whole grain news


2012 Q1 Newsletters

(January 2012 newsletter, sent to members January 26, 2012)

Dear Whole Grains Council members,

After the holiday lull, whole grain activities took on renewed momentum with the new year. The momentum continues, with new school food nutrition standards released yesterday. We have emailed our USDA contacts asking for a few clarifications. We'll post details on the WGC website (with a link on the home page) as soon as we feel we can offer WGC members a clear summary. Now, on to all our other news, without further delay!

Whole Grain Sampling Day: April 4th
April 4, 2012 will be the first annual Worldwide Whole Grain Sampling Day. This will be the day when consumers everywhere will have extra opportunities to try more whole grain products. We'll be focusing attention sharply on whole grains by encouraging as many partners as possible to get on board - including your company!

Already, Compass Group -- serving 6 million diners daily in schools, health facilities and workplace cafeterias -- is planning to hold special tastings on April 4th. McDonald's and Arby's will be sharing whole grain information with consumers, and Cooking Light magazine will be doing a special online whole grain promotion throughout April (including some extra whole grain bling on April 4!). Indian Harvest will use Facebook to encourage its foodservice customers to come up with creative ideas for WG Sampling Day promotions - and will award a free case of whole grains to those with the top 5 ideas.

How could your company participate? Here are just a few ideas, for every budget:

  • Partner with a supermarket, to offer tastings. Find your own partner -- or we'll put your offer out to our list of interested supermarket chains (already including Shoprite and Walmart). 

  • Organize a guerilla marketing event: Hand out granola bars (for example) in a park near your headquarters.

  • Plan special discount coupons online or in an FSI, for the week of Whole Grain Sampling Day.

  • Offer your foodservice customers a discount - or a free case - to jumpstart sales by sampling your product with their diners.

  • Highlight some simple new recipes on your website, so consumers can sample new whole grain tastes at home.

You get the idea. Sky's the limit; anything goes. If it helps more people explore more whole grains, it's a great addition to Whole Grain Sampling Day on April 4. We're posting all partner activities on our website, so contact Karen Mansur to tell us what you're planning or to find a supermarket partner.

Discounts, Deals & Coupons - Consumer Visibility
Last month we mentioned plans to feature WGC member promotions in our monthly consumer e-newsletter called "Just Ask for Whole Grains." We're pleased to confirm that we have indeed added a new section at the end of each newsletter titled "Discounts, Deals, and Coupons." Our first "Deals" in our January newsletter featured five WGC members, since it included a big whole grain coupon collection from Whole Foods with deals on products from Nature's Path, Kashi, Hain / Garden of Eatin', and Lundberg Family Farms.

If you're featuring a sweepstakes on your website, or discount coupons, or any other Good Deals for consumers, we may be able to include them in our newsletter. First come, first served, so tell us about your consumer promotions now. Contact Karen Mansur (617-896-4880). You can also sign up on our website if you'd like to receive a copy of our newly-redesigned newsletter each month.

Food Labeling, Training, Technical Analysis Available   
Did you know that one of the WGC's Founding Members, AIB International School of Baking, offers a range of services that could benefit you? AIB can create FDA-compliant food labels, test your foods or ingredients for allergens, mycotoxins or other factors, train your employees in everything from food safety to gourmet cookie baking and so much more.

We don't normally promote the services of any one member in this newsletter, but since AIB's programs are unique among all our members - and include services many of our members (especially smaller companies) may not be able to perform in-house - we wanted to help AIB spread the word. Contact Kirk O'Donnell or Ken Embers at 800-633-5137 for more information, or visit AIB's website.

WGC Speaks at National Events
Speaking at national events is one of the most important parts of the WGC's outreach. That's why we're especially happy to tell you about three upcoming events this spring:

NRA Nutrition Executive Study Group. The National Restaurant Association has invited us to speak in March to nutritionists and dietitians who work in the restaurant and foodservice industry, to explain the health benefits of whole grains and ideas for how restaurants can incorporate more whole grains into their menus.

Chinese Whole Grain Symposium. The Whole Grains Council is organizing a half-day symposium in May, conjunction with the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, OR, for nutrition scientists, grain chemists and policymakers from China - a follow-up from our work last April in Beijing.

Whole Grains Summit 2012: From Theory to Practice. We'll also be speaking in Minneapolis in May at an event that brings together the sectors and disciplines focusing on grains to address issues that will allow healthier grain-based foods to more readily flow into the supply chain for easier access by the consumer. Participants can expect to be informed and actively address issues not only from science and technology, but also business, marketing, and regulatory perspectives.

And of course - don't forget our own WGC conference, Whole Grains on Every Plate October 17-19 in San Antonio, TX.

Welcome Mallory, Goodbye Chrisanne   
Over the last couple of years most of you have had the pleasure of working with Chrisanne Grise, who has been administering the day-to-day operations of the Whole Grain Stamp program. The bright lights of New York City beckoned to Chrisanne, and she is moving to The Big Apple to pursue a career in journalism. We thank her for all her good work, and wish her the best.

Stepping into Chrisanne's shoes is Mallory Cushman, a graduate of Boston University who most recently worked at The Chef's Collaborative and at Flour Bakery - setting her up well for her new job at Oldways. While Mallory learns the ropes, Program Manager Karen Mansur will be helping members with their Whole Grain Stamp and Product Registration Form questions. Please say hello to Mallory after she starts on January 30.

2nd Annual Supermarket Symposium
Oldways is holding its second annual Supermarket Dietitians' Symposium in Savannah on February 29 through March 2. Like our inaugural 2010 event, the symposium will provide three days of thought-provoking sessions and interactive forums with 70 of the nation's top supermarket dietitians, food experts and industry leaders.  The group will tackle a universal challenge: how to help consumers recognize, buy and eat healthy foods and create promotions to drive healthy sales at retail. WGC members Frito-Lay, Barilla and Kellogg are among this year's sponsors, helping Oldways (the WGC's parent organization) build bridges between food manufacturers and the dietitians who are in the frontlines of encouraging healthier eating.

Best regards,

Cynthia Harriman
Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies

Karen Mansur
Program Manager

Mallory Cushman
Program Assistant

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


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