The Wheat Foods Council (WFC) launched a social media campaign on Nov. 20 to help inform fitness professionals and trainers about the benefits of incorporating wheat foods into healthy diets.

The Wheat Foods Council (WFC) launched a social media campaign on Nov. 20 to help inform fitness professionals and trainers about the benefits of incorporating wheat foods into healthy diets.

Recognizing the increased emphasis consumers are placing on nutrition, the Wheat Foods Council (WFC) launched a social media campaign that educates fitness professionals and trainers about the benefits of incorporating wheat foods into healthy diets.

U.S. Wheat Associates and the WFC are both U.S. farmer-led organizations that promote the value and benefits of U.S. wheat. International customers of U.S. wheat are encouraged to look to the WFC for resources and ideas to increase awareness of wheat foods nutrition.

Wheat’s Nutritional Role

The new WFC campaign on Facebook and Instagram officially launched Nov. 20. It provides evidence-based information on the nutritional and performance advantages of wheat foods. Among those advantages is how wheat foods serve as a reliable and efficient source of energy. The campaign also helps dispel myths about wheat foods and fosters a deeper understanding of the positive impact they have on performance and overall wellbeing.

Instagram users are able to follow the campaign on @wheatfoodscouncil. Users can post the hashtag #WonderofWheat to share and view experiences and recipes.

“By harnessing the power of social media, the campaign creates a dialogue, encourage knowledge-sharing, and inspire a paradigm shift in how the fitness industry views the role of wheat foods in a healthy lifestyle,” WFC President Tim O’Connor said. “The Wheat Foods Council, along with our partners, are committed to fostering a community of educated and informed fitness professionals who understand the crucial connection between nutrition with wheat foods and fitness.”

Ron Suppes, a Kansas wheat farmer and former USW Chairman, is currently Chairman of the WFC.

Ron Suppes, a Kansas wheat farmer and former USW Chairman, is currently Chairman of the WFC.

Built by Wheat Farmers

U.S. wheat farmers established the WFC in 1972 as a national non-profit organization to promote wheat-based food categories.  Baked goods, cereal, crackers, pretzels, pasta, sweet goods and tortillas make up those categories. WFC’s membership is made up of state wheat commissions, millers and bakers, baking suppliers, life science companies and cereal manufacturers. Grain farmers have become actively involved over the years.

Ron Suppes, a former U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and a wheat farmer from Kansas, is currently WFC Chair. Suppes was seated during the organization’s 2023 Summer Board Meeting. Other members of the WFC officer team for 2023-24 are Vice Chair Mark Hotze, of Corbion; and Treasurer-Secretary Britany Hurst Marchant, Executive Director of the Idaho Wheat Commission.

A Large and Varied Audience

WFC develops programs and materials for various audiences. Health and nutrition professionals, educators, athletes and personal trainers, chefs and consumers use the WFC as a resource for important information.

These resources are available on the WFC website, Viewers can visit the site for general information on wheat. General information on flour and baking, gluten, how wheat is grown and more is found there, too. There are also educational tool kitsinfographicsrecipes, and a quarterly e-magazine, “Kernels.



“It was a challenging year,” said Oregon farmer David Brewer of the 2023 soft white (SW) wheat production season. “However, I believe that our investments into variety development and adoption of sustainable management practices have helped us ensure the best functionality from the 2023 crop.”

Seeding conditions were good in the fall of 2022 with sufficient moisture to get the soft white winter wheat crop off to a good start in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Dryness set in just as the crop was breaking dormancy and turned hot as farmers seeded their spring SW. Hot, dry conditions persisted and accelerated maturity and harvest.

Those growing conditions affected yields, with SW production now estimated at 5.3 million metric tons (MMT) or almost 195 million bushels. That is 23% less SW than PNW farmers produced in 2022.

U.S. soft white wheat kernels

Soft white (SW) wheat.

The dry conditions also contributed to a SW crop with above-average protein. Yet, the crop has appropriately weak to medium gluten strength and acceptable or better finished product characteristics. Stocks of more typical protein SW from 2022 are also available to buyers. In addition, the higher protein SW in this crop provides opportunities in blends for crackers, Asian noodles, steamed breads, flat breads, and pan breads.

