It’s all good when it comes to whole grains, which seem to be on the front lines of the feeding frenzy for better-for-you fare. According to the International Food Information Council’s 2017 Food and Health Survey, 84% of consumers recognize whole grains as good for you, placing the foodservice staple among the top three wellness-promoting components (only vitamin D and fiber edged higher).1
What’s more, 65% of survey participants reported that they are eating more whole grain foods compared to years past. And while millennials are known as a driving force of the better-for-you foodservice trend, results showed that adults between the ages of 50 and 80 (70%) are even more likely to step up their whole grain consumption than 18-49 year olds (62%).1
With so much rah-rah for wellness and so many consumers ga-ga for grains, growth projections for the segment are hitting new heights. Based on data from the global research consulting firm Stratistics MRC, the whole grain and high fiber foods market is expected to climb at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6% through 2022 and reach $46.2 billion comp+ared to $29.4 billion in 2015.1
Given the market’s strength, “no grain, no gain” could be the mantra for foodservice operators eager to feed consumer demand for better-for-you snack options. So it’s no wonder that a global survey of major consumer goods and food companies revealed that in 2016 more than 180,000 products underwent better-for-you reformulations, a quarter of them with increased whole grains.2
Everything Old Is New Again: Gains for Ancient Grains
Ancient grains are also seeing a spike in demand. NPD Group’s SupplyTrack® found that case shipments of quinoa increased by 18.5% and amaranth by 19.4% in the year ending October 2017. The monthly service, which tracks every product shipped from major foodservice broadline distributors to over 700,000 commercial and non-commercial operators, also reported that spelt and farro experienced double-digit growth in case shipments during the same time span.1
NPD attributes the resurgence of these grains—daily staples of civilizations from ancient history—with their perceived health benefits.2 Taste is also a key factor, as Annie Roberts, vice president of SupplyTrack, explained: “The increasing popularity of ancient grains at foodservice outlets is partly due to consumer interest in the grains, but it’s also because chefs appreciate the unique flavors of these grains. Just proves that everything ancient can become new again.”2
Taste Makes Haste in Grain-Driven Menu Innovation
Consumer demand for wellness-oriented nutritional content is a core trend driving grain innovation in snacks and baked goods. “Still, great taste remains the single most-important factor in repeat purchase,” said Pam Stauffer, global marketing program manager for Cargill, a leading producer and distributor of agricultural products.3
Mondelēz International has been steadfast in its commitment to great-tasting grain goodness, increasing whole grains 25% across its product portfolio by close of 2016.4 In 2016, belVita breakfast biscuits enhanced global diets with 65 million pounds of whole grains.4 In the U.S., whole grain options grew with the expansion of TRISCUIT crackers4 and the introduction of GOOD THiNS savory snacks,5 as well as the 2017 rollout of Véa varieties of non-GMO Project Verified seed crackers, world crisps and mini crunch bars. And those are just a few whole grain highlights.
Browse now for a taste of our whole grain snack lineup. What are your thoughts about the popularity of whole grain snacks? How do you see the trend evolving? Feed us a few grains of wisdom below.