The new federal Dietary Guidelines urge Americans to eat three servings or more of whole grains daily. But how can consumers tell whatÂ¹s a whole grain and what isnÂ¹t? The Whole Grain Stamp, being introduced March 17 at Natural Foods Expo West, is a quick and easy tool to help consumers find delicious whole grain foods.
The Whole Grain Stamp has three versions, all featuring the same eye-catching black and gold design. The "Good Source" Stamp is for foods containing a half serving of whole grains, while the "Excellent Source" Stamp goes on products offering a full serving of whole grains. The third level "Excellent Source / 100%" is for foods with a full serving of whole grains and containing no refined grains.
"Whole Grain Stamps are easy to spot," says Mike Orlando, Chairman of the Whole Grains Council and head of Sunnyland Mills. "WeÂ¹re amazed at how quickly major national companies have adopted the program and redesigned their packaging to include the Stamps." The Whole Grains Council, which has been developing the Stamp program since 2003, made the graphics available to qualifying companies in late January, following release of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. Less than two months later, the Stamp is beginning to appear on retail shelves.
The GuidelinesÂ¹ new emphasis on whole grains made the depth of consumer confusion on this topic readily apparent. "WeÂ¹ve seen dozens of media articles tortuously describing ÅHow to identify whole grainsÂ¹ since the Dietary GuidelinesÂ¹ release," says K. Dun Gifford, President of Oldways Preservation Trust, the Boston food issues think tank that coordinates Whole Grains Council projects. "Our Stamp program eliminates all that confusion, so that consumers can focus on the health and good taste of whole grains."
With the Whole Grain Stamp, consumers no longer need to study the fine print of ingredient labels. They can simply choose three "Excellent Source" products or six "Good Source" foods, and know theyÂ¹re getting their three servings of whole grains.
Great Harvest Bread Company began rolling out the Whole Grain Stamp in early February at its franchise bakeries across the country. BobÂ¹s Red Mill, Bruegger's Bagels, King Arthur Flour, Sunnyland Mills, Kashi, Lotus Foods, Arrowhead Mills and Roman Meal Bread all are following immediately, with many of these companies showing "Stamped" products at Expo West in Anaheim, March 17-20. A rollout schedule showing when specific companies will introduce the Whole Grain Stamp can be found at www.wholegrainscouncil.org/WholeGrainStamp.html.
The Whole Grains Council is a consortium of industry, scientists and chefs working with Oldways Preservation Trust to increase consumption of whole grains for better health. Its fifty members include large companies and small, from General Mills and Kellogg to BarbaraÂ¹s Bakery and Hodgson Mill. (A full list is at www.wholegrainscouncil.org/members.html.) The Council's many initiatives help manufacturers to create delicious whole grain products; help consumers to find whole grain foods and understand their health benefits; and help the media to write accurate, compelling stories about whole grains. You can learn more about the Whole Grains Council at www.wholegrainscouncil.org and about Oldways at www.oldwayspt.org.
The following members of the Whole Grains Council will be exhibiting at Natural Foods Expo West in Anaheim on March 17-20, and can provide journalists with information about the Whole Grain Stamp program:
Barbara's Bakery 3576
Bob's Red Mill 3526
Country Choice 4361
Giusto's Specialty Foods Fresh Ideas 40
Grain Millers 3113
Hodgson Mill 3781
Kamut Association 4136
King Arthur Flour 4190
Lotus Foods 3794
Mary's Gone Crackers 4342
Nature's Path 3950
Nu-World Amaranth 4810
Rudi's Organic Bakery 4056
The Baker 3812
For questions about the Whole Grains Council, for graphics of the Whole Grain Stamps or to arrange interviews with any of the CouncilÂ¹s leaders, please contact Cynthia Harriman, Whole Grains Council Coordinator, at 617.896.4820.