The following 2023 crop quality highlights include functional data for Club, a sub-class of SW with very weak gluten strength, typically used in a Western White blend with SW for cakes and delicate pastries.

U.S. Club wheat kernels

Club wheat.

2023 SW Crop Highlights

  • The overall average grade of the 2023 SW crop is U.S. No. 1 SW; Club average is also U.S. No. 1.
  • Test weight averages trended lower this year with an average of 60.3 lb/bu (79.3 kg/hl) for SW and 60.7 lb/bu (79.8 kg/hl) for Club.
  • Protein (12% mb) is higher this year with an average of 11.1% for SW and 10.6% for Club.
  • Falling number average is 336 sec or higher for all SW composites and 327 sec for Club.
  • Buhler Laboratory Mill average extraction for SW is 70.3%, and 72.1% for Club. Commercial mills should see better extractions, although some adjustments may be necessary for portions of the crop with lower test weights. Flour extractions should not be compared to last year or the 5-year average as the calculation has shifted from a total product weight basis to a tempered wheat weight basis.
  • Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC) lactic acid and water values for SW are 105% and 51%, respectively, indicating weak to medium gluten strength. Overall, SW composites have SRC profiles suitable for good cookie and cracker performance. Lactic acid and water SRC values for Club are 71% and 51%, respectively, and are indicative of very weak gluten with low water holding capacity.
  • Starch pasting properties include amylograph and RVA viscosities for SW and WC indicating the crop is suitable for batter-based products. The low protein SW composite average of 368 BU/2122 cP peak viscosity is reflective of a slightly lower falling number (313 sec). The overall SW and WC averages are similar to last year.
  • Soft white and Club dough properties are typical and suggest very weak to medium gluten strength and low water absorption values similar to their respective 2022 and 5-year averages.
  • Sponge cake volumes average 1089 cc for SW and 1110 cc for Club. Hardness value for SW is 353 g and 337 g for Club. All SW and Club cakes were baked from an experimentally milled straight grade flour. For comparison, control cakes baked at the same time from a commercially milled short patent cake flour (2022 harvest) have an average volume of 1205 cc and an average firmness of 242 g.
  • Cookie diameter values are 7.7 for SW and 7.9 for Club. Spread ratio for SW is 8.2 and 8.8 for Club. These values should not be compared to 2022 or the 5-year averages as the cookie method has changed as of 2023 (see analysis methods).
  • Average soft white pan bread bake absorption is 56.1% and loaf volume is 696 cc. Blends of hard wheat with up to 20% SW should produce acceptable pan breads, especially from higher protein SW.
  • Chinese southern-type steamed bread values for Club, and medium and high protein SW composites scored similar to or better than the control due to greater volume and whiter internal crumb color. Specific volume and total score averages are SW 2.7 mL/g, 70.8 and Club 2.7 mL, 70.7, respectively.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) brought a dozen pasta production specialists from around the world to North Dakota for a Northern Crops Institute (NCI) course designed to provide a better understanding of U.S. wheat and how wheat quality affects pasta quality. The course also helped attendees understand that, while pasta production is focused mostly on semolina from durum, pasta can be produced with other classes of U.S. wheat, such as hard red winter (HRW) and hard red spring (HRS).

The course took place a full two months before the upcoming World Pasta Day, which is Oct. 25. But the folks at NCI could argue they experienced a World Pasta Week – participants in the Aug. 21-25 course came from Morocco, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Chile, Mexico City, Honduras, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

This short video produced by NCI features participants talking about the opportunity. It also features USW Regional Technical Director Peter Lloyd, who offered the course valuable insight into optimal milling processes for pasta.


