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Boston, MA — November 12, 2008
The Whole Grains Council is proud to announce the winners of its national Whole Grains Challenge contest for restaurants and foodservice outlets, as well as the ﬁnal total of its recent food drive, called The Whole Grains Giveaway. Story details on both, below.
Whole Grains Challenge Winners
Popularity of and creativity with whole grains are at an all-time high in foodservice, as evidenced by the winners of the Whole Grains Challenge, a national competition for foodservice outlets organized by Oldways and the Whole Grains Council.
In the Challenge, schools, hospitals, workplace cafeterias, and restaurants competed with each other in delivering the most creative and pervasive promotions of whole grain foods during the month of September — which is Whole Grains Month. To be eligible, each foodservice operation had to oﬀer at least one whole grain choice daily. And to be one of ten category winners? Here’s what the top entries did to beat the competition:
Fine Dining: Fair Hill Inn, in Elkton, MD
Fair Hill Inn takes “farm to table” literally, with their own garden, vineyard and apiary. In September, to honor the Whole Grains Challenge, Fair Hill made sure that every item on their three menus — even dessert — featured a whole grain. They also promoted whole grains on their website and in several direct marketing eﬀorts to their mailing list.
Fast Casual / Family Dining: Boloco
This small Boston-based chain, with 13 locations in three states, specializes in quality ingredients — and routinely oﬀers its signature burritos with whole wheat tortillas and brown rice.
Quick Serve: Papa John’s
In 2008 Papa John’s became the ﬁrst national chain to oﬀer the choice of a 100% whole wheat crust on all pizzas. This bold move — which included extensive marketing of the health beneﬁts of whole grains — made Papa John’s the winner in our Quick Serve category.
Healthcare: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Sick kids will get better faster when they’re fed whole wheat pizza, Caesar shrimp in a whole grain wrap, wheatberry bread, and all the other great whole grain options served at CHOP, where the foodservice is run by Aramark.
Workplace: Restaurant Associates at Morgan Stanley
Whole Grains Action Stations… menu options like quinoa with mango and mint, or grilled pears, turkey and brie on a whole grain roll at every meal… “Did You Know?” signs, with information about diﬀerent whole grains… Morgan Stanley’s foodservice, at ﬁve locations in New York City, wowed the judges with their entry.
K-12 (small schools): Mattawan, MI (run by Chartwells)
The Mattawan Wildcats promoted whole grains through their breakfast program, with customized posters all over the school saying “Active Wildcats start their day with whole grains.” Students choosing whole grain options got their whole grain card punched; at the end of the month cards were collected and prizes — including a kayak — were awarded at random. The promotion spilled over to lunch too, with extra whole grain choices added to the menu.
K-12 (medium schools): Newtown, CT (run by Chartwells)
What didn’t Newtown do to win? Intermediate school students enjoyed whole grain samples and voted on their favorites. On ﬁeld day, students took part in a special whole grains obstacle course. Staﬀ handed out stickers to elementary students who chose whole grains at lunch (or brought them from home). The good ideas just kept coming from this school.
K-12 (large schools): Norfolk, VA (independent)
Norfolk Public Schools started serving whole grains more than 3 years, with a whole grain icon on their menus — a pioneering eﬀort long before whole grains were widespread. This year they’ve added whole grain rolls for their hot dogs, meatball subs, ﬁsh hoagies, and chicken sandwiches.
Catering and Lodging: Compass Corporate Catering
Compass has partnered with the American Cancer Society to create its Meeting Well program, whose menus stipulate serving 100% whole grain bread on at least half of all sandwiches, whole grain cereals, whole grain bagels, and side dishes like brown rice, black barley, or quinoa. What a great improvement over another tray of sugary Danishes at your next business meeting!
Other: Compass Group
A special award went to Compass Group, for its 2008 National Nutrition Month Campaign called “Whole Grains 3.0.” This nationwide campaign, which involved all Compass units, educated staﬀ and consumers about the importance of consuming three servings or more of whole grain every day. Through newsletters, chef training sessions, and the distribution of recipes suited to the foodservice environment, Compass showed its commitment to whole grains.
Runners-Up and Honorable Mentions
Another dozen entries fell just short of winning but displayed so much creativity that they deserve special recognition:
Quickserve: UFood Grill, runner-up
Healthcare: Guam Memorial Hospital, runner-up; Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, honorable mention
Workplace: Restaurant Associates at Hearst Café 57, runner-up; Restaurant Associates at McKinsey & Co. and Restaurant Associates at Conde Nast, honorable mention
K-12 (small): Needville Indep. School District, TX, runner-up; Breck School, Golden Valley, MN, honorable mention
K-12 (medium): Orchard View Public Schools, Muskegon, MI, runner-up; De Soto Public Schools, MO, honorable mention
K-12 (large): San Diego Uniﬁed School District, CA, runner-up; Los Angeles Uniﬁed School District, CA, honorable mention
Winners will receive an attractive framed medal commemorating their success, a free lifetime restaurant membership in the WGC and valuable whole grain prizes (click here to see details) — so they can serve even more whole grains to their customers.
This is the second year that the WGC has run the Whole Grains Challenge during September. Foodservice operations who missed this year’s contest are invited to start planning now for the September 2009 competition.
129.9 Tons Donated in Whole Grain Food Drive
In other news, at a time when too many families are cutting back on healthy foods due to rising prices, a group of civic-minded companies have banded together to donate 129.9 tons of whole grain food to schools, food pantries, homeless shelters and other charities.
The food drive, called The Whole Grains Giveaway, was organized by the Whole Grains Council (WGC), a group that’s part of the Boston-based non-proﬁt Oldways.
“I’m very moved by the incredible generosity of these Whole Grains Council members,” said Kara Berrini, Program Manager for the Whole Grains Council. “Whole grains need to be more available to everyone, in every economic group, and the Giveaway is a huge step toward making that happen.” Berrini praised the companies for giving away enough food to provide an extra serving of whole grains to the combined populations of Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, Montana and New Hampshire.
Those contributing to the Whole Grains Giveaway included:
Barrel O’ Fun Snack Foods
Bob’s Red Mill
Cream of Wheat
Great Harvest Bread Company
Indian Harvest Specialtifoods
King Arthur Flour
Mary’s Gone Crackers
NatureBake / Dave’s Killer Bread
Our Daily Grain
Ozery’s Pita Break
World of Grains
Information about each company’s donations can be found on the WGC website at wholegrainscouncil.org/newsroom/whole-grains-giveaway .
For interviews with WGC managers, with Giveaway donors, or with Challenge winners, or for hi-res photos, please contact Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies for Oldways and the Whole Grains Council. 617.896.4820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.