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The Whole Grains Council continues to spread the word about the health beneﬁts and good taste of whole grains, with scores of media interviews (see some of our most recent ones here) and with many successful programs, including these recent highlights:
The Whole Grain Stamp now in more than 50 countries
In November 2014, the Whole Grain Stamp passed another milestone, as we registered the 10,000th product for use of the Whole Grain Stamp. Check our latest statistics here, on how many products are in how many countries.
“Whole Grains: Breaking Barriers” conference informed industry, media, foodservice
In November 2014, we held the WGC’s seventh successful conference in Boston. In the last decade, whole grains have broken through many barriers. Understanding of their health beneﬁts has increased; more delicious whole grain products are available on store shelves and in restaurants; dietary guidelines and school food policies now mandate them; and consumer attitudes are positive. This conference detailed how we’ve overcome these barriers — and oﬀered in-depth information on how we can overcome today’s biggest remaining barrier: fads and misinformation that can turn people away from healthy whole grains.
Whole Grain Sampling Day — last Wednesday of March
Every year, on the last Wednesday in March, we celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day across the US and even outside the country. It’s a day when everyone focuses on ways to reduce the barriers to having more people try more whole grains. We started this tradition in 2012, and every year the number of partner activities has grown. Recent Sampling Day events have included Facebook contests and Sweepstakes, restaurant BOGOs and gift-card giveaways, online quizzes and education, supermarket samplings and more. Click here to learn more about Whole Grain Sampling Day and how you can get involved.
Whole Grains Month — Every September
Every September is Whole Grains Month. In addition to encouraging companies and consumers to pay attention to the health beneﬁts of whole grains, the Whole Grains Council adds to the fun by having some kind of centerpiece activity. Here’s what we’ve done in recent years:
2015: “Share the Goodness of Whole Grains” Instagram contest
People posted photos of delicious whole grains and told how they shared them with others.
2014: “Make the Switch” recipe contest
Bloggers created whole grain recipes and website visitors voted for their favorites.
2013: “Good Grains for a Good Cause” charity give-away
People nominated their favorite food charities to win a collection of whole grain foods.
2012: “Deal of the Day” manufacturer specials
We featured 30 special whole grain deals, one each day.
2011: “Whole Grain Stampede” sweepstakes
Whole grain lovers told us about their favorite whole grains, and we picked two winners.
Whole Grains Challenge 2007-2012
For seven years, we ran an annual event called The Whole Grains Challenge, through which we encouraged foodservice operators in schools, workplaces, health care facilities and restaurants to serve more creative whole grains — and awarded them prizes and recognition when they did. In our ﬁnal year of the program, we encouraged every US school (public or non-proﬁt private) participating in the National School Lunch Program to participate in the 2012 Whole Grains Challenge – whether they were a “veteran” who had been serving whole grains for a while or a “rookie” who was new to the whole grain world that year. We asked them to send up their stores (and photos) explaining their best tips for successfully serving whole grains in schools – and describing any remaining barriers and challenges they face in implementing whole grains. Two Grand Prize Winners – schools in St Paul MN and Baker City OR – were awarded with a Guest Chef Workshop to help staﬀ get inspired with ideas for more whole grain cooking. The Grand Prize winners and eight additional Top Ten schools also received case upon case of free whole grain foods to serve in their operations.
We concluded the Whole Grains Challenge program in 2012, when whole grains became mandatory in school food programs, at which time we switched our promotional eﬀorts to Whole Grain Sampling Day (see above).
“Whole Grains on Every Plate” conference
In October 2012, we held the WGC’s sixth successful conference in San Antonio, Texas. This event oﬀered fascinating speciﬁcs on how we can get more whole grains onto plates around the world, with useful information on consumer attitudes, new ingredients, new research, and successful promotion programs. Timely topics included a review of the new guidelines for school food, the psychology of the consumer, and the gluten-free trend and supporting science.
“Whole Grains – the New Norm” conference
In January 2011, we held the WGC’s ﬁfth successful conference in Portland, OR. The conference celebrated the many foodservice operations, magazines, schools, government policies, and other circumstances where whole grains are now served, depicted, and hailed, automatically, as the norm. Topics included the psychology of social norms, Foodservice trends, worldwide dietary guidelines for whole grains, and so much more.
Whole Grain Forum in Beijing
At the invitation of Chinese nutrition authorities, WGC senior managers traveled to Beijing to assist the Chinese in oﬀering a nation-wide conference on the health beneﬁts, labeling, and regulation of whole grains. In late 2010, China became the 21st country where shoppers can ﬁnd the Whole Grain Stamp on foods.
2010 Dietary Guidelines endorsed the Whole Grain Stamp approach of 8 grams
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated every ﬁve years, and this time around, one change was a clariﬁcation of 8 grams of whole grain – the standard pioneered by the Whole Grain Stamp – as the minimum to consider a food as whole grain. This comes on the heels of new school food regulations earlier in January 2011, that drew on the Institute of Medicine’s deﬁnition of a “whole grain rich” food as one that contains at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving.
Throughout every year, the WGC also provides a consumer hotline, by phone and email, to answer whole grain questions from the public. We also oﬀer ongoing support to member companies, answering questions about labeling regulations and ingredients; oﬀering marketing suggestions; and using every positive and practical means possible to encourage the creation of more and better whole grain products.