While U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the Wheat Foods Council (WFC) focus on different customers, they have a common goal: boosting the bottom line of U.S. farmers. While USW focuses on exports, WFC is dedicated to increasing domestic wheat foods consumption. Both are considered valuable partners and collaborators in the U.S. wheat industry, and several state wheat associations belong to both organizations. In fact, Kansas Wheat Commissioner and former USW Chairman Ron Suppes was seated as the new WFC Chairman during its recent Summer Board Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Watch this short video to hear from Suppes and learn more about USW and WFC’s efforts . . .


Ron Suppes, left, accepts the ceremonial gavel from outgoing Wheat Foods Council (WFC) Chairman Kent Juliot at the WFC Board Meeting in Denver on June 14.

Ron Suppes, left, accepts the ceremonial gavel from outgoing Wheat Foods Council (WFC) Chairman Kent Juliot at the WFC Board Meeting in Denver on June 14.

Former U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman Ron Suppes was seated as Chairman of the Wheat Foods Council (WFC) during the organization’s Summer Board Meeting in Denver. The Kansas producer has been a Kansas Wheat Commissioner for two decades. He has also served as chairman of the Wheat Innovation Center Research Foundation.

Decades of international, domestic experience

Suppes, who was USW Chairman in 2007-2008, has traveled to several foreign markets with USW. He’s helped promote U.S. wheat in more than 30 countries. Although his involvement with the WFC is focused on creating demand for wheat in the domestic market, Suppes recognizes the very different – yet vital – roles that USW and WFC play.

“For wheat farmers, the difference each of these groups make is dramatic,” Suppes said. “I’ve been involved with U.S. Wheat Associates for many years and have seen firsthand the value of the work it does in international markets. I have also experienced how the Wheat Foods Council works to promote the wheat we grow.”

Suppes, who also represents wheat growers on advisory committees to USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office, said state wheat associations and other wheat industry groups should consider becoming involved in the WFC.

“It’s a great opportunity to collaborate on things that affect all of us in the business,” he said.

Many perspectives make up WFC

Reid Christopherson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission, and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Board Member Kent Lorens of Nebraska, chat during the Wheat Foods Council Board Meeting in Denver.

Reid Christopherson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission, and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Board Member Kent Lorens of Nebraska, chat during the Wheat Foods Council Board Meeting in Denver.

Suppes will serve a one-year term as WFC Chairman. As a wheat farmer, he brings an important perspective to the WFC leadership spot.

“Ron has already been an integral part of our work and he also provides some continuity to the Chairman position,” said WFC President Tim O’Connor, “The Wheat Foods Council is a unique organization. Our membership includes the entire wheat value chain. We are made up of millers, bakers, ingredient suppliers and equipment companies. But grower organizations and growers like Ron are also important pieces of our membership. We are excited to have a wheat farmer like Ron help push us forward.”

Busy week in Denver

Other members of the WFC officer team for 2023-24 are Vice Chair Mark Hotze, of Corbion; Treasurer-Secretary Britany Hurst Marchant, Executive Director of the Idaho Wheat Commission; and Kent Juliot, of Ardent Mills, as Immediate Past Chair.

Along with seating of a new officer team, WFC’s Summer Board Meeting featured a Communicators Workshop and a review of 2022-23 marketing programs. The organization also took a look ahead at programs scheduled for the coming year. WFC also introduced Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) as its new marketing agency to handle program work.

A professional chef demonstrates methods for using U.S. wheat to make handmade noodles during a Wheat Food workshop for volunteers in Taipei’s adult long-term care community. The October 2022 workshop was part of USW's ongoing effort to develop new wheat food options for Taiwan's aging populations.

A professional chef demonstrates methods for using U.S. wheat to make handmade noodles during a Wheat Foods workshop for volunteers in Taipei’s adult long-term care community. The October 2022 workshop was part of USW’s ongoing effort to develop new wheat food options for Taiwan’s aging populations.

While innovating new products for members of the youthful “Snackification Generation,” U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has simultaneously been working to develop and promote specialty wheat foods designed for Earth’s more experienced generation.

The world’s older folks if you will.

A catchy nickname has yet to attach to the fast-growing group of consumers over 65, but tags like “Snacking Seniors” and “Aging Appetizers” miss the mark. That’s because instead of crackers, cookies and biscuits, new variances of noodles and breads and pastries are at center of USW’s efforts to grow demand for U.S. wheat in markets with aging populations.

