In This Issue
Whole Grain Trends
USDA Grains Data
Harley's April Tip
Defining a Whole Grain Food
Supermarket RD Symposium
Quick Links
An Oldways Family Program

Oldways is a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, inspiring good health 
through cultural food traditions and lifestyles.
April 2015

Dear Whole Grains Council members,

Whole Grain Sampling Day, on April 1, was a rousing success in introducing more people to more whole grains. We partnered with over 50 organizations in North America, the UK and beyond, for supermarket samplings, restaurant giveaways and discounts, online quizzes and sweepstakes, workplace educational events, and more, that reached millions of consumers. If you want to see the power of whole grain promotion at work, check out our blogs about the event on the WGC site and on the Oldways site, including a few photos.

A big thanks to all our members who took part. Remember, Whole Grain Sampling Day is always on the first Wednesday in April. Next year it will be on April 6, so start planning now for how your company will take advantage of the worldwide buzz. Contact Kelly Toups ([email protected] or 617-896-4884) to brainstorm ideas!

Whole Grain Product Trends -- Top Sellers


Want to know what categories of whole grain products are trending up the fastest? Our friends at SPINS regularly share with us data on US sales of products bearing the Whole Grain Stamp. They tell us that for the 52 weeks ending December 31, 2014, these four categories saw the biggest sales growth compared to the previous year:

refrigerated grain salads up 978.2%
from $16,916 to $182,387

frozen meatless burgers up 24.5%
from $35,838,213 to $44,608,522

unpopped popcorn up 24.0%
from $3,034,411 to $3,763,522

macaroni and cheese up 20.8%
from $14,163,788 to $17,114,025

The refrigerated grain salads -- while still relatively small in absolute sales -- represent a whole new category of possibilities. Had most people even heard of grain salads five years ago? Also coming on strong were lifestyle/wellness bars (+ 20.2%), noninstant hot cereals (+ 20.0%), junior/toddler foods (+ 19.5%) and packaged grains (+ 14.8%). We salute the inventiveness of the food industry in coming out with more creative and delicious whole grain products.


Is "Your" Grain in the USDA Nutrient Database?

When dietitians, consumers and the media in the US and around the world want reliable information on the nutrients found in whole grains (or any foods for that matter), they turn to the USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. When they get there, they'll find information on most whole grains, from amaranth to wild rice. But some up-and-coming grains have not yet been added to the database, including farro, einkorn, freekeh, ka˝iwa, black rice, red rice and teff flour.

USDA has limited budgets for data analysis, and welcomes collaboration from industry partners to fund some of the costs. Recently for instance, the United Sorghum Checkoff Program helped add new sorghum values to the nutrient database - a move which has helped us talk about sorghum in media interviews. Do you have a keen interest in making sure "your" grain is in the USDA's database? For a cost of $2,000 to $20,000 (depending on number of samples and nutrients tested) you can "sponsor" a grain. Contact Cynthia Harriman (617-896-4820 or [email protected]) and we'll connect you with the right folks at USDA.

Harley's Tip: Make Product Names Clear & Accurate
Every month Harley Songin, who heads up our Whole Grain Stamp program, highlights something important to know about the Stamp approval process. 

April Tip: Think carefully when you fill in the Product Name at the top of our Product Registration Form (PRF). This is the name that will appear in our online list of Stamped products, and should be fully descriptive -- without being repetitive. 

Take a look at our online list and reflect.
  • Your brand name will already appear in its own field, so 
    don't include that in the product name. For example, if "Archer Farms" is already in the brand field, the product should be "multigrain tortilla chips" not "Archer Farms multigrain tortilla chips."
  • But do include the type of food it is: say "Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal" not just "Strawberries and Cream"-- or how will consumers know it's an oatmeal and not a cookie?
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.
Definition of a Whole Grain Food
Last week, Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food & Nutrition Strategies, had the pleasure of presenting a talk on current definitions of a whole grain food at a conference in Savannah, GA titled "Whole Grains... The Next Super Food." This event, the AACCI Milling and Baking Division's Spring Technical Conference, focused on how an industry set up to support refined grains can retool its infrastructure and standard methods to take advantage of the growing popularity of whole grains. You can read our blog about the conference here.

The WGC's presentation focused on the shortcomings of recent efforts to define a whole grain food (read our comments to FDA here), and proposed instead a three-tiered approach to naming whole grain foods:
  1. 100% whole grain foods -- all the grain is whole grain, and contains at least 16g whole grain per serving.
  2. Whole grain foods -- at least half of the grain is whole grain, and contains at least 8g whole grain per serving.
  3. Foods containing whole grain -- contain at least 8g whole grain per serving, but contain more refined grain. These foods can declare the amount of whole grain per serving, but cannot use the term "whole grain" as part of their names.

What do you think is the best way to define a whole grain food? Share your thoughts with Cynthia.


Oldways Supermarket Dietitian Symposium
On March 22-24, Oldways, the parent organization of the Whole Grains Council, held its 5th annual Supermarket Dietitian Symposium. As always, this event brought together a great group of 50 supermarket RDs including seven from Canada, plus a dietitian from Waitrose in the UK -- and one from Haifa, Israel, who is planning to implement a supermarket program in her country. These supermarket stars shared ideas for building successful promotions, working with the media, creating in-store sampling programs, and working effectively with dietitian teams.

Also present were conference sponsors from leading food companies eager to connect with these key supermarket opinion leaders. Are you looking to reach supermarket dietitians with information about your healthy products? Contact Georgia Orcutt, Program Manager (617-896-4861), for information about being a sponsor for Oldways' 2016 Supermarket Dietitian Symposium, to be held in New Orleans on March 20-22, 2016. Or contact Deborah Plunkett, Program Manager (617-896-4850), for information about the ONE-Stop Resource Directory, our new year-round online marketplace for reaching supermarket RDs.


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