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Dietary Guidelines likely to boost whole grain consumption: Report

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 06-Jan-2011

The release of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans is among several factors likely to boost sales of whole grain and added-fiber products, according to a new report from Global Industry Analysts (GIA).

The report, entitled “Whole Grain and High Fiber Foods: A Global Strategic Business Report”, projects that the global market for whole grain and high fiber foods will be worth about $24bn by 2015 as consumers become increasingly health and fitness conscious. In addition, it suggests that the imminent publication of new US dietary guidelines will affect not only the United States, but influence global nutrition trends. The new guidelines are expected to continue recommendations for whole grain foods in preference to those containing refined grains.

“The impact of these specifications is not just limited to the US, but is expected to significantly alter the consumption trends across the world,” the market researcher said.

“About 100 million Americans suffer from borderline or high cholesterol levels, further enhancing the significance of a cholesterol lowering diet involving whole grain and fiber...Though both whole grains and fibers are vital for ensuring optimal health benefits for human beings, whole grains are being promoted extensively as they are also abundant in fiber content. Lately, consumers have shown a preference for natural breads and sandwiches comprising vitamins, whole grains and fiber.”

US market dominance

The market research organization named the United States as the largest regional market for whole grain and high fiber foods, and said its dominance is likely to continue, especially with increased adoption of whole grain wheat, barley, rice and specialty grains. Cereal is the largest segment of the whole grain and high fiber market, it found. Thirty-five percent of global cereal launches in 2009 claimed to be functional cereals with health benefits – and use of whole grains was one of the year’s most popular cereal claims, alongside reduced fat and sugar.

Struggling to meet recommendations

Nevertheless, previous findings have shown that few Americans consume their recommended three servings of whole grains per day. Research organization the NPD Group found in 2009 that American consumption of whole grains was up 20 percent since changes to US dietary guidelines and the introduction of the Whole Grain Stamp packaging symbol in 2005, but whole grain consumption still stood at only 11 percent of total grain consumption. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended that at least half of a person’s intake of grain-based foods should be whole grain.

As well as providing high levels of fiber, whole grains provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They have also been shown to help reduce the risk factors for a number of diseases, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and to play a part in weight control.

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