Bakers Journal

Embracing Whole Grains

December 5, 2007
By Jane Ayer

My how a year brings change.

My how a year brings change. Last June, as I updated listings in our annual Frozen Dough Guide (page 10), low carbohydrate products abounded. Many companies were introducing low or reduced carb products for the first time. Our new product section confirmed the fact that low carb was still very much on everyone’s agenda: the first three new products listed were low carb related. This year, working on the 2005 guide, the most common change companies made in their product listings involved the removal of any mention of low carb products. In its place are words such as artisan, organic, high fibre, multigrain and whole grain.

When Canada Bread relaunched its Dempster’s WholeGrains product line in 2001, low carb wasn’t even on the radar. But four years later, in the aftermath of the tornado that was low carb, the company has weathered the storm well. Sales for its whole grains products (which include flax bread, 100% whole wheat, 12 grain and bran, to name just a few) have grown by an average of almost 20 per cent a year since the 2001 relaunch. It has since introduced a line of whole grain bagels and created a website to educate consumers on the benefits of eating whole grains products (

And though whole grains are making more and more headlines in terms of the health benefits they offer, polls show that consumers need a little educating. A Légér Marketing poll conducted for Canada Bread’s Whole Grains Bureau in August of 2003 shows that while almost 80 per cent of Canadians polled said they knew what whole grains were, only 7 per cent were able to properly identify the components of a whole grain. Another more recently conducted survey shows that many Canadians aren’t sure exactly what whole grains are and most don’t know Canada’s food guide recommends five to 12 servings of grains products a day. Neither do most Canadians understand that the health benefits of whole grains products aren’t just about their fibre content.; The benefits also come from the countless vitamins, nutrients and minerals that are a part of whole grains.


Canada Bread isn’t the only company capitalizing on the emergence of whole grains and looking to educate consumers on their health benefits. As of June, all brands of cereals sold by General Mills in Canada are made with whole grains. And the company has launched its own consumer education website:

But just because big name businesses have cornered a portion of the whole grain market, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for whole grain products with a bit of a twist. According to the Whole Grains Council, only about 10 per cent of grain products on supermarket shelves are made with whole grains. Since most of those products are breads, one area bakeries might consider, suggests Brian Hinton in his column in this issue (page 42), is that of whole grain cookies, muffins, flatbreads or cakes.

Canadian consumers will embrace healthier, whole grain products. Canada Bread’s WholeGrains line is proof of that. It’s your job to give them options.

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