We carried out a wide range of activities for Whole Grain Sampling Day on April 3rd, 2013. Here are some of the bloggers, schools and companies that made a commitment to celebrate with us.

Whole Grain Ambassadors
We partnered with prominent food bloggers who wrote about WGSD on April 3rd. We sent each of these top-ranking bloggers information about the health benefits of whole grains and a treasure chest of whole grain product samples. They used their forum to review the products, conduct giveaways, share recipes, or simply tout the nutritional benefits and great taste of whole grains.  Check out their Sampling Day blogs:

Whole Grain Toast
The WGC Team led a virtual “whole grain toast” at noon on April 3rd and invited consumers, manufacturers and restaurants to join the fun. We urged everyone to get inspired and create their own version of a toast to whole grains.  Photos and videos were posted all over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and just about every social media forum there is. Here’s to Whole Grains! 

Supermarket Samplings
Several supermarket chains connected with WGC Members to conduct in-store sampling events. Working closely with supermarket dietitians through our sister program, the Oldways Nutrition Exchange, we created and shared a Toolkit of Sampling Day resources, including handouts, a store tour, a PowerPoint presentation, cooking demo, recipes, and more. We’ve also heard from four WGC Members, Mondelez International, Dr. Kracker, Popsalot and Upfront Foods about samplings they organized with retailers like Whole Foods, Hy-Vee, Stop & Shop, Shoprite, Lueken’s, Vicente Foods and Belle Foods. 

Consumer Giveaway
This year, we are pleased to see WGC Members giving away their products to consumers. Better4U Foods ran a “Whole Grains Are Better4U” sweepstakes on their Facebook page from April 1 — April 5, 2013.  Entrants had the chance to receive their choice of 5 FREE Multigrain Frozen Pizzas!


Compass Group, a leading food management company, has had a long-standing commitment to serving and promoting whole grains to their customers. This year, they launched a new concept for Sampling Day, called The Market, where they offered samples of whole grain dishes, shared recipes and sold whole grain ingredients so the customers could recreate the dishes at home. “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 Whole Grain Sampling Day again this year.” said Deanne Brandstetter, MBA, RD, Vice President Nutrition and Wellness.

Cater To You is a foodservice provider and had all 10 of their private school accounts participate with tasting tables and action stations.  They also used posters and handouts about whole grains from the WGC.

Verizon joined forces with us again this year. Kelly Zanczewski, Associate Director of Health & Wellness at Verizon shares, “On April 10th, 2013, 35 Verizon cafes across the nation handed out over 2,300 healthy whole grain samples to their employees as a part of National Sample Whole Grains Day.  The sampling events provided our employees with the opportunity to try a variety of whole grains that they might not typically purchase from the store. We had a tremendous positive response from employees and many bought the featured whole grain in the café for lunch that day. Healthy whole grain recipe books were provided at the events too.”

Boston University, in collaboration with Sargent Choice Nutrition Center, offered special whole grain dishes in all three dining halls, held cooking demonstrations, gave away samples, and set up information tables for students and faculty. Plus — just like last year – BU students helped our team with distributing whole grain samples throughout the city of Boston.

Sodexo at George Mason University highlighted whole grains at  six dining restaurants on campus during Whole Grain Sampling Day.  A whole grain sampling/nutrition table was set up outside for students to visit and sample a variety of whole grains such as wheat, quinoa, farro, wheat berries and barley.  Students also had the opportunity to play “cornhole”, a popular lawn game.

Bradley University. Danielle Gehrke, RD, LDN, Dining Services Wellness Director with ARAMARK Higher Education at Bradley University set up a table in Geisert Dining Hall for students to sample plain quinoa and a Tabbouleh salad.  Recipes were provided along with whole grain informational handouts.  Danielle also shared with students where to find whole grain options in the other dining locations on campus.  Danielle says “we have worked very hard to incorporate more whole grains into the dining hall cycle menus such as whole grain hamburger buns, breads, pastas, cereals.  We feature daily hot whole grain sides like brown rice and quinoa on our Better 4 You hot bar which consists of a lean protein entree, vegetarian entree, whole grain side and fresh vegetable side to make it easy for students to find better for you options.”

Northfield Mount Herman, a boarding school in Massachusetts, had tables set up in the dining hall with samples of whole grain dishes and informational sheets, and quizzed students on identifying uncooked whole grains.  The lunch menu featured a few delicious whole grain items.

Marquette University’s Student Health Service encouraged students to incorporate more whole grains into their diets by setting up a booth on campus for National Whole Grains Sampling Day. The booth had promo items, informational handouts, recipes, and samples of whole grain foods for students to try. In addition to the Sampling Day, we’ve added a web page to our Student Wellness website that focuses solely on the importance of whole grains as a healthy nutritional choice.

Catallia Mexican Foods hosted a giveaway throughout the day for foodservice clients to win a case of 100% whole grain whole wheat tortillas. 


Boston Duck Tour
Based in Boston, the WGC team once again climbed aboard a Boston Duck Boat to hand out samples of whole grain products donated by WGC members.  We ventured through the city raining whole grain goodies on commuters, sightseers and students, and even made a special delivery to the mayor’s office. 

Whole Grain Headlines
Just as in 2012, the April 2013 issue of Cooking Light focused on “Eating More Whole Grains” as part of their 12 Healthy Habits series.  They also used social media to talk up whole grains.

Special thanks to the WGC member companies who sent samples for the Bloggers and/or the Duck Boat, or who contributed to the RD Toolkit: Among Friends Baking Mix, Barbara’s Bakery, Better 4 U, Bob’s Red Mill, Carl Brandt / Mestemacher, Dare Foods, Dr. Kracker, Fabe’s, Freekehlicious, Frontier Soups, General Mills, Goose Valley, Indian Harvest, HomeFree, Jovial, Late July Snacks, Lundberg Family Farms, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Mondelez International, Pamela’s Products, Real McCoy’s, Tasty Bites, Upfront Foods and Way Better Snacks.