Wheat food products to illustrate Wheat Industry News

Excerpts reprinted with permission from the American Bakers Association; Read the original release here.

The “Grain Chain”, a farm to fork coalition of stakeholders in the U.S. grain industry chaired by the American Bakers Association (ABA), testified July 11, 2019, on the nutritional benefits of bread and grain-based products at the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) meeting. The recommendations in the Committee’s scientific report, due next year, will form the basis of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). The DGAs are the cornerstone of U.S. federal nutrition policy and nutrition education guidelines, shaping consumer health decisions and doctor recommendations.

“The Grain Chain endorses maintaining the 2015 DGAs recommendation of carbohydrate intakes between 45-65% of calories and at a minimum, the recommended six servings daily of traditional grains with at least half as whole grains,” testified Kathy Wiemer, MS, RD, speaking on behalf of the Grain Chain. “Further, given that Americans continue to under consume whole grains, we support an increase in daily recommended Whole Grain servings, while maintaining at least three servings of enriched grains.”

Kathy Wiemer, MS, RD, testifies on behalf of the Grain Chain. Photo Credit: American Bakers Association

The testimony and written comments highlighted key recommendations:

  • Both whole and enriched grains play a leading role in diet quality
  • Enrichment, fortification of grain foods have made lasting contributions to health
  • Total grain consumption results in positive health outcomes
  • Grains are important to growth and development in infants and children
  • The current body of scientific evidence does not support a recommendation of low-carbohydrate dietary patterns to the U.S. population
  • Grain food manufacturers are constantly innovating to improve the nutritional profile of their products and deliver more health benefits to consumers

A 1990 law requires the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, and Health and Human Services, to publish nutritional and dietary guidelines for the public every five years. Members of the U.S. Grain Chain provide information to these agencies as guidelines are developed to help ensure that recommendations on grain foods consumption reflect current grain science research and data.

There is strong evidence that both whole and enriched grains are important sources of valuable nutrition and both the domestic and global baking industries continue to offer innovative, healthy grain products to meet consumer needs. Overseas, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) works on behalf of U.S. wheat producers to help bakers and wheat food processors understand the quality and value of all six classes of U.S. wheat. USW provides technical assistance and training in baking, snack food and pasta production, and sponsors participation in technical courses, workshops and seminars to help strengthen these industries.

Learn more about the nutritional value of wheat foods from the Wheat Foods Council, the Grain Foods Foundation, the National Pasta Association and the International Pasta Organization.

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In 1972, U.S. wheat farmers established the Wheat Foods Council (WFC) as a national non-profit organization to promote wheat-based food categories, including baked goods, cereal, crackers, pretzels, pasta, sweet goods and tortillas. Today, WFC is a leading source of science-based information on wheat and wheat foods nutrition, striving to increase awareness of dietary grain as an essential part of a healthful diet. Its membership has expanded to include grain producers, millers and bakers, baking suppliers, life science companies and cereal manufacturers.

WFC develops programs and materials for several audiences, primarily in the United States, including health and nutrition professionals, educators, athletes and personal trainers, chefs and consumers. Most of these resources are available on the WFC website, www.wheatfoods.org. Viewers can visit the site for general information on flour and baking, gluten, how wheat is grown and more. There are educational tool kits, infographicsrecipes, and a quarterly e-magazine, “Kernels.” Recently, WFC launched “Food Fit,” an easy-to-use mobile app full of science-based, credible nutrition information tailored to personal trainers, fitness professionals and their clients.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the WFC are both U.S. farmer-led organizations that promote the value and benefits of U.S. wheat. Global human wheat consumption is on the rise and as the demand for wheat foods grows stronger, overseas U.S. wheat customers can look to the WFC for resources and ideas to increase awareness of wheat foods nutrition.

For more information, go to www.wheatfoods.org and follow the Wheat Foods Council on Facebook and Twitter.

By Amanda J. Spoo, USW Assistant Director of Communications


Read about other USW educational partners in this series:

Northern Crops Institute Continues Tradition of Adding Value to U.S. Spring Wheat and Durum
IGP Institute Capitalizes on Resources and Location to Provide Hands-on Training
Wheat Marketing Center Creates Educational Bridge Between U.S. Wheat Farmers And Customers

Originally printed November 6, 2018 by Kansas Wheat; Reprinted with permission

The phrase heard around the agriculture world is “tell your story.” Today most Americans are three generations removed from the farm so tales from the tractor are more important now than ever. Wheat farmers saw this need, and their conduit of conversation, EatWheat.org, is celebrating its first year of operation.

