After years of falling consumption, grains are back on the menu, with per capita use rising. Wheat, rice, oats, barley and a host of specialty grains are regaining acceptance from consumers, dieticians and nutritionists. In turn, food manufacturers are developing new grain-based products and seeing new popularity for old standbys. But the focus is on grains in their healthiest forms - whole grains - rather than refined wheat and rice products that offer less in the way of fiber or nutrition. There is a marked increase in products using the food label “whole grain.”
This resurgence has been driven by health and nutrition professionals who recognize that whole grains can play an important role in a healthy diet without necessarily contributing to weight gain or sugar imbalance. In addition to great taste and versatility, complex carbohydrates, the family of foods that includes whole grains, have numerous nutritional benefits. The restrictive high-protein/low-carb diet, the diet du jour for many years, contributed to the decline of the market for grains and grain-based foods, but consumers today are showing preference for a wider variety of foods and the health advantages that they offer.
This report examines today’s market for grains, including core grain foods such as flour, dry rice and rice mixes, hot cereal, and packaged or bulk grains such as barley, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Corn is included as cornmeal only, in the flour category. The report focuses on market trends and market drivers for consumers. In addition, The U.S. Market for Whole and Other Grains: Trends and Developments explores the role of grains, especially wheat, in the global commodity markets, and how new trends such as grain-based ethanol production affects the food industry. The report also takes an in-depth look at market trends for specialty grains, including organic grains and the so-called “ancient grains,” such as amaranth teff, spelt, and quinoa, which are rapidly gaining recognition and popularity among consumers. Some of these grains are gluten-free, making them of special interest as the market for those with food allergies and sensitivities grows.
Using current Product Launch Analytics’ (a Datamonitor service) data, the report looks closely at new product introductions, especially value-added products. Information Resources Inc. data indicate sales trends, and Simmons data help to provide a picture of demographic trends.
Read an excerpt from this report below.About the Author
Elaine Lipson is a writer, editor, researcher and communications consultant to the organic products and sustainable lifestyles industries. She specializes in textile art, craft and design and is exploring projects and partnerships integrating her concept of Slow Cloth. Elaine is also an expert in organic food, farming and industry issues and is the author of The Organic Foods Sourcebook. She contributes regularly to EcoSalon.com and has written for Yoga Journal, Ms., Surface Design Journal and many other trade, consumer and Internet publications. From 2005-2007, Elaine was the director of organic alliances and strategic initiatives at New Hope Natural Media, and previously was a senior editor for the original LOHAS Journal. Visit her blogs at lainie.typepad.com.
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
Whole Grain Foods are Gaining Ground
While we know that whole grain foods are gaining in the market - new products tagged with whole grain are on the rise, and consumers say they are seeking more whole grain foods - it’s more difficult to ascertain what percentage of the entire grain market is made up of whole-grain foods. In part, this is due to a lack of regulation and definition of what constitutes a whole grain food.
The Whole Grain Council says that, in 2008, more than 815 million products were on the shelves bearing its voluntary Basic Whole Grain Stamp or 100% Whole Grain Stamp. Of those, 24.1% were breads, rolls or bagels, followed by hot cereal (19.6%) and cold cereal (11.0%).
Packaged Facts estimates that about 40% of the core grain market is whole grains; however, this percentage varies greatly in the subcategories. One hundred percent of oatmeal is whole grain product, while about 17% of rice is brown rice, 10% of flour is whole wheat flour, and about half of dry grains are whole grains.
Grain-based Food Companies Abroad Saw 2008 Decline
High commodity prices and economic gloom aren’t limited to the United States. These are global circumstances right now, affecting the food industry and every industry worldwide. According to Milling & Baking News, manufacturers and marketers of grain-based foods headquartered in Europe and other regions are experiencing a downturn in profits. “Most publicly-owned grain-based foods companies outside of North America not only sustained declines [in 2008], but many experienced double-digit losses,” said the trade publication, published January 13, 2009. “Only a few scattered gains could be found among the companies tracked by Milling & Baking News.”In the News
After Years of Absence, Grains Make Resurgence as Part of Healthy Diet
New York, March 31, 2009 - For years, restrictive high-protein/low-carb diets were the bane of the United States’ declining market for grains and grain-based foods. However, the low-carb fad is fading as health-minded eaters, who prefer a wider variety of foods and the health advantages these foods offer, re-integrate grains into their diet and inadvertently resuscitate the market. According to market research publisher Packaged Facts in the brand-new report, The U.S. Market for Whole and Other Grains: Trends and Developments, estimated retail sales in the U.S. for core grain foods that included rice, flour, oatmeal, and dry grains reached just over $5 billion in 2008 for a whopping 17% increase over the previous year.
Decades of refined grain use are now giving way to a new appreciation for the nutritional value of whole grains in the U.S. and other Western countries. Grains as they appear in their healthiest forms (i.e. whole grains) are garnering acclaim from health and nutrition professionals for their ability to play an important role in a healthy diet without necessarily contributing to weight gain or sugar imbalance. Refined grains are still widely used, but are now recognized as less desirable for optimal nutrition and weight control.
Unsurprisingly, manufacturers are scrambling to accommodate the recent popularity of grains with the development of new grain-based products and a recommitment to old standbys. There has also been a noticeable increase in products using the “whole grain” food label and touting heart-healthy benefits.
“New product introductions in grains in 2007, 2008 and early 2009 reflect a focus on whole grains, high fiber with its attendant claims for heart health, convenience in the form of prepared mixes and single-serve packaging, natural products, and gluten-free products,” says Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts.
The U.S. Market for Whole and Other Grains: Trends and Developments examines today’s market for grains, including core grain foods such as wheat and other flour, dry rice and rice mixes, hot cereal, and packaged or bulk grains such as barley, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. In addition, the report focuses on market trends and market drivers for consumers, explores the role of grains in the global commodity markets, analyzes how new grain-based trends affect the food industry, and provides an in-depth look at market trends for specialty grains.
About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.