“Super-aged” is the buzzword being used by the media, and a common prediction is that by 2030 there will be at least 30 countries where more than 20% of the population is over 65 – the ratio that has been set to define a super-aged country. Already, “There are more people on the planet over the age of 65 than ever before in human history,” the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently reported, adding that, “Globally, the population aged 65 and over is growing faster than all other age groups.”

Recognizing opportunities to promote U.S. wheat in super-aged markets – notably its protein, B-vitamins, dietary fiber, and other nutritional benefits – USW has been engaging consumers to learn about preferences and learn what kind of products have a place in their diets and on their menus.

As it turns out, flour made with high-quality U.S. wheat has no age restrictions.

Asia: Super-sized, Super-aged

USW offices in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have for years been preparing for expansion of aging populations. And for good reason. Nearly 30% of Japan’s population is over 65. and Taiwan (18%) and South Korea (17%) follow, both expecting to see those percentages rise dramatically in coming years.

Expected to become a super-aged society by 2025, Taiwan is a loyal customer of U.S. wheat, with a market share that has ranged from 70% to 80%.USW staff in the country has been aggressive about positioning U.S. wheat in the diet of senior citizens.

“The Taiwan Government noticed the trend and has made great efforts to help develop healthy foods for the elderly in the country, explained USW Taiwan Country Director Bo Yuan Chen.  “However, most efforts had been in rice products. USW’s Taipei Office noticed the lack of wheat products for the elderly in Taiwan, so we launched a program to assist flour and wheat foods industries to develop more wheat products suitable for the elderly.”

Maintaining U.S. market share requires growing the level of wheat food consumption by older consumers, Chen said, adding. “To do this, USW has been working with flour millers, universities and wheat food manufacturer associations to conduct studies, provide technical support and facilitate product development for older consumers, the goal being putting more wheat-based products aimed at the needs of the elderly on food store shelves.”

Pan breads, soft European breads and noodles are the promising foods that U.S. wheat is working to promote to maintain demand by Taiwan’s coming super-aged society.

“U.S. wheat’s strength is in bread products, so that is where we are now focusing,” said Chen.

Workshops conducted by USW in Taiwan have included sharing methods of cooking and baking wheat products that fit desires of the country's aging populations.

Workshops conducted by USW in Taiwan last year included trainings and the sharing of methods of cooking and baking wheat products that fit desires and needs of the country’s fast-aging population. USW is continuing its work in this area in 2023.

Asking Older Consumers What They Want

One major step taken by USW was to survey older Taiwanese consumers to determine preferences in wheat foods and what situations best motivated consumption of wheat foods.

Following the surveys, USW conducted outreach activities to further explore trends.

In October 2022, USW collaborated with Taiwan’s Department of Food and Beverage Management of Shih Chien University (USC) to conduct two Chinese Wheat Food workshops for an audience that included volunteers in Taipei’s adult long-term care community. A professional chef demonstrated methods for using U.S. wheat to make handmade noodles, pan-fried stuffed buns, silk thread rolls, sweet potato pastry, steamed bread, steamed stuffed buns and steamed twisted rolls.

The USW survey had indicated that older Taiwanese consumers favored wheat foods that “cut down on cooking time” or featured “no cooking” – thus, the pan-fried and steamed items.

A previous survey by USC found that more than 60% of Taiwanese over the age of 65 are dissatisfied with the Chinese-style wheat foods sold in the country.

“These workshops showed the participants how to make their own healthy and nutritious Chinese-style wheat products using U.S. wheat whole wheat flour,” USW Technical Specialist Wei-lin Chou noted. “It was a success, and we learned that volunteers from a long-term care community that participated in our workshop made those pan-fried stuffed buns for their elderly residents immediately following our workshop.”

In a separate workshop in October 2022, USW collaborated with the Department of Nutritional Science of Fu Jen Catholic University (FJCU) and Viva Bakery to conduct a healthy and sustainable bread development and promotion program. FJCU and a cooperating bakery applied 100% U.S. wheat flours and Taiwan local ingredients to make bread products.

