The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Whole Grains Consumption Up

Whole Grains Consumption Up

In the News

October 25, 2009

Whole grains consumption is up 20% since 2005, thanks to greater awareness about these beneficial grains, an effective labeling system, and the increased availability of whole grains at foodservice locations throughout the country. Consumption rose 38% for those aged 18 to 34.

The voluntary labeling system introduced four years ago by the Whole Grains Council was designed to foster consumer recognition of whole grains, and the system has proven successful. Labels come in two forms: the “100% whole grains” label, and the “basic whole grains” label. To qualify for the label, products must contain a half serving (8g) or more of whole grains per serving.

Today, 3000 products in fourteen countries carry the label, and 65% of those products contain a full serving or more of whole grain. More than a third of the stamped products also qualify for the added 100% banner for products where all the grain is whole grain.

The black and gold labels are now well established in retail channels to aid consumers in their search for whole grain products. According to the Whole Grains Council, consumers will see the stamp on grocery shelves more than a billion times this year. 

“We’re gratified to see the Whole Grain Stamp established as a trusted standard in the United States, and now spreading beyond our border to help shoppers in other lands,” said Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food & Nutrition Strategies for the Whole Grains Council and for Oldways, its parent organization.

Increasing whole grains consumption is important as repeated studies over the past few decades have shown that those who consume them instead of refined grains lower their risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, while also improving their weight control, blood pressure levels and gum health.

Consumers appear to be taking these healthy messages to heart. In fact, the majority of shoppers report boosting their intake of whole grains in the past two years. 

During a typical two-week period in 2008, 60% of Americans consumed at least one whole grain product; only 35% did so in 2006. Launches of new products making a whole grain claim have grown sharply since 2000. In 2008, more than 17 times as many new whole grain products entered the marketplace as compared to the number of products launched eight years prior. 

For a list of stamped products please visit: