Whole Grain Statistics
Whole grains are growing at a remarkable rate – proving in market after market that consumers worldwide are beginning to understand the importance of enjoying more whole grains. To help those of you in the media paint the complete picture, we've collected industry figures, with the latest information first, to document the whole grain surge.
Success & Awareness of the Whole Grain Stamp
As of May 2016, the Whole Grain Stamp is now on:
• over 10,900 different products
• in 55 countries: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Bahrain, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kuwait, Maldives (Republic of), Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands (Kingdom of), New Zealand, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, U.A.E., United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
• By 407 WGC member companies based in 20 countries.
• At last count, 21% of all Stamped products can be found outside the United States.
WGC 2015 Consumer Insights Survey
Nearly two-thirds of Americans are making at least half their grains whole, according to the 2015 Whole Grains Consumer Insights Survey from Oldways Whole Grains Council. Rather than reprint all the trends and facts in this survey, we'll simply link you to our blog written after the survey was released in August 2015.
International Awareness of Ancient Grains Grows, MAJORITY Want Whole Grains
In a 2015 international report from HealthFocus International, called “Fiber, Grains, and Gluten - A Global Perspective,” 71% of respondents (spanning 16 countries, across the Americas, Europe, and Asia) reported that they want whole grains as a source of nutrition in products. The report also found that the international awareness of ancient grains was up from 26% in 2012 to 28% in 2014, with 35% of the respondents expressing an interest in ancient grains. Fiber, a nutrient prevalent in many whole grains, was also a big area of interest for many people in the survey.
Whole Grains Grow rapidly in Restaurants
According to Dataessential’s Menu Trends 2015 Report, the term “whole grain” is mentioned on 40% more menus now, compared to four years ago. Quinoa leads the way, appearing on more than 7% of all menus, and an impressive 20% of fast casual menus, according to Dataessential.
According to Dataessential, these grains have shown the strongest growth on restaurant menus in the past year (2015):
- Sorghum (45% growth on restaurant menus)
- Millet (43%)
- Quinoa (34%)
- Amaranth (25%)
- Bulgur (24%)
Based on 2015 sales trends, Grubhub (an online food ordering service) expects to see sales growth in many menu items containing whole grains, including:
- Farro (105% projected increase in sales)
- Kamut (92%)
- Quinoa (34%)
- Spelt (18%)
- Millet (15%)
- Teff (11%)
1 in 3 Diners Would Pay More For Whole Grain Menu Items
In a December 2015 survey of approximately 2,000 Americans, research firm Mintel found that 30% of respondents are interested in, and would pay more for, menu items that feature whole grains. This interest in whole grains is greater than the interest in non-GMO (29%), high fiber (28%), low sodium (26%), low sugar (26%) and gluten free (22%). Mintel also found that 21% of respondents order more whole grains at restaurants than they did the year prior, and that 53% are ordering them in the same amount.
1 in 5 Consumers bought Ancient & Sprouted Grains in the Past month
Food Formulation Trends: Ancient Grains and Sprouted Ingredients, a report from market research firm Packaged Facts, found that nearly a fifth (19%) of American adults have purchased menu or grocery items with ancient grains in the past 30 days (the same percentage as for sprouted grains/ingredients).
Many consumers confused about gluten
A May 2015 survey found that 47% of consumers think rice contains gluten, and 34% believe that potatoes do. In fact, 5% think gluten is found in all carbohydrates!
The Gluten-Free Market
A very small group -- just 2.5% of U.S. households -- accounts for 68% of gluten-free product sales in grocery stores; this group buys about 48 GF products for total spending of $185 annually. 18% of GF sales come from households purchasing just 6 GF products and spending $24 annually (less than 1% of their total annual grocery purchases. Light users account for the final 14% of sales, averaging 2 GF products for $6 annually. Interesting to note: households that made the most GF purchases still bought, on average, the same amount of regular bread, breakfast cereal, pasta, muffins and bagels as the average U.S. household. Full report here.
