The Evolving Whole Grain

As grain processing and consumer tastes progress, processors answer with new products.

By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Technical Editor

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FutureCeuticals’ AncientTrim mix of “ancient” grains (amaranth, barley, buckwheat, durum, chia, quinoa, spelt, and millet) can fit into a variety of applications.

Grain processing must evolve from classical milling into specific whole-grain treatments, according to Grain Miller’s Shubert. These include stabilization of the highly unstable oil-containing tissues to textural treatments that improve mouth feel and flavor. Whole-grain ingredients properly designed can take on forms such as flakes, nuggets, flours and meals that positively affect rheology, water activity, manufacturing yields and shelf-life.

A new entry in the field is AncientTrim from FutureCeuticals ( Momence, Ill. A mix of “ancient” grains (amaranth, barley, buckwheat, durum, chia, quinoa, spelt, and millet), it can fit into a variety of applications, from smoothies to bars to baked goods. “AncienTrim appeals to consumers desiring greater diversity in their diet and wanting to move beyond wheat,” says Hartley Pond, vice president of technical sales at FutureCeuticals. “Today’s consumer recognizes the value of a broad spectrum of whole-grain carbohydrates in their diet.

“With wheat making up 70 percent of America's grain diet, we are denying ourselves the benefits of including nutrition our ancestors enjoyed,” he continues. “With AncienTrim, we are rediscovering the valuable nutrition found in other grains beyond wheat, including a broader amino acid profile and vitamin and mineral content.”

Bridging the gap between traditional whole grains and those products consumers are used to may drive more food chains into the whole grain business. “Many fast-food chains are already beginning to offer whole grains,” says Harriman of Oldways. “Food can be fast and affordable as well as healthy and delicious, as these restaurants demonstrate. Probably the best example is Papa John’s new option of a 100 percent whole-wheat pizza crust on any pizza.” Pond agrees: “Fast-food restaurants have been in the process of reinventing themselves to provide a healthier and more diverse menu.”

The whole-grain movement is here to stay. No doubt it will take time for some consumers to adapt, but the transition tools in the form of new products are increasingly becoming part of standard menus.

Note to Marketing
The new generation of whole-grain products means whole grains can become part of any menu. Merely announcing “whole grain” on your packaging is a powerful attraction.

But it doesn’t have to remain just an announcement. Since 1999, the FDA has allowed the health claim: “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”

The current whole-grain frenzy is not limited to packaged foods. Increasingly, foodservice accounts are happy to carry the whole grain message on menus and placards. Your foodservice accounts may be thrilled to see you reformulated a popular product with whole grains – or to introduce them to a new one.

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