Whole Grain Stamp now on 4,000 Products in 21 Countries

Whole Grain Stamp now on 4,000 Products in 21 Countries

Boston Non-Profit Spurs
Whole Grains Momentum

BOSTON, July 28, 2010 - Walk down any aisle in your local grocery store, and you'll see the ubiquitous black-and-gold Whole Grain Stamp, which just achieved a new milestone: it's now on more than 4,000 products. "Before we introduced the Whole Grain Stamp in 2005, consumers found it really challenging to find significant sources of whole grain in their favorite products," said Kara Berrini, Program Manager for the Whole Grains Council. "The Stamp is a straight-forward tool that anyone can use, and because it has encouraged so many companies to produce such a wide variety of whole grain products, it's easier than ever for people to find and enjoy more whole grain options."

While most products sporting the Whole Grain Stamp are in the U.S., the Stamp's effectiveness has caused it to spread over the borders, too, from Canada and Mexico, the UK and Ireland, to Central and South America, New Zealand - and even China, the most recent of 21 countries to see the Whole Grain Stamp on store shelves.

The Whole Grains Council, an initiative of Boston-based 501c3 educational non-profit Oldways, has been focusing its efforts on promoting whole grains for better health since 2003. "Our approach has always been to find positive ways to nudge food manufacturers and restaurants to offer better options, while educating consumers on how 'healthy' and 'delicious' aren't mutually exclusive choices," said Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies for Oldways and the Whole Grains Council (WGC).

Spurred in many cases by the WGC's efforts, whole grains are becoming the new norm for grain foods. Both McDonald's and Burger King now offer whole grain buns on their chicken sandwiches as a matter of course, and this week Kraft Foods announced that it's doubling the whole grains in its cracker portfolio, bringing many popular crackers to 100% whole grain. Supermarket data also show that, for the first time, sales of whole wheat bread have surpassed white bread in stores.

To keep the momentum building this fall, the Whole Grains Council plans two important projects:

Whole Grains Month in September. Celebrated every year in September, Whole Grains Month features consumer contests, manufacturer discounts, and support for health professionals' educational efforts. This year, among other projects, the WGC is encouraging consumers to participate in a social media campaign called "Whole Grains: Chat 'Em Up" to spread the word about whole grains. Click for more.

The Whole Grains Challenge in October. Now in its fourth year, this national awards program for foodservice outlets draws attention to dining rooms and cafeterias offering at least one whole grain choice every day. Awards are given in ten categories, from fine dining and quick serve to workplace, healthcare and schools - and the entries get more creative every year! Click for more.

Studies show that eating whole grains instead of refined grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, with some studies showing reduced risks from as little as one serving daily. Other benefits include reduced risk of asthma, healthier blood pressure levels, and better weight control.

Please contact Alison Clancy (aclancy@oldwayspt.org or 617-896-4888) for more information, including hi-res graphics, interviews with WGC and Oldways managers, or recipes and other content for Whole Grains Month.

About Oldways and The Whole Grains Council
Oldways is an internationally-respected non-profit, changing the way people eat through positive and practical programs grounded in science and tradition. The Whole Grains Council (WGC) is an Oldways program working to increase consumption of whole grains for better health.  The WGC's many initiatives help consumers to find whole grain foods and understand their health benefits; help manufacturers and restaurants to create delicious whole grain foods; and help the media to write accurate, compelling stories about whole grains. You can learn more about both at oldwayspt.org and at wholegrainscouncil.org