The Truth About Gluten Free: Market Size and Consumer Behavior for Successful Business Decisions, Ardent Mills 2014
Consumer momentum for whole grains
The 2015 Food & Health Survey documents continued momentum for whole grains among American consumers. Some key metrics include:
• 67% of Americans think whole grains are the most important item they look for on packages.
• 70% are trying to consume more whole grains.
Ancient Grains Enjoy Rapid Sales Growth
According to data from SPINS, a leading supplier of retail consumer analytics and insights, sales of ancient grains rose steeply in the 52 weeks ending July 13, 2014. Kamut® brand khorasan wheat saw the highest growth, at 686%, with spelt growing 363% during the same period. Gluten-free ancient grains also showed strong sales, with amaranth up 123% and teff up 58%. Click here to download a SPINS' infographic detailing these sales trends and others – including the fact that packaged grains bearing the Whole Grain Stamp were up 19% during the past year.
CHEFs cite whole grains in top trends
The National Restaurant Association's What's HOT 2015 Chef Survey asked chefs to rank more than 200 trends for their popularity. Several trends related to whole grains were in the top 50, including:
#4 Healthful kids’ meals
#5 Natural ingredients/minimally processed food
#11 Non-wheat noodles/pasta
#12 Gluten-free cuisine
#13 Ancient grains
#14 Whole grain items in kids’ meals
#26 Non-wheat flour (e.g. millet, barley, rice)
#39 Ethnic Flour (e.g. teff)
#46 Black/forbidden rice
National Restaurant Association What's HOT 2015 Chef Survey, December 2014
Quinoa up five-fold in five years
Global launches of new products made with quinoa rose 50% in the twelve months ending September 30, 2013 -- and increased more than five-fold from Q3 2008 to Q3 2013. 38% of launches promoted their gluten-free properties.
Source: Innova Market Insights, quoted in Food Business News (Dec 16, 2013)
Whole Grains are a Top Motivator in Purchases
According to the 2012 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, the presence of whole grains in a product is a strong factor in influencing consumers to buy a product. When asked what considerations drove their purchases, consumers' top choices were calories (71%), whole grains (67%), fiber (62%), sugars in general (60%), sodium/salt (60%), and/or fats/oils (60%).
IFIC 2012 Food & Health Survey
Taste Growing as Reason Consumers Choose Whole Grains
A 2009 survey of more than a thousand adults asked those who claimed they were making an effort to eat more whole grains to explain their reasons for making this effort.
36% of them said "I enjoy the taste." This was up considerably from a 2006 study (below) where 13% cited taste as a purchase motivator. Other popular answers included "Whole grain foods are healthier" (76%); "In order to get more fiber" (69%); "To fill me up and help me lose weight" (53%); and "To get more vitamins and minerals" (44%).
It's great to see that more than a third of those responding to this question see the nuttier, fuller taste of whole grains as a plus! This could explain why "about two third[s] of respondents reported that they prefer to buy breads and cereals made with whole grains."
A Survey of Consumers' Whole Grain and Fiber Consumption Behaviors, and the Perception of Whole Grains as a Source of Dietary Fiber. Kellogg Co., March 2009.
"I'm eating more whole grains"
A survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association asked consumers if they had been eating more, less, or the same amount of various foods over the past five years. 48% said they were eating more whole grains, while 45% said their whole grain consumption had stayed about the same. Consumers in the survey also reported increasing vegetables (49%), fish (46%), and chicken (44%), while decreasing beef (39%), pork (35%) and dairy (22%). In an interesting twist, gluten-free foods were among foods consumers said they were least likely to increase consumption of.
American Dietetic Association, phone interviews by Mintel Intl Group, May 2011
Sales of Stamped Products Continue to Soar
In September of 2010, we shared the first-ever data from our friends at SPINS and Mintel that proved products bearing the Whole Grain Stamp outsell similarly positioned products that don't use the Stamp. When first reported, sales of natural foods and beverages with the Whole Grain Stamp had increased 12.8% compared to a year earlier, while those without the Stamp increased 9.5% in the same channels.
