WGC Monthly Newsletter
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Visibility for YOU
NRA Show Trends
School Rules
Gluten Research
Free Marketing Materials
Register for our Conference
Whole Grains: Breaking Barriers
in Boston 
Nov. 9-11, 2014 
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An Oldways Family Program

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

Dear Whole Grains Council members,

What a pleasure to meet nearly forty WGC members at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago this week. Although we always appreciate the ability to work worldwide through email and phone, there's nothing like face-to-face contact to really connect -- and to learn more about your products and your needs as manufacturers and restaurateurs. See more about whole grain trends at the NRA show below!

Spotlight on Your Products - Don't Miss Out!
Our main reason in sending this newsletter to you every month is to tell you how you can squeeze the most value out of your WGC membership, by participating in our many opportunities for media and consumer visibility. So we'll dive right in, with a reminder of the two big opportunities that are coming up next:

Whole Grains Month. September is Whole Grains Month and we're running a consumer promotion called "Make the Switch." We'll be featuring a delicious variety of whole grain recipes created by active food and health bloggers, and inviting consumers to vote on their favorites, with great cash (and food) prizes for the bloggers and the consumers. Click here to download full details on how your company can participate. 

Whole Grains: Breaking Barriers. Our next WGC conference will be held in Boston on Nov. 9-11, 2014. Because of the timely and controversial topics on our agenda, a great group of high-level media have already committed to attend, including journalists from Parents, SHAPE, FoodNetwork, Food & Nutrition, Prevention, FoodNavigator, Milling & Baking News, Web MD, and The NY Times.  For much less than the cost of a print ad, your company can be a conference sponsor, and get your message in front of these key consumer and trade publications. Full sponsor details here.

For both these opportunities, contact Cynthia Harriman ([email protected] or 617-896-4820). And remember, even if your marketing budget is scraping the barrel, we have many low-cost (or no-cost) ways you can get involved in both Whole Grains Month and the conference, so let's talk.

A big thanks to "Make the Switch" sponsors Roman Meal, Bimbo (Arnold, Brownberry, Orowheat), and Bob's Red Mill, and to "Breaking Barriers" conference sponsors King Arthur Flour and Bob's Red Mill (Event sponsors), Riviana, General Mills, Bay State Milling and Weetabix/Barbara's (Benefactors) and Carl Brandt/Mestmacher (supporter).
Whole Grain Trends at National Restaurant Show


With 1,800 exhibitors in three halls, this year's National Restaurant Association (NRA) show attracted more than 40,000 attendees. Walking (and eating!) our way around the show floor, we noticed three important trends related to whole grains:

1) More grains, more products. Whole grain momentum isn't just about whole wheat bread and crackers anymore (though both of these were abundant at the show). We're delighted to see much more being done with intact grains -- like the cold Wild Rice Salad in Riviana's booth, and the warm Marinated Mushrooms with Einkorn in American Roland's booth just to name a few. One up-and-coming grain is millet, mentioned by some companies for its price point (one-eighth the cost of popular quinoa) and for its non-allergenic impact.

2) Gluten-free still strong. A very large number of companies highlighted their products as gluten-free. (We even passed one maker of pots and pans who was -- albeit humorously -- pitching his products as "low sodium, gluten free, non-GMO" to hit all the current buttons.) Will this continue? See related health study update below on gluten.

3) Influence of new school rules. As of July 1, virtually all grain products sold for school meals must be "whole grain-rich" -- which means at least half the grain in the product must be whole grain. Companies that offer products for school foodservice were exhibiting a wide range of tasty whole grain options for schools, which will then potentially be available for general foodservice or retail.


WGC Director of Food & Nutrition Strategies Cynthia Harriman documented the rapid rise in whole grain momentum in a "Healthy Menus" panel presentation to show attendees (email her for a copy), then later in the show paired up with WGC Advisory Board Chair Chef Michael Holleman for a lively hands-on grain tasting session. In this "Foodamental" session, participants tasted twelve different grains, watched Chef Mike make a Massaged Kale and Greenwheat Freekeh® salad, and experimented with making their own whole grain salads. Both these events were excellent opportunities to make the potential of whole grains in restaurants more widely known. 

Smart Snack Rules in US Schools
In addition to new whole grain requirements for U.S. school meals, snacks sold in schools are required to be healthier as of July 1, 2014. Makes sense to us: learning good eating habits probably affects your life even more than many academic subjects! 

Some WGC member companies have asked us questions about the new Smart Snacks in Schools standards, so we've updated the Schools Page on the WGC site to include all the latest information, including links to key resources for the Smart Snacks program - and to a Smart Snacks Calculator where you can figure out if your products qualify. 
Newer Research Questions Gluten Sensitivity 
The gluten proteins in wheat, barley, rye and triticale cause health problems in people with celiac disease, a documented medical condition which affects 1-2% of people. In the last few years, researchers have attempted to document another group of people who may also need to avoid gluten for valid medical reasons. Their condition has recently been called "non-celiac gluten sensitivity" or NCGS for short.

Recently, Dr. Peter Gibson, widely hailed for documenting NCGS in a 2011 study, has carried out further research, with a level of rigor difficult to attain in any nutrition study, and has found "absolutely no specific response to gluten" in subjects with self-reported gluten intolerance. This isn't to say that the people in question aren't experiencing health issues - but rather, to question whether something other than gluten may be at the root of their problems. Read about the issue in an article here.

Free Trade Show Materials for WGC Members
Just a reminder: the WGC can supply you with Whole Grain Stamp table signs or with "Just Ask for Whole Grains" buttons or stickers for your next trade show. And it's all free, included in your membership (unless you need HUGE amounts, in which case we'll supply them at cost).

Check out the options and contact Mallory Cushman (617-896-4832 or [email protected]) to place your order well ahead of your next trade show.


Best regards,

Cynthia Harriman
Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies

Mallory Cushman
Stamp Program Manager

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