In This Issue
Supermarket Sampling
WG Sampling Day Plans
Web Traffic Up 34%
Harley's January Tip
US Dietary Guidelines
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 2015

Dear Whole Grains Council members,

We hope the new year is off to a good start for you. It's certainly started off well for whole grains! Our website has gotten great traffic, after a study linking whole grains with longer lives appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine, and after Details magazine predicted "There will be a wheat revolution in 2015." Even The Wall Street Journal said, "Everything from oatmeal to risotto is getting a whole lot tastier thanks to whole grains." 

All of these articles show that our work to push back against rampant misinformation on wheat and gluten is working - a fact illustrated by this cartoon, in a Parade magazine article on irrational fears last Sunday. The article advised readers to fear the flu, not Ebola; texting while driving, not air travel; domestic violence, not serial killers; and "not getting enough fiber, not gluten" among others.

Here's a toast to many more positive developments around whole grains in the next twelve months.

Last Call for Supermarket Sampling


Are you interested in having Supermarket Dietitians hand out your products on Whole Grain Sampling Day (April 1, 2015)? Tomorrow -- January 21-- is the last day to sign up for our Matchmaking List. Here's how it works: You tell Harley you're interested, and she'll send you a brief email form to fill out with details. Later this week we'll send a list, with specifics from interested manufacturers, to the 30 Supermarket RDs who are seeking sampling partners. Any RDs who are interested in your specific products will then contact you directly.

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. If your company would like to offer samples to supermarkets for their WGSD promotions, contact Harley Songin ([email protected] or 617-896-4832). The deadline is Wednesday, January 21. Do it NOW! 


For members based outside of the U.S.: Consider approaching supermarkets in your own locale, to arrange your own sampling opportunities on April 1.


What are YOUR Company's Plans for WGSD April 1?
We encourage each and every Whole Grains Council member company to do something special for Whole Grain Sampling Day. It's up to you -- and your participation can range from the simple to the sublime. Here are a few examples from past years:

* Give away coupons on your twitter page, as McDonald's did
* Run a sweepstakes on Facebook, like Better4U Foods (shown below)
* Send product samples to restaurants, as Barilla did

You can plan something special, or recast some marketing activity already in the works so it's part of Whole Grain Sampling Day. Anything goes, as long as it helps reduce the barriers to more people trying more whole grains.

Call Kelly Toups, WGC Program Manager, to brainstorm ideas ([email protected] or 617-896-4884) and/or download a PDF with more information.

If you already know what you want to do, just tell us online, so we can post your activity on our partners' list and start getting you extra visibility right away. We can't wait to hear what creative ideas you come up with!

WGC Web Visitors up 34% in 2014
Just what sort of visibility do our members get when their activities and products are on the WGC website?

2,100,194 unique visitors stopped by the WGC's site during 2014, an increase of 34% from the previous year. Our two most popular pages continue to be our Gluten Free page (9% of pageviews) and our Whole Grains A to Z page (7% of pageviews).

It's mesmerizing to bring up Google Analytics in Realtime and see how many people are currently on the site, and what countries they hail from. It's also useful to see the searches that brought them to our website. Here are just a few, as we write this:
* Basic foods that are whole grain
* Types of rice
* Healthy benefits of rye
* How many servings of bread are allowed?

Don't forget to link from your website to ours, so that you can provide all the information your customers need about whole grains. Just a reminder: We also allow (and encourage!) WGC members to republish content from our website, with credit and a link to the WGC. Ask Cynthia Harriman if you have any questions ([email protected] or 617-896-4820).
Harley's Tip: All Products Need to be Registered
We've added a new feature to our monthly member newsletter: a quick tip from Harley Songin, who heads up our Whole Grain Stamp program. Every month we'll highlight something important to know about the Stamp approval process.

January Tip: Every product using the Whole Grain Stamp must be reviewed and approved by us before the Stamp appears on packaging. Even if your product is a bag of brown rice or quinoa with no other ingredients -- something you're SURE will be approved -- you must file a Product Registration Form online and wait 1-2 weeks until you've heard back from us that it has been approved. Watch your inbox soon for a list of all your company's products in our database, so you can double-check for any needed updates..

Remember, you can always download a copy of our Stamp Usage Guide here, or contact Harley ([email protected] or 617-896-4832) with any questions.
 This is a good time to remind all your staff of the rules of our program, to head off problems before they can occur.

U.S. Dietary Guidelines on to Next Stage
Every five years the U.S. government updates its dietary guidelines and a new set of guidelines is expected during 2015. As a leadup to the new guidelines, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) has been meeting for the last 18 months to review the newest nutrition science. Now those meetings are concluded and the DGAC is writing its final report, on which the new guidelines will be based.

We've been following the DGAC's work and are happy to report that support for whole grains continues to be strong. One conclusion aired at the final meeting was that there is "remarkable consistency" in the association between good health and dietary patterns with a "higher intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lowfat dairy, fish/seafood, legumes, lean meat and nuts" and a "low intake of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains."

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are expected to be made public toward the end of this year. We will keep WGC members in the loop as we learn more.
Best regards,

Cynthia Harriman
Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies
[email protected]

Kelly Toups, MLA, RD, LDN
Program Manager
[email protected]

Harley Songin
Program Assistant
[email protected]

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