As part of our ongoing partnership with SPINS, we're pleased to announce that naturally-positioned foods and beverages* bearing the Whole Grains Stamp continue to outpace the competition. In Q1 of 2011 alone, combined sales of natural and naturally-positioned products approved for Stamp use totaled a whopping $13.1M, up 7.4% when compared to the same 12-week period in 2010. The long-range forecast of 52 weeks showed even more impressive growth, yielding a sales increase of $79.5M, up 11.1% over the same period a year previous.
In May 2011, SPINS released information showing consumer demand for certification labels beyond organic is on the rise. In addition to labels like Fair Trade and Non-GMO, the Whole Grain Stamp helped sales of products rise an impressive 13.3% for all of 2010.
*"Natural and naturally-positioned products" as defined by SPINS. For more information, please visit www.spins.com .
WHOLE GRAIN GROWTH WORLDWIDE, 2000-2011
New product launches of foods making a "whole grain" claim have grown sharply since 2000. In fact, according to the Mintel Global New Products Database, in 2010 almost 20 times as many new whole grain products were introduced worldwide as in the year 2000.
|whole grain launches
||increase over year 2000
||increase over previous year
WG NEW PRODUCT LAUNCHES BY CATEGORY
Again according to Mintel, bakery, breakfast cereals and snacks now account for the largest number of new product introductions, with side dishes and meals gaining quickly. (This table got too wide so we eliminated alternate years – email us if you want the "odd" years.) 2012 data are through April 30, 2012.
|Meals & Entrees||7||11||25||71||127||116||129||47|
Sales of Whole Grain Products Increase
U.S. retail sales of whole wheat pasta reached $128 million in the 52 weeks ended Sept. 5, 2010, according to SymphonyIRI. Whole wheat pasta had an average selling price of $1.50, compared with $1.27 for regular pasta, and whole wheat pasta took up a 9% share of the pasta category. The retail sales covered U.S. grocery stores, excluding Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Baking Business, May 9, 2011
“In 2001, we generated 2% of our business from whole grains,” said J. (Bohn) Popp, vice-president of marketing at Aunt Millie’s Bakeries, Fort Wayne, Ind. “Today, 38% of the bread and rolls we sell contain at least some whole grain flour.”
Flowers Foods, Inc., Thomasville, Ga., also has experienced dramatic growth in demand for whole grain products. Over the past five years, sales have climbed 75%, the company said, noting that 100% whole wheat Nature’s Own variety bread has been a top seller for decades. “While white bread is still the largest segment in the South market, which is our core market, sales are declining as consumers switch to wheat bread or sandwich rounds.”
At Sara Lee Fresh Bakery, Downers Grove, Ill., the share of products with whole grain nearly doubled to 45% in 2010 from 24% in 2005, the company said. Sara Lee estimated overall share growth for the category at 27% in 2010 from 15% in 2005.
Baking Business, February 24, 2011
Using Nielsen Homescan data, ERS researchers found that in 2001, whole grain products accounted for 11.1 percent of all pounds of packaged grain products purchased in grocery stores (excluding flours, mixes, and frozen or ready-to-cook products). By 2006, whole grains’ share of total grain product purchases was 17.9 percent. ERS researchers found whole-grain breads accounted for 6 percent of all pounds of bread purchases in 2001 and rose to 20 percent by 2007. Over this same time period, whole-grain cereals jumped from 30 percent of all cereals purchased to 46 percent.
Amber Waves, USDA Economic Research Service (ERS), March 2011
Consumer Attitudes: Whole Grains Up, Refined Carbs Down more every year
When consumers were asked to “Please indicate whether you are trying to consume more or less of the following,” they said they were seeking out whole grains:
|"I'm trying to consume more whole grains"||68%||71%||78%||81%|
|"I'm trying to consume less refined grains"||56%||61%||65%||67%|
IFIC Food and Health Surveys 2006-2009: Consumer Attitudes toward Food, Nutrition & Health
performed annually by the International Food Information Council.