EatWheat allows the wheat industry to speak with one voice in an effort to reclaim the national conversation on wheat and share one primary message amongst numerous influencers while we dismantle the false promises of wheatless diets.

When urban consumers look down at their plate, many don’t know how that food came from the farm to their table. While it may not be a topic of constant thought, many have begun to wonder about the farmers who produce the food they consume and the processes used to create such a bounty.

Kansas wheat farmers are the driving force behind the EatWheat.org campaign, which aims to create awareness of farm and production practices through the lens of food as identity. And the food that we think can connect best is, of course, wheat. It’s simple. It’s versatile. It’s natural. And it doesn’t matter if it’s homemade for hours, or picked up at the grocery store ready-to-go — it’s a simple and natural way to connect to others and yourself.

After a year of operation, the good news is that the conversation is working. EatWheat’s Facebook follower count now ranks in the thousands and Instagram is ever-growing. Videos produced sharing the story of American agriculture have garnered tens-of-thousands of views. Fast-paced videos showing quick-and-easy wheat-based recipes have amassed more than 70,000 views on Facebook alone. But the real value in the social media world is the conversations that have been had with consumers who simply want to know where their food comes from.

During wheat harvest, nine food bloggers visited a Kansas wheat farm, flour mill and the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center. They baked with fellow blogger and popular cookbook author Zoë François of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. These bloggers shared their experiences learning about wheat on their blogs and with their 5.4 million social media followers.

More than 120,000 visitors have made their way to EatWheat.org during its inaugural year. These viewers typically come to the website to grab some quick-and-easy recipes, but they stay to learn more about where their food comes from.

EatWheat’s standout traffic performer this first year was Pinterest. The popular Pinterest account has garnered around 3 million views per month on the wheat-based ideas shared on our feed. This totals more than 30 million pairs of eyes on wheat recipes in the last 10 months alone. While not every pin shared on the account comes from EatWheat.org, every pin is wheat related. Every carb-tastic idea seen means that fewer fad diet ideas are shown, which leads to consumers rediscovering wheat in their family’s diets.

Now is the time to have these conversations with consumers. Wheat food consumption is on the rise for the first time in several years. In 2017 wheat for food use rose 14 million bushels over the previous year and flour consumption rose slightly to 131.8 pounds from 131.7 pounds per capita.

If you’re interested in learning more about the EatWheat project, please visit EatWheat.org and amplify these messages by sharing social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Three elite bakers earned the honorary title of 2018 “World Master Baker” at the “Masters de la Boulangerie” competition, organized by Lesaffre, Feb. 3 to 6 in Paris, France. They are Peng-Chieh Wang of Taiwan for “Artistic Bread Making,” Déborah Ott of France for “Gourmet Bread Making” and Peter Bienefelt of The Netherlands for “Nutritional Bread Making.”

“U.S. Wheat Associates and the farmers we work for congratulate these winners and all the bakers who competed in the event,” said USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mark Fowler. “They represent the growing number of professional bakers who recognize that wheat foods are an essential and traditional part of human lives, with an infinite capacity to change with consumer tastes. We also thank Lesaffre for supporting that vision through its prestigious baking competition cycle.”

A panel of six jurors evaluated 18 candidates on technique, sales, marketing and communication skills, economic factors and “social and environmental responsibility linked to bread making,” according to the competition website. Each category included specific challenges for the candidates “linked to evolutions in baking and the profession’s future.”

For example, Mr. Wang’s winning creation came from his entry in the “Art of Dough” challenge with support from the Taipei Bakery Association, Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, Shakespeare Bakery, the Taiwan Baking Competition Council and his baking coach Wu Pao Chun. His “Taiwanese Folklore Art,” was a multi-colored spectacle of a general and his officers, which is often celebrated in Taiwanese religious art, and included the battle crown, mask, drum and trident. The amazing bakery sculpture included a section for tasting that revealed flavors of prune and flowers.

There is much more information online on the official website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also follow along at #BakeryMasters2018 and #MastersBoulangerie2018.

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The “Masters de la Boulangerie” competition, organized by Lesaffre, will be held Feb. 3 to 6 in Paris, France, as part of the “Europain” trade show. It is the final stage in a prestigious, three-year team competition cycle, comprised of the 2014-2015 Louis Lesaffre Cup and the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.

Based on talent and potential from the competition cycle, 18 experienced candidates will compete in one of these categories: Nutritional Bread Making, Gourmet Baking and Artistic Bread Making. A panel of six jurors will evaluate candidates on technique, sales, marketing and communication skills, economic factors and “social and environmental responsibility linked to bread making,” according to the competition website. Each category includes specific challenges for the candidates “linked to evolutions in baking and the profession’s future.”

