GoodMills Innovations has announced the development of an online Whole Grain Index tool that manufacturers can use to calculate the whole-grain content of their products, then download a seal showing the amount for display on product packaging.
The German milling firm said that the seal makes it possible for consumers to see the percentage of whole grains in a product at a glance so they can easily choose better-for-you items. Manufacturers can also use it to enhance sales opportunities.
"We intend to make the market more transparent and simplify consumer choice when it comes to wholesome products," Michael Gusko, managing director of GoodMills Innovation, said in a statement. "In particular, we want to support the sale of whole grain products that seem not to be healthful at first sight, including baked goods made with light-colored flours that provide the same nutritional value as whole grain products."
Since GoodMills also produces a line of lighter whole-grain flours, the company is understandably interested in letting customers know that just because a baked product doesn't appear dark doesn't mean it has fewer whole grains or is less healthy. The company cited a study published in 2016 in the British Medical Journal stating that even small amounts of whole grains can have a positive impact on human health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and other maladies.
Consumers want these products, too. According to a 2016 survey, 27% said they eat more whole grains than they did six months ago. Manufacturers can use whole grains to add functionality and health benefits to their products, such as additional fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. For those who aren't avoiding gluten, this whole-grains content labeling system could be a welcome guide while shopping for healthier products.
According to Technavio, the global whole-grain foods market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7% from 2017 to 2021. It's not surprising that more than 11,000 products in 55 countries now sport a Whole Grain Stamp to help shoppers identify which products have the increasingly popular ingredient.
Pasta, bread and other traditionally refined grain products now have a number of whole-grain versions. But there are other places where food manufacturers can add whole grains. Portable snacking items, such as cereal or granola bars, could have some healthier grains swapped in for what is there now. As consumers eat more on the go, they would likely be interested in these healthier recipes.
Adding a seal to designate just how much of a product has whole grains is beneficial to the consumer and the manufacturer. Anyone seeking better-for-you products will easily be able to find them. On the other side of the process, a manufacturer who has worked hard to improve the grain quality in a baked good or granola bar will be able to tout the accomplishment. And since the endgame of many product reformulations is improving the product without changing the taste or mouthfeel, a seal can tell the consumer all he or she needs to know.