CONSUMERS LOOK FOR WHOLE GRAINS AT BREAKFAST
In a survey conducted by Quaker Oats, 50% of the sample selected whole grain as the most sought after attribute when choosing breakfast foods. This was followed closely by fiber (47%).
Quaker Amazing Morning Survey, August 2010
CONSUMERS WANT TO INCREASE CONSUMPTION OF WHOLE GRAINS
37% of respondents identified “Increasing the consumption of foods with whole grains” as a Dietary Guideline-related action that they would be interested in doing.
IFIC Food and Health Surveys 2011: Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health; performed annually by the International Food Information Council.
Whole Grains are Fastest-Growing Breakfast Ingredient
The Dataessential MenuTrends 2010 survey polled 4,500 U.S. restaurants to learn which ingredients and terms were fastest-growing on breakfast menus. Here are their results:
Whole Grains Gain in Foodservice
Mintel Menu Insights tracks flavor and ingredient trends by regularly reviewing and analyzing more than one million items on 2,400 U.S. food and drink menus. Data analyzing the number of times whole grain foods appear on these menus show that whole grains made great gains in foodservice from Q2 2009 to Q2 2010. Here's Mintel's analysis of the top performers in the whole grains realm, and their increase in support of whole grains during this period:
|#1 in growth
||#2 in growth
|Market segments with the
most whole grain growth
|+ 36.1% Casual Dining||+ 27.5% Fast Casual|
|Meal sections with the
most whole grain growth
|+ 18.2% Appetizers||+ 14.5% Entrées|
Ingredients showing the
|+ 33.3% Rolls||+ 30.5% Linguini|
|Dishes showing the
most whole grain growth
|+ 47.8% Breakfast Sandwiches||+ 31.6% Pasta|
Grocery Shoppers Seek More Whole Grains
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts its "Shopping for Health" survey annually, to gauge shoppers' attitudes to health and nutrition. In December 2009 it surveyed more than 1,423 adult shoppers on their preferences and shopping motivators. When shoppers were asked what they're buying more of this year over last, their top five responses were:
49% whole grains
37% low fat
34% low sodium
Whole Grains among top Functional Foods
83% of consumers named "whole grains and reduced risk of heart disease" when asked about their awareness of various foods and their health benefits. Two years ago, in 2007, only 72% were aware of the whole grain/heart link. Only Calcium/bone health and Vitamin D/bone health scored higher. In the same leading national survey, consumers named fiber (37%), whole grain (34%) and protein (28%) as the three food components they were most likely to choose to improve their own health – and calcium (39%, Citamin C (31%) and whole grain (26%) as the three they'd seek out most often for their kids' health.
2009 IFIC Functional Foods / Foods for Health Consumer Trending Survey, August 2009, performed every 2-3 years by the International Food Information Council.
Americans Believe Whole Grains are Healthiest Foods
Whole grains topped the list when consumers were asked to pick the healthiest foods from a list of 70 foods and beverages generally considered good for you – and garnered fourth place, too, with oatmeal. Whole grains scored 59.5%, followed by broccoli (57.6%), bananas (56.9%), oatmeal (56.1%), green tea (55.1%), garlic (54.6%), spinach (54.6%) and carrots (52.4%).
Decision Analyst, February 2008
Consumers are Boosting their Intake
"Whole grains are of mounting interest to the US shopper. Sixty-one percent of shoppers report boosting their intake of whole grains in the past two years. This represents a spike of 17 points since the previous report in 2005 and a 27-point jump since the 1998 report."
The 2007 HealthFocus Trend Report, A National Study of Public Attitudes and Actions Toward Shopping and Eating
Whole Grains and Fiber Take 3 of Top 6 Spots
When consumers were asked, unaided, to name a specific food or component with health benefits, these were the top six foods named. Compared to a similar survey two years earlier, awareness of whole grains grew 25% from 2005 to 2007.
