Here are some companies that made a commitment to Whole Grain Sampling Day by offering whole grain sampling opportunities, discounts, or other good deals on April 4th, 2012. We hope their stories inspire you for 2013:

At Whole Grains Council HQ, we wanted to set the tone and inspire others by doing something very cool ourselves, so we commandeered a “Duck Boat” from Boston Duck Tours for the day on April 4th. We went tootling around Boston, handing out whole grain samples, “Just Ask for Whole Grains” buttons, and other goodies all over the city. Several WGC members, like Dr. Kracker, Jovial Foods, HomeFree Treats, Mary’s Gone Crackers and MuffinTown, sent us samples to hand out to the adoring crowds.

Check out our blog to see what actually happened.

Other partners participating in Boston were North End Market Tours, who shared whole grain gift bags with treats from Jovial Foods and Goose Valley Rice and gave guests whole grain shopping tips. Massachusetts General Hospital served whole grain salads in their Eat Street Café, and Brigham & Women’s Hospital showcased whole grain menu offerings and tastings along with health benefits from their RDs. 


The very creative Grains for Health Foundation in Minneapolis put together a flash mob in front of the student union at the University of Minnesota’s campus during lunch hour. Food science and nutrition student volunteers danced up a storm, then handed out an information flier on whole grain benefits and free samples of whole grain foods donated by MOM Brands and Kraft Foods. Grains for Health also coordinated local supermarket tastings.

Compass Group and Morrison Management, the leaders in food management have a long-standing commitment to serving and promoting whole grains to their customers. On April 4th, Compass locations offered tastings in a variety of settings including corporate cafes, healthcare facilities, public and independent schools. “Tastings are a great way to reduce the fear of the unknown that some customers have when trying a new food. We use this strategy often to introduce new healthful foods. We are excited to participate in the first Whole Grain Sampling Day,” said Deanne Brandstetter, MBA, RD, Vice President Nutrition and Wellness.

Chef Cary Neff, Vice President of Corporate Culinary Services for Morrison Management Specialists says, “Whole Grain Sampling Day is an everyday occurrence for us. As culinary policy, all Morrison healthcare accounts provide at least 2 whole grain offerings each day and our signature concept, Flavors 450, features whole grain tasting on a daily basis.”

Verizon offices nationwide have received awards for their health and wellness programs. Kelly Zanczewski, Health & Wellness Coordinator in Basking Ridge New Jersey says, “Our cafes on a national level are participating in this event.”  At her location 3,000 employees had the opportunity all week long to taste free samples of grains and make meal selections at their whole grain bar in the cafeteria.

Rex Healthcare, in Raleigh, NC showed their dedication with a multi-faceted plan on Sampling Day.  Chef Ryan Conklin supervises the 1000 patient meals, 5000 staff and 3500 customers daily, and told us of their efforts:

  • Created a sampling area outside our café, where they offered menu items to taste, like wheat berries, quinoa, farro, bulgur, barley, and brown rice.
  • Their chef and RD were available for Q & A with customers about cooking techniques of these specific items and the benefits of eating whole grains with our customers. Our Café serves approximately 3500 customers daily.
  • Each patient meal was delivered with a card containing information about the benefits of eating whole grain.
  • We will also be marketing this in our “Daily Blast”, which is an email newsletter sent to over 5000 co-workers daily, promoting our whole grains sampling on April 4th, as well as talking about some of the benefits of eating whole grains.


McDonald’s – which uses the Whole Grain Stamp to promote its growing number of whole grain options – tweeted about whole grains and offered coupons to Twitter followers.

Arby’s also participated with social media promotions. “We see this as a great opportunity to highlight the whole grain options available on every sandwich at Arby’s,” said Jo Ann Herold, Vice President of Brand Marketing for Arby’s.

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels test-marketed two whole grain pretzels at selected stores and offered a coupon for two whole grain pretzel flavors.

Nature’s Own Bread celebrated by talking up whole grains on Facebook and Twitter before and on April 4th, and offering coupons.

Mestemacher Bread samples were given away at a multitude of locations, including in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

FreshDirect, a home delivery grocery service, included samples in delivery orders and Hands-on Grain, a cooking school, sampled Mestemacher bread and educated about whole grains.

Ellie Krieger, USA Weekend magazine contributor, cookbook author, TV personality and WGC Culinary Advisor, featured a whole grain pasta salad in her April 6-8 column “CookSmart” in USA Weekend magazine. Ellie promoted Whole Grain Sampling Day through social media.

Silvia Nena, a Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach, shared a Whole Grain Roasted Vegetable Burrito on her website on April 4 and promoted the day in social media.

Aleece’s Pita Chips shared samples of their whole grain pita chips.

Biscotti Brothers included a free package of their whole grain Cranberries Blueberries and Oats Granotti with each internet order placed that week.

Flourish Baking Company scheduled a special sampling of their vegetable pot pies on April 4th. Visitors were invited to stop by their production kitchen and taste their pie crust made of a blend of seven whole grain flours.

Luke Paper Company, a Maryland-based manufacturing company, planned to host a sampling for employees and include information about the health benefits of whole grains.

Cooking Light magazine is making “Go For More Grains” its featured focus for the entire month of April, and encouraging its readers to “Enjoy three servings of whole grains per day.” 

Heritage Wheat Conservancy offered a free 5-lb bag of organic einkorn whole grain or a free 4-lb bag of organic einkorn flour to the first three chefs who agree to serve einkorn on Whole Grain Sampling Day. Einkorn, an ancient wheat with a unique light, rich taste, is twice as high in protein.

Home Farm Store at Ayrshire Farms in Virginia celebrated by making ALL of their sandwiches on whole grain breads and offered additional options, like whole grain salads and pilafs.  

Marion’s Smart Delights, the whole grain and allergy concious baking company, partnered with Whole Foods Market to offer samples of their Gluten-free, Kosher and Allergy-Friendly cookie and muffin mixes on April 4th.

Indian Harvest, the Minnesota-based supplier of specialty rices, exotic grains and heirloom beans, planned two great initiatives. On the retail side, they donated whole grain products to 23 local grocery stores, so the stores could offer samplings. On the foodservice side, they used Facebook to conduct a contest asking chefs and directors to plan creative promotions for April 4 and offered to supply a free 12-pound case of whole grains to the five with the most creative, interesting, or widest-reaching ideas.

Manufacturers and Supermarkets Working Together
Several WGC member companies – ConAgra Mills, Mestemacher Bread, Attune Foods, Cookiehead Snacks, Biscotti Brothers, Muffin Town, Y.E. Distributers and Chabaso Bakery –  stepped forward and offered to work with supermarkets on sampling events. A number of supermarket chains – Giant Eagle, Walmart, ShopRite, Byerly’s, Hy-Vee, Mariano’s Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Skogen’s.