Senior analyst at Mintel David Browne said: “2010 has been particularly strong so far, with 651 whole grain products launched across all food categories in the US. At this rate, 2010 should be the biggest year ever in terms of total whole grain product launches.”
Market researchers at Mintel suggest that the introduction of the Whole Grains Council stamp in 2005 has been a driving factor behind the rapid rise in whole grain claims as consumer recognition of the symbol has increased and manufacturers have responded to consequent demand.
The whole grain claim has been consistently in the top 20 product claims since 2005 and has increased every year, Mintel said. It appeared on 2.3 percent of products launched in 2005 – rising to 5.6 percent in 2010.
The Whole Grain Stamp program provides manufacturers with two different versions: one that indicates that a product is made with 100 percent whole grain and provides a full 16-gram serving of whole grain per portion; and a basic Whole Grain Stamp that requires a product to provide at least eight grams of whole grain per portion, equivalent to a half serving of whole grains.
The 2005 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise that everyone over the age of nine should consume at least three servings of whole grains every day.
And whole grain products appear to be getting a boost from the trend toward ‘natural’ foods. While nearly six percent of all food products launched in 2010 have the whole grain claim, this compares to18 percent of all-natural food products.
Browne added: “While sales of these products are still small, there are a lot of good signs for the whole grain market... Innovations in unexpected places, including beverages and dairy products, will also drive sales.”
Director of consumer insights at the sales data tracking organization SPINS Mary Ellen Lynch said that substantial sales growth is due primarily to performance of Whole Grains Council-certified natural bread and baked goods (up 221 percent); salty and savory snacks (up 133 percent) and energy bars (up 76 percent).