Related demonstrations during the competition, following a “Sharing and The Future” theme, include sharing how the candidates responded to challenges, their bakery “tips and tricks,” innovations from competition sponsors and a spotlight on “Young Bakery Hopefuls.”

Like USW, Lasaffre is committed to helping the world’s baking industry grow to its fullest potential. USW admires the mission of its baking competition cycle. We wish all the candidates good luck, including bakers from the United States, as well as bakers from U.S. wheat importers Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China and Brazil.

Read more online at www.mastersdelaboulangerie.com, or follow the competition on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and by following #BakeryMasters2018 and #MastersBoulangerie2018.

 

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The New Year always brings out trade and consumer media coverage of best products and trends from the previous year and the year ahead. As 2018 dawned, some pundits put wheat foods in a prominent place.

The media company Bloomberg, for example, named bread as its “Dish of the Year for 2017.”

“Restaurants and bakeries have shown what can truly be done to make bread a culinary wonder,” they wrote.

Freshly ground, whole wheat flour gets a lot of credit for the trend (obviously a narrow slice of the U.S. market), but Bloomberg took a longer view, also.

“One of the biggest cookbooks in 2017 had bread as its focus. ‘Modernist Bread,’ a sprawling, five-volume work, provides a revolutionary new understanding of one of the most important staples of the human diet, bread,” Bloomberg noted. “The collection offers comprehensive information on the subject of bread, from its history, to its science and physics, to techniques and recipes that will astound bread enthusiasts.”

The U.S.-based National Restaurant Association raised the humble doughnut to celebrity status in its “What’s Hot – 2018 Culinary Forecast,” a survey of 700 professional chefs on “hot trends on restaurant menus in the year ahead.”

Specifically, the list suggests restaurants will make more doughnuts with “non-traditional” fillings.

“When we think of doughnuts, we tend to conjure up images of glazed treats filled with vanilla cream,” the association noted. “But in 2018, more creative options abound. How does a cheesecake-stuffed doughnut, topped with raspberry jam, sound? … that’s what we’re talking about.”

“Fortune” magazine’s food trends for 2018 suggested an “era of permissibility” is afoot with a fusion of different foods including sushi croissants to pasta donuts.

“The salmon roll wrapped inside croissant dough, sometimes called the “croissushi,” debuted this year at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in Los Angeles,” editors exclaimed. “The spaghetti donut hails from the East Coast, made from pasta, eggs, and cheese fried into a donut shape for hand-held ease.”

We suspect the farmers USW represents, flour millers and wheat food companies around the world like the direction this is headed.

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By Marsha Boswell, Director of Communications, Kansas Wheat Commission

In an effort to increase consumer trust in the domestic wheat industry, U.S. wheat farmers have created a consumer-minded marketing campaign called “EatWheat” to increase awareness of farming and production practices as well as the practical benefits of wheat in the United States.

This campaign will allow the U.S. wheat industry to speak with one voice in an effort to reclaim the national conversation on wheat and share one primary message among numerous influencers while dismantling the false promises of diets without wheat.

Wheat foods are eaten all over the world and U.S. wheat is exported to all parts of the globe. Food is an expression of cultural identity and many favorite family memories from celebrations and holidays are often associated with wheat foods. Food is also a great unifier across cultures. And “to break bread together” is symbolic for bonding relationships.

The EatWheat campaign provides an opportunity to share the story of food culture and customs and helps foster a connection between people, including U.S. wheat and their customers. There are many popular wheat foods around the world made with U.S. wheat. Pan de muerto is a type of sweet roll traditionally baked in Mexico as part of the Dia de los Muertos observance. Agege bread is one of the most popular Nigerian breads, known for its soft, stretchy and chewy texture. In Japan, U.S. wheat is used in ramen or udon noodles, and in China it is used for Chinese wheat noodles and steamed buns. Pancit or noodles is probably one of the most well-known Filipino dishes. In Filipino vernacular, pancit simply refers to noodles. When Brazilians ask for “o pão nosso de cada dia” (our daily bread) most think of a roll with a crisp brown crust and a light-as-air crumb that fits neatly in the palm of a hand, known as pão francês. In Indonesia, traditional breads might include Bagelen bread, crocodile bread or gambang bread.

All too often, when urban consumers in the United States look down at their plate, they may not know how that food came from the farm to their table. While it may not be top of mind, many are wondering about the farmers who produce the food they consume and the processes used to grow it.

