Whole Grain Sampling Day
What if there were one day when, everywhere you went, there were opportunities to try delicious whole grain foods?
You'd stop into the cafeteria at your workplace, and you'd be offered a taste of quinoa salad. You'd visit the supermarket, and one of those friendly sampling ladies would ask if you'd like to try a new whole grain pretzel. Your teenager would duck into a quick-serve restaurant, and they'd ask, "Would you like that on a whole grain wrap, instead of the usual bun?" In the park downtown, a food company would be passing out granola bars to joggers. At dinner, as you serve whole grain pasta to your family, your fourth-grader would report about the whole grain pizza in her school lunch.
That's what happens every year on the first Wednesday in April, when the Whole Grains Council holds its annual Whole Grain Sampling Day. Our goal is to have people everywhere saying, "That was great! Where have you been all my life?"
According to a 2009 survey by Kellogg's, 36% of consumers said "because I enjoy the taste" when asked for their reasons for eating more whole grains. That's up considerably from a 2006 Harris Interactive survey where 13% cited taste as a purchase motivator. You've come a long way, whole grains. Today, most people have only to try a new whole grain to realize they like it.
Check out our video from 2013, below, to get inspired about Whole Grain Sampling Day.
See what happened at This Year's SAMPLING DAY - APRIL 2, 2014
This was a great day for EVERYONE: home cooks and restaurant chefs, nutrition advocates and health leaders -- anyone who loves whole grains. This year's partners included:
• California Pizza Kitchen
• Dunkin' Donuts
• Genghis Grill
• Rubio's Restaurants
Independent Restaurants and Bakeries
• Peña Pachamama (San Francisco)
• Sweet Sassy Molassey Bakeshop (Atlanta)
Workplace, University, and School Foodservice
• Ashley Hall School (Charleston, SC)
• Compass USA
• University of North Dakota
Food Trucks and Vending
• Bon Me (Boston)
• La Cocinita Food Truck (New Orleans)
• Clover Restaurants and Food Trucks (Boston)
• h.u.m.a.n. Healthy Vending
• Dierberg's (multiple locations)
• Hy-Vee (multiple locations)
• Jewel-Osco (4 stores in the Chicago area)
• ShopRite (multiple locations in NJ, NY, PA)
• Weis Markets (Huntingdon Valley, PA)
• Whole Foods Markets (Charleston, SC, Boca Raton, FL; Schaumburg & Chicago, IL)
• American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)
• Healthy Dining Finder
• National Restaurant Association
• Grain Organizations: Grains for Health Foundation, Grain Foods Foundation, Wheat Foods Council
• Country Hearth Bread
• CaveChick cookies
• Lotus Foods
• Roman Meal Bread
• Upfront Foods
Click here to see details on how each one of our partners planned to participate.
Whole Grain Ambassadors
We also have a wonderful group of Whole Grain Ambassadors who blogged about their favorite whole grains on or about April 2nd. Click here to see who's on board - and to link directly to their blogs.
A big thanks also to the many companies that provided whole grain goodies for the Ambassadors, including: Among Friends, Attune Foods, Barbara's Bakery, Bob's Red Mill, Carl Brandt/Mestemacher, ConAgra Mills, Dr. Kracker, Freekehlicious, Goose Valley Natural Foods, HomeFree Treats, Jovial Foods, Late July, Lotus Foods, Mary's Gone Crackers, Mondelez, Pamela's Products, Panos/Sesmark, Popsalot Gourmet Popcorn, Real McCoy's Snax, Roman Meal, Rhythm Superfoods, Teeccino, Upfront Foods, Way Better Snacks.
3 simple steps for Sampling Day Partners
Did you miss the fun? Start thinking about 2015 when you can be a Whole Grain Sampling Day partner too. Just follow the three simple steps below.
1. Learn How -- and Why -- to Take Part in Whole Grain Sampling Day 2015
Click on the links below to download the PDF for your segment, with ideas, inspiration and specifics on how you can take part! There's no fee and almost no rules -- just choose a plan of action that matches your marketing goals.
2. Sign Up Officially as a WGSD Partner
Click here to fill out our online WGSD Partners form. Right up through Sampling Day, we'll list our partners' plans and activities here on our website, to help drive traffic and media attention to your good ideas. Signing up is not required, but who doesn't like free publicity? The sooner you sign up, the more visibility you get.
