely that current recommendations to "make at least half your grains whole" will be carried forward. You can read our summary of last week's meeting on the Oldways Table blog.


WGC Member Discount for FDLI Food Week
Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food & Nutrition Strategies for Oldways and the Whole Grains Council, will be speaking on the success of the Whole Grain Stamp on February 10 at Food Week 2014 in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Food & Drug Law Institute (FDLI). You can learn more about the conference here; WGC members can use the promo code FOODPRTNR to get a 15% registration discount. 


African Heritage & Health Week
As always, we like to end with Oldways news, to make you more aware of the many sister programs of the WGC. February 1-7 is African Heritage & Health Week  It's the perfect time to discover the sensory delights of African food -- using our "Dine Around Town" list for ideas. Look for traditional African whole grains like teff, millet and sorghum on the menus!

While African Heritage & Health Week focuses on a single week, our A Taste of African Heritage cooking classes run throughout the year, motivating African Americans to improve their health by connecting to the whole foods of their heritage. In fact, one of the curriculum's six lessons focuses totally on whole grains. And it's working! In the program's first year, participants reported eating more veggies, enjoying more plant-based meals per week, losing weight, and seeing improved blood pressure. Let's hear it for Health through Heritage.

Best regards,

Cynthia Harriman
Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies

Mallory Cushman
Stamp Program Manager

Danita Boyce
Program Manager

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