Interest in the health benefits of wholegrains is continuing to rise globally and is reflected in levels of new product activity According to Innova Market Insights, the number of food and drink launches marketed on a wholegrain platform rose nearly 10 percent in the 12-months ending this March, totalling 3 percent of all new product launches in that timeframe.
Bakery and cereal products accounted for two-thirds of total wholegrain launches. Breakfast cereals and bakery products accounted for 60 percent of the wholegrain launches, with breakfast cereals leading, just ahead of bread products, then biscuits and cereal bars.
General Mills has switched to whole grains for all its brands and started to actively market many of them, including the market leading Cheerios brands, on that platform.
Whole grain positioning has largely moved away from its initial heart-health emphasis in most cases, with the exception of Shredded Wheat and Shredded Wheat Bitesize, where there is still strong heart health imagery used on pack in terms of the product name inside a heart shape. International brands such as Shreddies now focus on sustained energy release and Cheerios on general health and wellness, while Weetabix, carrying the "The Wholegrain Cereal" strapline, focuses on a more general health message about goodness and the "essential nutrients" in the product.
"The wholegrains concept appears to be continuing to go from strength to strength in the U.S. and indeed interest appears to be spreading internationally following on from this lead," says LuAnn Willians, head of research at Innova Market Insights. "Outside the U.S., the wholegrain message appears to be focused more on a general health and wellbeing platform, while in the U.S. there is still a strong focus on heart health, particularly in the cereals sector."