Previous USW efforts in Taiwan included partnering with the China Grain Products Research and Development Institute (CGPRDI) to conduct research and corresponding workshops on topics such as, Taiwan Commercial Noodles Characteristics, Wheat Flour for Elders’ Noodles, Bakery Products Development for Elders and Steamed Bread Flour and Products.

A group photo at a workshop in Taiwan conducted in October 2022 by USW, the Department of Nutritional Science of Fu Jen Catholic University (FJCU) and Viva Bakery. The purpose of the workshop was to establish a healthy and sustainable bread development and promotion program.

A group photo at a workshop in Taiwan conducted by USW, the Department of Nutritional Science of Fu Jen Catholic University (FJCU) and Viva Bakery. The purpose of the workshop was to establish a healthy and sustainable bread development and promotion program.

A Solid Partner

A reliable customer of U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat, hard red winter (HRW) wheat and soft white (SW) wheat, Taiwan is the 6th largest U.S. wheat export market and the 7th largest overseas market for U.S. agricultural products.

A special relationship has been built between U.S. wheat farmers and their Taiwanese customers.

“American farmers place great value on the relationship between U.S. agriculture and Taiwan,” USW Vice Chairman Michael Peters, who grows wheat in Oklahoma, said during a ceremony last fall in Washington D.C. in which the Taiwan Flour Millers Association (TFMA) signed a Letter of Intent to purchase 1.9 million metric tons of U.S. wheat in 2023 and 2024. “We pride ourselves as being dependable partners who grow the highest quality agriculture products in the world. The TFMA and its members have been great trading partners who fully recognize the value of purchasing U.S. wheat.”

Still, there is competition.

U.S. wheat competes against the ample and less-expensive supply of Australian wheat, which helps meet Taiwan’s robust demand for noodle flour. A consistent supply of U.S. hard white (HW) wheat is seen as a potential alternative – and a way for U.S. wheat to maintain and grow its share.

Each Asian Market is Different

Are there things to be learned from USW efforts in Japan and Korea to create demand for foods made with U.S. wheat in Japan or Korea?

“There are certainly common things we can share with flour millers and bakers about the quality of U.S. wheat, and the quality of the foods made with U.S. wheat,” said Chen. “But I think every country has its own different situation. We can learn from each other, but we also need to work hard to develop programs suitable for consumers in our own countries.”






Flour from U.S. soft white wheat was an ingredient in the 'Science of Souffle' course at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong.

Flour from U.S. soft white wheat was an ingredient in the ‘Science of Souffle’ course at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong.

U.S. wheat shared the spotlight with U.S. eggs, U.S. dairy and a Netflix celebrity at a Hong Kong event designed to help student chefs understand some of the science behind baking.

A special course titled the “Science of Souffle” was presented March 14 by the Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) and the U.S. Consulate’s Public Affairs Section (PAS). Student chefs at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi) participated in the course, which featured visiting speaker Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, a U.S. astrophysicist and co-host of the Netflix series “Baking Impossible.”

Oluseyi spoke about the science of baking, along with his own personal story. Local chef Phyllis Lam led students in preparing their own souffles using U.S. wheat flour, milk and cheese – in combination with local flavors like citrus and black sesame.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Regional Vice President Jeff Coey said USW’s Hong Kong Office contributed U.S. soft white (SW) flour for the course and shared information about the classes of U.S. wheat and how the quality of U.S. wheat benefits bakers and other end users.

“It was a small but fun event that served as an opportunity to create awareness for U.S. wheat among future bakers and chefs in the market,” said Coey.

Along with USW, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council and the U.S. Dairy Export Council contributed to the “Science of Souffle” event.


The People’s Republic of China is the United States’ largest food and agricultural product export market with sales that reached a record $41 billion in calendar 2022. Under suspension of import duties agreed to in the Phase One trade accord, China has imported more than 827,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat with an estimated value of more than $270 million as of early February in marketing year 2022/23. That pace is down from the previous two marketing years, but still significant.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are reporting that as China pulls back from zero-COVID policies, there is “great optimism about the economy” in general and specifically the dynamic Chinese baking industry.

