Whole Grain Stamp

The Basic Stamp and 100% Stamp

Consumers searching the grocery aisles for authentic whole grain foods now have an effective "search tool" – the Whole Grain Stamp.

Making it easy for shoppers to spot whole grain foods helps close the Whole Grains Gap and promotes a goal long sought by nutrition and medical experts. That's why the Stamp was honored as the Packaging Innovation of the Year in 2006, the year after its introduction. 

An Aid for Busy Shoppers

The Whole Grain Stamps feature a stylized sheaf of grain on a golden-yellow background with a bold black border. Their eye-catching design makes the Whole Grain Stamp easy to spot on food packages. Busy shoppers welcome this easy shortcut for finding products offering at least a half serving of whole grains.

Basic Stamp or 100% Stamp?

There are two different varieties of Stamp, the Basic Stamp and the 100% Stamp.

  • If a product bears the 100% Stamp, then all its grain ingredients are whole grains. There is a minimum requirement of 16g (16 grams) – a full serving – of whole grain per labeled serving, for products using the 100% Stamp.

  • If a product bears the Basic Stamp, it contains at least 8g (8 grams) – a half serving – of whole grain, but may also contain some refined grain. Even if a product contains large amounts of whole grain (23g, 37g, 41g, etc.), it will use the Basic Stamp if it also contains extra bran, germ, or refined flour.

Each Stamp also shows a number, telling you how many grams of whole grain ingredients are in a serving of the product. Even though the image above shows just four different numbers (8g, 23g, 16g, 47g), when you look on your grocery shelves you'll see a wide range of numbers, reflecting the whole grain content of a serving of that specific product.

THE BASIC STAMP THE 100% STAMP
Product may contain some
extra bran, germ, or refined flour.
For products where ALL
of the grain is whole grain.
Minimum requirement: 8g (8 grams)
whole grain per serving.
(one half serving of whole grain)
Minimum requirement: 16g (16 grams)
whole grain per serving.
(a full serving of whole grain)

A few examples. Let's play "name that stamp"

Let's say you have four breakfast cereals sitting on a shelf. They each have a serving size of 30 grams, but they're made up of different ingredients. Imagine we could look behind the scenes and know just how much of each ingredient each cereal contained.

Cereal A: whole oats (22 grams), walnuts (5 grams), raisins (3 grams)
Cereal B: whole oats (15 grams), walnuts (7 grams), raisins (5 grams), coconut (3 grams)
Cereal C: whole oats (27 grams), oat bran (3 grams)
Cereal D: corn flour (12 grams), whole oats (9 grams), raisins (5 grams), sugar (4 grams)

 

Cereal A

This cereal would qualify for the 100% Stamp, 22g or more.
All its grains are whole grains, and it contains more than 16g of whole grain.

 

 

Cereal B

This cereal would qualify for the Basic Stamp, 15g or more.
All its grains are whole grains, but it doesn't meet the minimum of 16g of whole grains required for the 100% Stamp.

 

 

Cereal C

This cereal would qualify for the Basic Stamp, 27g or more.
Although bran is a very health component of grains, it's not a WHOLE grain, so we can't use the 100% Stamp on this product.

 

Cereal D

This cereal would qualify for the Basic Stamp, 9g or more.
The first ingredient is corn flour, a refined grain. Cereal D isn't as robustly healthy as the first three examples, but it might be a good transition choice for someone who previously ate cereals with no whole grain and 12g of sugar (that's 3 teaspoons!). It's all about starting where you are, and working your way to better food choices.

 

You Do the Math... It's Simple

With the Whole Grain Stamp, you don't need to study ingredients or count grams and ounces to meet the whole grain goals in the latest government guidelines. The Stamp makes it easy to get your recommended three servings or more of whole grains each day:

  • Eat three whole grain food products labeled "100% Whole Grain" OR

  • Eat six products bearing ANY Whole Grain Stamp

It's simple. All you need to do is look for the Stamp. But if you enjoy knowing just how much whole grain is in the products you're eating, the Whole Grain Stamps tell you – while also reminding you to aim for at least 48g (48 grams) of whole grain overall, each day.

Older Whole Grain Stamps

Packaging printed earlier than mid-2006 may show an earlier version of the Whole Grain Stamp, as it appeared before we took off the training wheels and introduced Phase II of the Stamp – with more information for consumers.

The graphic is largely the same as today's Stamp, but the text had three versions:

  • "Good Source" identified products containing at least 8g of whole grains per serving.

  • "Excellent Source" identified products containing at least 16g of whole grains per serving.

  • "100% / Excellent" identified products where all the grain is whole grain and that contain at least 16g of whole grains per serving.

These original graphics should be totally phased out by now, as manufacturers have used up packaging inventories and transitioned to new boxes and bags featuring the gram-specific Stamps.

The same rule of thumb applied, though: just LOOK FOR THE STAMP and you'll be assured of getting your recommended three servings or more of whole grains daily.