Top Functional Foods
1. Fruits and vegetables
2. Fish, fish oil, seafood
4. Whole Grains
6. Oats, oat bran, oatmeal
When asked about the specific benefits of the top functional foods, 72% of these consumers (again unaided) associated whole grains with benefits related to cardiovascular disease, and 86% associated both fiber and whole grains with intestinal health.
2007 Consumer Attitudes toward Functional Foods / Foods for Health. IFIC, October 2007
Taste Becomes One of Many Motivators
While it is commonly believed that many consumers eat whole grains despite their stronger taste, we are learning that some consumers have come to prefer the fuller, nuttier taste of whole grains – and only ten percent of those surveyed reported never eating whole grains.
“What is your primary reason for choosing to eat whole grain products?”
Nutritional value ...32%
Increased fiber ...31%
Better taste ...13%
Reduced calories ...4%
Change of pace ...4%
Less refined grains ...3%
None – I don’t eat them ...10%
Harris Interactive Survey of 1,040 adults, conducted January 2006, titled “Healthy Eating: Impact on the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry”
Whole Grains and Health among Top RESTAURANT Trends for 2009
Two surveys from the National Restaurant Association name whole grains as a hot trend for 2009. In the NRA's annual Chef Survey, 1600 kitchen maestros named quinoa the top trend in side dishes, while ancient grains garnered third place in "other food items/ingredients." In the category of "Culinary Themes," nutrition and health took first place.
In a separate survey, NRA members were asked "What trend do you see accelerating the most in 2009?" Taking first place - even over "productivity enhancements to offset rising costs" was "Increasing attention to health/nutrition." The bottom line: whole grains will continue to accelerate in 2009, and the WGC will be there to help consumers and manufacturers benefit.
National Restaurant Association, December 2008
Whole Grain a Top Menu Trend for 2008
Mintel Menu Insights, by tracking restaurant menus across the country, identified 8 top restaurant trends for 2008 and "Grain Goodness" was Number 4. "With the health benefits of whole grains becoming more widely know," stated Mintel, "certain nutritious grains will grow on the American restaurant menu. Kamut, quinoa, barley and millet pack a worldly punch along with healthy, esssential nutrients. These grains are the ideal backdrop for tomorrow's innovative ethnic flavor and health trends."
Wheat Bread Tops Sandwich Choices
A 2007 report from the International Dairy, Deli and Bakery Association (IDDBA) ranked the top 10 favorite breads for luncheon sandwiches. Wheat was number one, followed by Submarine/French (2), Multigrain (3), Sourdough (4), Croissant (5), Rye (6), Tortilla (7), White (8), Flatbread (9) and Pita (10).
Chefs Vote for Whole Grain Bread
In October 2007, the National Restaurant Association asked 1282 chefs to rate 194 different culinary trends as "hot," "passé," or "perennial favorite." 28% rated whole grain bread as a perennial favorite, with another 56% rating it "hot."
Whole Grain Flour Production up 26% in 1 Year
“The 26% growth in whole wheat flour production [in] 2005-06 represented an extra-ordinary pace of increase for an industry as mature as grain-based foods.”
World-Grain.com / Milling & Baking News, May 2007
|Year ending...||hundredweights (cwts)
of whole grain flour
|increase over previous year|
|May 31, 2003||7,133,000||---|
|May 31, 2004||8,559,600||20%|
|May 31, 2005||9,844,000||15%|
|May 31, 2006||12,386,000||26%|
Market growth Q1 2005 vs Q4 2004
According to market research AC Neilsen, the whole grain market grew rapidly at the beginning of 2005:
|Frozen whole grain prepared foods||168%|
|Whole grain pasta||27.4%|
|Whole grain cereal||8.3%|
|Whole grain bread & baked foods||7.4%|
More Growth, Year Ending June 18, 2005
|WG buns (fresh)||23%||$22m|
|WG bread & baked goods||18.3%||$1.1b|
This growth compares to less than one percent growth in the whole grain market overall between 2000 and 2004.