The website aims to create awareness of farm and production practices through the lens of food as an identity. And the food that we think can connect best is, of course, made with basic, simple and versatile wheat flour. And it does not matter if it is homemade for hours, or picked up at the supermarket ready-to-go — wheat food is a natural way to connect to others and yourself. EatWheat.org launched in November 2017, just in time for the holiday season.

On the site, consumers can find answers to their questions about wheat production practices, share their values with wheat farmers and engage.

Kansas wheat farmers are the driving force behind the EatWheat.org campaign and want to share the farmers’ side of the story through the website, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. The site features stories of family farmers including Justin Knopf, who farms with his dad, Jerry, and his brother, Jeff.

“Our farm today looks much different than when I was a kid,” said Justin, a fifth-generation farmer focused on a sustainable future. “We are farming more acres because now, instead of just one family, there are three families to support. The machinery we use is different. Just like anyone’s life or job, we are using technology so we can better understand the biology and soils. All those things point to continual improvement which is important. We’re thinking critically about how we produce, where it comes from…”

Jerry Knopf is proud of how far their family farm has come.

“I just farmed because it was what I needed to do,” said Jerry. “I thought it was pretty cool they were willing to go to college but then come back and farm, because now they knew the new way to do things and are way smarter than I ever was.”

To watch the video of Justin’s story, visit https://eatwheat.org/stories/justin-knopf/.

Finally, the site features quick and easy recipes geared toward moms on the go, using ready-to-eat wheat foods like tortillas, bread and buns, and short-cuts including refrigerated dough and pasta. The “Learn” section tackles questions such as, ‘what is gluten,’ ‘what are the different types of flour’ and ‘what are some of the tools farmers use.’ Consumers can also “Get Inspired” with family activities like salt dough handprint ornaments, gingerbread houses and wheat décor.

Please visit EatWheat.org to learn more and help amplify these messages by sharing social media posts at facebook.com/eatwheat.org, instagram.com/eatwheat/ and pinterest.com/eatwheatorg/.

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Two new resources developed by milling and baking organizations in North America that communicate how consumers can reduce the risk of food-related illness are now available. The North American Millers’ Association (NAMA) and the Canadian National Millers Association (CNMA) have produced a new food safety educational video designed to help eliminate the food safety risk associated with wheat flour by educating consumers on proper handling and baking instructions. In addition, NAMA worked with the U.S. based Home Baking Association to add specific information to its “Baking 101” resource about how consumers can minimize food safety risks with raw flour.

“Wheat is a healthy and wholesome grain, and an important part of the global food supply,” said NAMA President and CEO James A. McCarthy. “From farm to kitchen, the entire wheat industry is committed to best practices for food safety, and the simple and easy to use video is designed to help consumers understand and apply proper handling and baking procedures so they can safely enjoy their favorite baked goods.”

NAMA, CNMA and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration advise that flour is made from wheat grown and harvested on the farm, and it is possible for wheat to be exposed to environmental sources of E. coli and other bacteria that may present a food safety risk. Thus, raw flour is not ready to eat, and consumers should not eat or taste raw flour, dough or batter prior to cooking or baking as they can cause illness if harmful bacteria are present. However, proper cooking and baking eliminates the food safety risk associated with E. coli and other bacteria in raw wheat flour, dough and batter.

“An informed consumer is a safe consumer when it comes to food safety and at-home baking,” said CNMA President Gordon Harrison. “This video will make it easier for consumers to understand and implement a few simple food safety precautions that help protect them and their families.”

USW has posted the video on its YouTube channel. It is also posted on the CNMA website.

The “Baking 101” developed by the Home Baking Associations now features these baking food safety steps:

  1. Store raw flour, baking mixes, dough and eggs separately from ready-to-eat foods.
  2. Before baking, tie back long hair, clean counters, assemble ingredients and equipment, wash hands, and apron-up.
  3. Keep separate the measuring, mixing and handling of unbaked batter or dough from cooling, serving and packaging of baked products.
  4. Test baked products with wooden toothpick or cake tester and food thermometer at center to ensure products are completely baked.
  5. Clean tools, work surfaces and equipment with hot, soapy water or in dishwasher.
  6. Wash hands before you taste, serve or package baked goods.
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By Megan Meyer, PhD, International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation

Original article first appeared in March 2017

[IFIC is] rounding out National Nutrition Month [March], with a new Sound Science analysis. In fact, this Sound Science piece includes a double feature. Recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a pair of studies focused on a variety of health benefits associated with whole grain consumption, specific to the body weight and microbiome. Whether you are a carb enthusiast, carb skeptic, or somewhere in the middle, it’s important to take note new scientific findings and see how they align, enhance, or refute the current body of evidence. This will help you get the whole (grain) story.