3. Download Resources to Help Implement Your WGSD Plans
The Whole Grains Council provides a full suite of resources for companies and organizations planning to take part in Whole Grain Sampling Day. Use the links below to access useful tools to help you participate.
Get Social Media Inspiration
Once you've planned your 2015 WGSD events and promotions, you'll want to talk them up on social media, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Pinterest. One place to start is our collection of WGSD Tweets. Click here to download Tweets. And if you write your own, use the hashtag #SampleWholeGrains.
Explain the Benefits of Whole Grains
Our "Whole Grains 101" Welcome to Whole Grains brochure explains why everyone should enjoy more whole grains. It makes a great handout in conjunction with your WGSD events and promotions. There are three great options for taking advantage of this brochure:
• You can order the brochure pre-printed, at cost, from the Oldways Store. (Oldways is the parent organization of the Whole Grains Council.)
• You can download a PDF and print it yourself or provide a link on your website.
• We can co-brand the brochure with your logo, and supply you a PDF you can take to your printer or make available electronically. Contact Danita Boyce (617-896-4880) if you'd like to learn how we can work with you to co-brand our Whole Grains 101 brochure.
Want other handouts, including information in Spanish? We have plenty of them here on our website. We also have a Whole Grains Store Tour, perfect for RDs and other health professionals who would like to educate shoppers about whole grains.
Order Buttons, Stickers and Posters
We offer buttons, stickers and posters at cost to commercial ventures – and free to nonprofits and educational groups. Click here to see what's available and find out how to order.
Download Graphics for Sampling Day Partners
Need graphics to promote your Whole Grain Sampling Day events and activities? We've got just what you need. Click anywhere on the image below to access a full page of graphics choices to make signs, table tents, t-shirts and banners, or to liven up your website and social media posts. [We'll update these for 2015 a few months ahead of time!]
2013 Whole Grain Sampling Day Partners
Want more inspiration? Here are some companies that made a commitment to celebrate our last Whole Grain Sampling Day on April 3rd, 2013.
Whole Grain Ambassadors
We partnered with prominent food bloggers who wrote about WGSD on April 3rd. We sent each of these top-ranking bloggers information about the health benefits of whole grains and a treasure chest of whole grain product samples. They used their forum to review the products, conduct giveaways, share recipes, or simply tout the nutritional benefits and great taste of whole grains. Check out their Sampling Day blogs:
Susie Anderson and Chelsee Adams, We Are Not Martha
Brandi Evans, Bran Appetit
Janice Bissex, Meal Makeover Moms
Amy McCoy, Poor Girl Gourmet
Lisa Grant, Jersey Girl Cooks
Lisa Stollman, Eating Manifesto
Meghan Malloy, Travel, Eat, Love
Megan Chromik, Delicious Dishings
Bobbi Burleson, Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
Anajali Shah, Picky Eater Blog
Erin Sellin, Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
Deb Koenig, Debbie Koenig
Caroline Edwards, Chocolate and Carrots
Mary Cowx, Fervent Foodie
Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez, Girli Chef
Kelly Epstein, Mountain Mama Cooks
Joanne Bruno, Joanne Eats Well With Others
Brandie Valenzuela, Home Cooking Memories
Whole Grain Toast
The WGC Team led a virtual "whole grain toast" at noon on April 3rd and invited consumers, manufacturers and restaurants to join the fun. We urged everyone to get inspired and create their own version of a toast to whole grains. Photos and videos were posted all over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and just about every social media forum there is. Here's to Whole Grains!
Several supermarket chains connected with WGC Members to conduct in-store sampling events. Working closely with supermarket dietitians through our sister program, the Oldways Nutrition Exchange, we created and shared a Toolkit of Sampling Day resources, including handouts, a store tour, a PowerPoint presentation, cooking demo, recipes, and more. We've also heard from four WGC Members, Mondelez International, Dr. Kracker, Popsalot and Upfront Foods about samplings they organized with retailers like Whole Foods, Hy-Vee, Stop & Shop, Shoprite, Lueken's, Vicente Foods and Belle Foods.
This year, we are pleased to see WGC Members giving away their products to consumers. Better4U Foods ran a "Whole Grains Are Better4U" sweepstakes on their Facebook page from April 1 - April 5, 2013. Entrants had the chance to receive their choice of 5 FREE Multigrain Frozen Pizzas!
