Bakers Journal

Consumers confused about whole grain says U.K. study

November 14, 2017
By Bakers Journal

Vevey, Switzerland – There is significant confusion among consumers about how much whole grain should be consumed daily, and some of that comes from a lack of knowledge about which foods contain whole grain, says a new U.K. study.

While seven in 10 people believe it is important to eat whole grain, the vast majority admit they don’t know how much they should consume. Just a third of those surveyed think they eat enough, said a news release by Cereal Partners Worldwide, the producer of Nestlé Breakfast Cereals, which commissioned research firm Censuswide to carry out the study.

The study of more than 2,000 people in the U.K. suggests part of the confusion may be due to people not knowing how much whole grain to consume or where to find whole grain, with a third saying they think people don’t know what foods contain it.

Perhaps surprisingly, seven per cent think bananas contain whole grain. One in 10 believe it is typically found in white bread and another seven per cent think it is in white rice. There is also a misperception that whole grain can be found in seeds and nuts. In fact, none of these foods contain whole grain, which is commonly found in whole-grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, wholemeal bread and porridge oats.


The research also finds that a significant number of people don’t eat enough whole grain because they do not understand the benefits of doing so.

While more than half of participants cited positive messages such as that whole grain can be high in fibre and good for digestion, the broader benefits are not as widely known, the study found. Only half of those polled believe it is good for the heart and only 13 per cent think it can help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Despite the benefits, only three countries – the United States, Netherlands and Denmark – have a quantitative recommendation for whole grain. The U.S. recommends a minimum of three servings per day (equating to at least 48 g), while Denmark recommends between 64 and 75 g per day, depending on gender.

“Our new research shows that people need help knowing how much whole grain to eat and importantly why getting more whole grain in our diets matters,” said Gharry Eccles, U.K. regional vice-president of Cereal Partners Worldwide.

“We see an opportunity for governments, academics and industry to back a global commitment to help inform people about whole grain and to increase the availability of whole-grain foods. The first step on this journey is to agree to a set of global guidelines for recommended daily whole-grain intake.”

The findings were released to coincide with the 2017 International Whole Grain Summit taking place in Vienna from Nov. 13-15. The event brings together stakeholders in the whole-grain supply chain to review the latest scientific thinking, set priorities and agree on key actions that must be taken to increase whole-grain intake.

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