Example of the 50%+ Stamp

This month, we are pleased to be celebrating the first anniversary of the launch of our popular 50%+ Stamp. Of the almost 12,000 products registered in our database, just under ⅓ of them are approved for the 50%+ Stamp, and roughly 1000 of those are new or reformulated products that have been registered over the last year.

Development of the Stamp Program

Starting in 2005, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have encouraged consumers to make at least half of their grains whole, and our Whole Grain Stamp program was launched the same year these new whole grain recommendations were released. Our Stamp program was created to offer manufacturers a way to communicate the whole grain content of their products, and to supply consumers with a handy tool for comparing the amount of whole grain in different products. Our Stamp program began with two, now-iconic, black & gold Stamps:

  • the 100% Stamp for products that contain at least 16g of whole grain (a full serving), and that make all their grain whole,
  • and the Basic Stamp for foods that contain a minimum of 8g of whole grain (a half serving), and may be made with some combination of whole and refined grain ingredients.

In the intervening years, as the breadth of whole grain research has grown and our collective understanding of the myriad health benefits of whole grain consumption has increased, we noticed that many consumers wanted to be able to tell when they were buying a product that had been made primarily with whole grains. It seemed like a no-brainer to create a Stamp that would help consumers ensure they were meeting the Dietary Guidelines’ recommendation.

So, in January 2017, we launched a new Stamp:

  • the 50%+ Stamp for products that contain a minimum of 8g of whole grain (a half serving), and which make at least half of their grain whole.

The 50%+ Stamp in Action

Panera's Ancient Grain Bread

Around the same time we were announcing the addition of the 50%+ Stamp to our program, Panera Bread was preparing to launch an expansion of their Panera at Home sliced loaves – and all three of the new breads – a 100% Whole Wheat loaf, a Rustic White, and an Ancient Grains bread – were going to be made with a minimum of 50% whole grain. The timing could not have been more perfect!

Sara Burnett, the Director of Wellness and Food Policy, told us that the driving forces behind the company’s emphasis on whole grain are multi-fold. Consumer preference for whole grains is growing and consumers are becoming increasingly familiar with ingredients like ancient and sprouted grains. Additionally, at the core of Panera’s company philosophy is the desire to make their food wholesome while maintaining craveability, and to nudge consumers toward better-for-you foods.

In a culture where dietary choices are often framed around what you shouldn’t eat, it can be so refreshing to hear positive messages that encourage you to enjoy and savor the whole-grain-goodness of your food. Burnett pointed out “The absence of ingredients like artificial preservatives is a great place to start, but it’s even more powerful when you have a positive message about tasty, nutritious ingredients in your product, like whole grains.” Our sentiments exactly!

Not only that, but whole grain products offer you so much more than their refined grain counterparts. When you’ve got a choice between bread made of plain-tasting, even – dare we say – bland, refined flour, and bread that’s packed with the rich, nutty, toasty flavor of whole grains (with all the nutrients that accompany them), we think it’s an easy decision.

On that note, we hope you’ll join us in raising a slice to toast the first year our 50%+ Stamp and all the great products using it. (Caroline)

assorted Panera breads

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