A Closer Look at The Science

First up, the study by Karl et al., examined the effects of whole and refined grains on energy and metabolism endpoints. The study enrolled 81 participants in an eight-week study. The participants were divided into two groups: a whole grain group and refined grain group. The diets differed only in the types of carbohydrates consumed. Interestingly, the study found that the whole grain group had a calorie deficit (burned off more than they took in) more each day due to a few different factors, including an increased resting metabolic rate. Moreover, the authors postulated that this calorie loss could “translate into a ~2.5-kg (5.5 lbs.) body weight loss over one year.”

The other complementary study by Vanegas, et al., analyzed different endpoints and samples from the Karl et al., study to investigate the impact of whole grains on the microbiome. The microbiome is a complex community of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses found on and in our bodies. While we are only at the early stages of understanding the impact of the microbiome, current research indicates that these communities provide us with important health functions.

One of the largest microbial communities resides in our gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. Data from Vanegas et al., demonstrate that short-term whole grain consumption altered the GI microbiome composition and modified specific immune system and inflammatory markers. However, the researchers acknowledged that these effects were “modest” and that additional follow-up studies are “needed to observe more dramatic effects on immune and inflammatory responses.”

How does this impact what we already know?

So how do these findings stack up with the body of evidence? These findings feed in nicely to the current recommendations regarding carbohydrates and whole grains, which is to make half of your grain intake whole grains. In fact, comprehensive evidence from the Nutrition Evidence Library indicates that there is moderate evidence linking whole grain intake and lower body weight. If you are looking to boost your whole grain intake and meet the daily recommended 48 grams, try to incorporate more whole wheat flour, oats, cornmeal, popcorn, brown rice, bulgur, barley, rye, and quinoa into your diet.

However, this does not mean that there isn’t a place for other grains, such as enriched refined grains. Enriched refined grains contribute a variety of essential micronutrients such as B vitamins, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid, as well as iron. These micronutrients are key for supporting your overall metabolism and some specific micronutrients, such as folic acid, decrease the risk of neural tube development during pregnancy.

While these two studies on whole grains reveal a compelling reason to make half your grains whole, don’t forget about their other half. Both whole and enriched refined grains contribute important nutrients and are key components of a healthy eating pattern.

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Bakers around the world consider flour produced from U.S. wheat to be consistently high quality and versatile. That reputation is earned largely because wheat farmers grow excellent crops (supported by quality data from USW) the crops are delivered through the most efficient grain handling system in the world, and because USW invests trade service, technical support and more to serve the world’s wheat buyers and wheat food processors.

One of those technical experts is Bakery Consultant Roy Chung who, from a base in Singapore, has represented U.S. wheat for almost 40 years. He has consistently added value to U.S. wheat imports by introducing quality bread processing to the milling and baking industry across South Asia in conjunction with his USW colleagues and training program collaborators.

The association of such expertise and service with U.S. wheat’s reputation overseas is so well regarded that leading French yeast and fermentation products company Lesaffre asked Chung and USW to collaborate on an innovative publication called “Sandwich Bread in Words. A Glossary of Sensory Terms.” Lasaffre describes the booklet, published in January 2017, as a tool “to formalize a common vocabulary about sandwich bread, drawing on different cultures and incorporating a repeatable assessment method … to create a bridge to connect experts with consumers.”

Lasaffre’s baking ingredients and flour produced from HRS and HRW wheat classes are ideally suited for the high quality “sponge and dough” system bread products that Chung describes in the book: “The internal characteristics, like flavor, grain, texture, taste, mouthfeel … will determine if the customer returns for another loaf. The vested interest of the baker is to make the best possible looking and tasting product with the best ingredients available.”

Didier Rosada confirms that consumers around the world are looking for better tasting, more natural bread. He is a globally respected master baker and vice president of operations at Uptown Bakers, where he produces quality baked goods for food service and retail stores in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. He is a frequent consultant with USW, particularly in Latin America.

“Baking is changing in a good way,” Rosada said. “At my bakery, my process is as natural as possible, with long fermentation time, like it used to be done, to bring back the flavor profile of a good bread, the keeping qualities and texture, etc. And the classes of wheat that we have in the U.S. are perfect for that. I am using a flour that is almost 100 percent hard red winter or sometimes combined with hard red spring wheat.”