Redefining wholegrains to improve consumer understanding

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Health claims, Whole grain, Aacc

A group of cereal scientists is looking to rewrite the definition
of a wholegrain to help consumers identify the healthy ingredient
in foods and lift their intake of wholegrains.

The American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), which has nearly 4,000 international members who are specialists in the use of cereal grains in foods, has assembled a committee to draft a new, consumer-friendly definition of whole grain.

The AACC definition could be influential as a growing number of governments establish health claims for wholegrains. The US Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for wholegrains and their impact on reduction of heart disease risk last December, following an application from Kraft Foods.

A voluntary health claims code set up in Sweden has also recently approved a health claim for wholegrains, which notes: 'A healthy lifestyle and a well balanced diet rich in wholegrain products reduces the risk for cardiac infarction/heart disease.'

Such moves will have an influence on future EU legislation on health claims, currently stalled through lack of consensus on its scope and terms, but expected to be taken up once again under the new parliament to be elected in June.

There is a large body of evidence to suggest that diets rich in plant foods, including wholegrain cereals, are not only associated with a lower occurrence of coronary heart disease but also reduce risk of cancers of the lung, colon, oesophagus and stomach.

They also appear to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

But according to Julie Jones, chair of the AACC's Grains in Health Task Force, the organisation's original whole grain definition was designed for use by industry and regulatory agencies and includes words that are neither easily understood by consumers nor helps them to select whole grain foods.

"Consumers need to have a guideline that will them make healthy choices,"​ she said.

The task force has proposed that 'Whole cereal grains and foods made from them consist of the entire grain seed usually referred to as the kernel.

'The kernel is made of three components - the bran, the germ and the endosperm. If the kernel has been cracked, crushed or flaked, then in order to be called whole grain, it must retain nearly the same relative proportions of bran, germ and endosperm as the original grain.'

'Whole grain ingredients may be used whole, cooked, milled into flour and used to make breads and other products, or extruded or flaked to make cereal products.'

AACC is seeking views on its proposed definition and has set up a special online discussion forum on its website​.

Related news

Related products

The Ingredients Show 2019 NEC Birmingham

The Ingredients Show 2019 NEC Birmingham

William Reed | 01-Jan-2019 | Product Brochure

We’ve been bringing food and drink markets together for over 150 years. And the drive to
inform and serve our sectors that fuelled the launch of...

Exploring Fibre Fermentation Profiles

Exploring Fibre Fermentation Profiles

Tate and Lyle | 27-Apr-2018 | Technical / White Paper

ProDigest developed the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME®), which explores the fermentation profiles of fibres and evaluates...

SMART FIBRES: time to exploit the health benefits

SMART FIBRES: time to exploit the health benefits

Roquette: Improving well-being by offering the best of nature | 01-Sep-2017 | Data Sheet

Consumers want wellbeing – not least a digestive comfort!Half of US consumers facing digestive issues consume high-fibre foods as a medicine while in 2017,...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Events

View more


View more