Return to Personal Contact

After a resumption of normal public activity, USW Beijing colleagues are finally enjoying a return to interactions with milling and baking customers and visiting retail and restaurant venues throughout the country. USW Regional Vice President Jeff Coey said restrictions have been totally lifted, allowing the team to conduct an informal survey of four bakery companies both in north and south China, namely Toly, Fujian Fumao, Guangdong Chuandao, and Dongguan Food.

Three of the four stated that sales volume had recovered to pre-COVID levels, and the same ratio predicted further increases in 2023. Both innovative product development and exploring new sales channels are cited as avenues for growth in China’s baking market. The photo at the top of this page confirms it was busy recently at a Baker & Spice store, a popular chain of over 60 coffee and snack shops in Beijing and other cities in China.

Investing for Growth

The largest of the group, Toly Bread Company Ltd., expected to raise investment and increase staff in 2023. The company hopes for a higher value mix of offerings allowing them to increase unit price. They expect cake products will take the lead in the company’s product matrix.

A busy China retail bakery.On Feb. 17, 2023, USDA FAS Agricultural Attaché Alan Hallman and colleagues published a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report on China’s “Post-COVID Food and Agricultural Situation” that provides insight into relevant aspects of end-use wheat demand in this important swing market for U.S. wheat.

While there were closures early in the pandemic, “some bakeries were able to turn the crisis into an opportunity for growth,” the report stated. “Community bakeries increased sales due to strong demand for convenience foods and third party delivery services. Bakeries with strength in group-buying and sales to institutions also benefited. Many businesses and other organizations gave bakery shopping benefits to their employees. Bakeries with brick- and-mortar stores, online order platforms, and delivery services generally remained strong and grew their business during the pandemic.”

Increased Hiring

Mr. Guo Jiguang, chairman of Fujian Fumao, told USW the company is actively opening more stores and hiring more employees in Southeast China to expand its business in 2023. Bread, cakes and desserts remain the main products with fastest growing sales. Mr. Guo added that even if cake and pastry products are becoming more popular among young generations, consumer preferences are changing and both opportunities and threats coexist in the future bakery market.

Photo of busy retail Fujian Fumao bakery in China

A bakery operated by Fujian Fumao in China remains busy and the company plans to open more stores in Southeast China as the country recovers from zero-COVID policies.

Mr. Philip Zhou, chairman of Guangdong Chuandao, is also bullish on baked goods.

“For us, Chinese pastry and western style bread are the two main product categories showing the greatest sales momentum,” he said. “Our company’s plan is to explore new distribution channels and cover more supermarkets and distributors to realize reasonable sales growth goals.”

Optimism with Constraints

Concluding its report, the China FAS team repeated the optimism that recreation, travel and tourism in the country are expected to grow as zero-COVID policies end. “Some businesses have become stronger, and companies have an opportunity to rebuild…” Yet consumer spending will remain somewhat constrained.

USW and dozens of other non-profit organizations in the United States are partners with FAS in agricultural export market development. Through the support of U.S. wheat farmers and FAS programs, USW conducts wheat export market development activities in China through offices in Beijing and Hong Kong.


Instead of asking “what’s in store” for crackers and cookies and other wheat-based snack foods in a post-COVID world, those in the U.S. wheat industry may want to ask the same question in a slightly modified way.

What’s in the store?

When COVID hit in 2020, international consumers had already been drawn to convenient foods that fit snacking lifestyles. Boxes of crackers were tucked into office drawers. Sleeves of cookies – often referred to as “biscuits” in some foreign markets – were slid into backpacks. While work routines and travel screeched to a halt, snacking habits sped forward. In fact, market research over the past year has indicated that, in many countries, on-the-go snacking is now preferred over traditional sit-down meals, especially by younger consumers.

This movement was aptly labeled “Snackification.” It’s changing the look of grocery and supermarket shelves around the world.

