Assorted Grains in bowls and slices of bread

When people are looking for functional foods to improve various health concerns, odds are, they’re turning to whole grains. The 2022 IFIC Food and Health Survey, published on May 18, 2022, sheds new light on consumer understanding of whole grains and health.

The survey, which polled 1,005 census-representative American adults, captured Americans’ wide-ranging beliefs and preferences when it comes to food and health. The survey captured a growing interest in environmental and social sustainability over previous years, a growing proportion of people who online grocery shop, and more frequent snacking, among other findings.

When looking at particular health concerns, whole grains were frequently chosen a food group that could offer health benefits and reduce certain health risks. Heart health is one of the strongest areas of whole grain research, and consumers seem to be getting the message. Of people who report eating specific foods to improve cardiovascular health, more than half (53%) report that they consume whole grains for this reason.

The survey results also spoke to the pandemic-induced stressors that we’re facing, with immune function and energy/fatigue being top health concerns. Of those who consumed foods to help with these issues, over a third of respondents report that they eat whole grains to improve energy/reduce fatigue and improve immune function, at 33% and 34% respectively.

While extreme low-carb diets cycle through from time to time, the reality is that most consumers prefer a more balanced approach to health and wellbeing in which whole grains are an important part of the equation. Of those trying to improve digestive/gut health, 35% report eating whole grains for that reason. Similarly, of those trying to lose weight, 42% eat whole grains for that reason.

The 2022 Food and Health Survey results are in line with other data showing strong consumer awareness of whole grains’ role in health promotion. Our own 2021 Whole Grain Consumer Insights Survey found that 82% of consumers choose whole grains for health reasons, with taste being the number two motivation for choosing whole grains.

With the growing number of creative whole grain foods available, consumers no longer have to choose between better tasting and better for you. To take a deeper dive into whole grain trends and health, we invite you to explore our health studies database and our 2021 Whole Grain Consumer Insights Survey. (Kelly)


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