RESTAURANT AND FOODSERVICE PARTNERS
Compass Group, a leading food management company, has had a long-standing commitment to serving and promoting whole grains to their customers. This year, they launched a new concept for Sampling Day, called The Market, where they offered samples of whole grain dishes, shared recipes and sold whole grain ingredients so the customers could recreate the dishes at home. "Tastings are a great way to reduce the fear of the unknown that some customers have when trying a new food. We use this strategy often to introduce new healthful foods. We are excited to participate in Whole Grain Sampling Day again this year." said Deanne Brandstetter, MBA, RD, Vice President Nutrition and Wellness.
Cater To You is a foodservice provider and had all 10 of their private school accounts participate with tasting tables and action stations. They also used posters and handouts about whole grains from the WGC.
Verizon joined forces with us again this year. Kelly Zanczewski, Associate Director of Health & Wellness at Verizon shares, "On April 10th, 2013, 35 Verizon cafes across the nation handed out over 2,300 healthy whole grain samples to their employees as a part of National Sample Whole Grains Day. The sampling events provided our employees with the opportunity to try a variety of whole grains that they might not typically purchase from the store. We had a tremendous positive response from employees and many bought the featured whole grain in the café for lunch that day. Healthy whole grain recipe books were provided at the events too."
Boston University, in collaboration with Sargent Choice Nutrition Center, offered special whole grain dishes in all three dining halls, held cooking demonstrations, gave away samples, and set up information tables for students and faculty. Plus -- just like last year – BU students helped our team with distributing whole grain samples throughout the city of Boston.
Sodexo at George Mason University highlighted whole grains at six dining restaurants on campus during Whole Grain Sampling Day. A whole grain sampling/nutrition table was set up outside for students to visit and sample a variety of whole grains such as wheat, quinoa, farro, wheat berries and barley. Students also had the opportunity to play “cornhole”, a popular lawn game.
Bradley University. Danielle Gehrke, RD, LDN, Dining Services Wellness Director with ARAMARK Higher Education at Bradley University set up a table in Geisert Dining Hall for students to sample plain quinoa and a Tabbouleh salad. Recipes were provided along with whole grain informational handouts. Danielle also shared with students where to find whole grain options in the other dining locations on campus. Danielle says "we have worked very hard to incorporate more whole grains into the dining hall cycle menus such as whole grain hamburger buns, breads, pastas, cereals. We feature daily hot whole grain sides like brown rice and quinoa on our Better 4 You hot bar which consists of a lean protein entree, vegetarian entree, whole grain side and fresh vegetable side to make it easy for students to find better for you options."
Northfield Mount Herman, a boarding school in Massachusetts, had tables set up in the dining hall with samples of whole grain dishes and informational sheets, and quizzed students on identifying uncooked whole grains. The lunch menu featured a few delicious whole grain items.
Marquette University’s Student Health Service encouraged students to incorporate more whole grains into their diets by setting up a booth on campus for National Whole Grains Sampling Day. The booth had promo items, informational handouts, recipes, and samples of whole grain foods for students to try. In addition to the Sampling Day, we’ve added a web page to our Student Wellness website that focuses solely on the importance of whole grains as a healthy nutritional choice.
Catallia Mexican Foods hosted a giveaway throughout the day for foodservice clients to win a case of 100% whole grain whole wheat tortillas.
OTHER PARTNER ACTIVITIES
Boston Duck Tour
Based in Boston, the WGC team once again climbed aboard a Boston Duck Boat to hand out samples of whole grain products donated by WGC members. We ventured through the city raining whole grain goodies on commuters, sightseers and students, and even made a special delivery to the mayor's office.
Whole Grain Headlines
Just as in 2012, the April 2013 issue of Cooking Light focused on “Eating More Whole Grains” as part of their 12 Healthy Habits series. They also used social media to talk up whole grains.
Special thanks to the WGC member companies who sent samples for the Bloggers and/or the Duck Boat, or who contributed to the RD Toolkit: Among Friends Baking Mix, Barbara's Bakery, Better 4 U, Bob's Red Mill, Carl Brandt / Mestemacher, Dare Foods, Dr. Kracker, Fabe's, Freekehlicious, Frontier Soups, General Mills, Goose Valley, Indian Harvest, HomeFree, Jovial, Late July Snacks, Lundberg Family Farms, Mary's Gone Crackers, Mondelez International, Pamela's Products, Real McCoy's, Tasty Bites, Upfront Foods and Way Better Snacks.
Need more inspiration? Check out our 2012 Partner Activities page.