It’s also creating potential opportunities for U.S. wheat.

A 2022 survey by Euromonitor International revealed growing numbers of global consumers who look for snacks when shopping for food.

A 2022 survey by Euromonitor International revealed growing numbers of global consumers who look for snacks when shopping for food.

Snack ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

A Euromonitor survey conducted in 2022 showed South Asia as having the most robust snacking habits. About 45% of Vietnamese consumers surveyed indicated that when shopping for food, they “look for snacks that are convenient to take and eat outside the home.” Roughly 38% of consumers in the Philippines responded the same way. The survey revealed that in Latin America, Colombia had the highest number of outside-the-home snackers with 37%. Brazil was close behind at 36%.

As a comparison, and for perspective, fewer than 30% of consumers in the U.S. were focused on snacking while shopping for food.

Those who study global consumer trends expect the new generation of “snackificators” to munch its way into the future.

“Snack brands already had a large portion of the breakfast category – breakfast bars, breakfast cakes and pastries, and so on – but with consumer preferences changing during COVID, snack foods are now intentionally being positioned as meal replacements throughout the entire day,” offered Carl Quash, head of Snacks and Nutrition for Euromonitor International, an independent market research firm based in London.

Quash, who oversees packaged snack research and analysis in more than 100 markets worldwide, presented a webinar titled “Snackification: The Future of Occasions to USDA stakeholders on Jan. 30.

“Snacking is likely to increase as people become busier and more mobile, and as they feel more comfortable in traveling once pandemic fears fade for good,” said Quash. “Add to that the fact many consumers are now replacing meals with snacks – they snack throughout the day instead of sitting down for a meal.”

Market research has shown increased demand for snack foods, as the dining habits of global consumers continue to evolve.

Market research has shown increased demand for snack foods, as the dining habits of global consumers continue to evolve. USW continues to work with millers and bakers around the world to help in the development of new snack food products made with U.S. wheat and the improvement of existing products.

An Opportunity Knocking?

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) recognized the new shift, even before snackification became a buzzword. USW’s offices around the world have long been involved in helping develop new snack products made with U.S. wheat, while also helping improve and promote existing products in all markets.

USW promotes the quality advantages of all six U.S. wheat classes. For snack foods, soft red winter (SRW) wheat and soft white (SW) wheat are most commonly used. But hard white (HW) wheat, hard red winter (HRW) wheat and hard red spring (HRS) wheat each are a quality ingredient – ether for snack foods and breads, or as part of flour blends to produce snack foods.

Wheat can also be used in other forms to make snack products. Flaked or puffed wheat is commonly used to manufacture breakfast cereals and cereal snack bars. Wheat bran is added to biscuits, cakes, muffins and breads to increase the dietary fiber content. Wheat germ can be added to breads, pastries and biscuits, or sprinkled onto yogurt, breakfast cereal or fruit dishes to increase the B-Vitamin, protein and fiber content.

USW also provides millers and bakers around the world technical support, including assistance in applying Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC) analysis to better predict performance characteristics of flour for cookies, crackers and cakes.

USW Bakery Consultant Roy Chung says consumers in Asia are more and more interested in quick, "on the go" foods - crackers, cookies and even sometimes as simple as a slice of bread with various toppings.

USW Bakery Consultant Roy Chung says consumers in Asia are more and more interested in “on the go” foods – crackers, cookies and even something as simple as a slice of bread with toppings.

A ‘Wheat Team’ Effort, Here and Abroad

“Snackification is definitely a thing in the Philippines, with bread being primarily used for snack foods,” said Joe Bippert, USW Associate Regional Director in South Asia. “All across the region, there are many, many products that have fallen into the snack category, some traditional like crackers and cookies, and some new. We are working with buyers, millers and bakers to make sure U.S. wheat is part of this snackification movement. We also continue to work with our partners to develop new products with U.S. wheat.”

One of those partners is the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC). Based in Portland, Oregon, the WMC regularly conducts research projects on snack food-related topics and wheat flour formulations. USW offices around the world connect snack food makers to the WMC, which works to develop new products to meet changing consumer demands for attributes such as lower sugar or salt, new flavors or even different shapes of crackers, cookies, cakes, breads and other snacks.

A Universal Phenomenon

No one seems to know who created the term “snackification,” but it began appearing in trade journals and food blogs a decade ago. As it did then, today it is used to describe a trend in which consumers snack in place of meals.

A Harris Poll survey commissioned by Mondelēz International last year polled consumers in 12 countries. It found that more than 55% of consumers “nibbled frequently throughout the day” in place of three standard meals, while 71% said they snacked at least twice each day.

Mondelēz International’s fourth annual “State of Snacking” report that “snacking increasingly replaces traditional meals in consumers’ lives.”

“Our State of Snacking report confirms that in these trying times, consumers around the world view their favorite snacks as affordable and necessary indulgences,” Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and CEO of Mondelēz International, noted in the report. “Snacking continues to be a way for consumers to connect or to enjoy a moment of delight in their day, further demonstrating our belief that every snack can be enjoyed in a mindful way.”

Looking back, it is clear urbanization drove snackification, Quash explained.

“Convenience and portability were key due to time pressures and a culture where people were constantly under constraints and were looking for foods to eat while on the go, foods they could eat on their way to the office or in the office while working,” he said. “Although people are still spending more time at home than they did pre-pandemic, snacking has become part of the routine.”

Crackers, Cookies, Biscuits . . . and Bread, Too

In some cases, foods just changed roles. One key consumer trend for U.S. wheat is the fact that breads that were once a big part of traditional sit-down meals are in some countries being used to anchor snack time.

Roy Chung, USW Bakery Consultant based in Singapore, said consumers in Asian countries are walking into retail stores looking for “simple and fast.” In many cases, how the foods are packaged is the biggest factor.

“When it comes to wheat, products range from simple slices of bread made into different types of sandwiches, or just plain bread spread with margarine and topped with sugar, then packaged to eat on the move,” Chung explained. “There are buns with different kinds of fillings, including steam-type buns. These are considered a snack that can fill you up without having to pause to prepare a meal. Grab it and go, as they say.”

Microwave-ready cakes and muffins, prepared in a paper cup and baked at the store, are common.

“In the cracker category, there is canned tuna or salmon or sardines packaged with a stack of crackers, which are popular for people taking a day trip or a bus ride somewhere and are eaten in place of lunch or even dinner,” said Chung. “All of these products are a showcase for the quality of U.S. wheat.”

Consumers shopping their local food store for snacks have other demands, too.

“The snacking trend remains based on convenience, but consumers around the world have become more focused on three things: mobility, value and health,” said Quash. “For the wheat industry, those are generally good things because wheat products tend to deliver on all three.”

By Ralph Loos, USW Director of Communications



U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is pleased to help share the positive stories about how U.S. farmers, ranchers and fisheries are producing excellent quality, delicious food for the world in highly sustainable ways.

In fact, U.S. wheat farm families are featured in several video stories created by USDA and U.S. trade associations as part of a “DelicioUS!” promotion on YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Common Themes, Shared Values

These high-quality videos illustrate the reality of U.S. agriculture using an approach that shows the diversity and uniqueness of agriculture and cultures in each region of the country. At the same time, the stories capture common themes shared by the multi-generational family operations including their commitment to sustainability, innovation, producing delicious food, and community.

These are values shared by the U.S. wheat farmers USW represents in overseas markets.

Scenes from the Volk family farm in North Dakota and Peters family operation in Oklahoma are included in the “Midwest” program that features the people, crops and food grown in the heartland of the United States.

The images of “amber waves of grain” from Padget Ranches in Oregon and the Bailey family farm in Washington open the video about food production in the “West.”

Sustainable Source of Wheat for the World

U.S. wheat farmers work every day to contribute to a sustainable future in agriculture. Sustainability is reflected in agronomic practices, research and development, and transportation methods, all of which contribute to making the United States a sustainable source of wheat for export. They are proud to represent U.S. agriculture and help share delicious food with other families across the planet.