With the exception of those few that have celiac disease, consumers generally accept the health benefits of grains, and especially whole grains. The USDA recommends eating grains daily with at least half of those being whole grains. If you don’t suffer from celiac, gluten intolerance or some other reason that warrants the cut-back of grains, there’s good reason to eat whole grains. “"You’re getting fiber, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that will improve your health," says Lilian Cheung, DSc, RD, a lecturer in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Whole grains contain all the parts of the original kernel, the bran, germ, and endosperm. In refined grains the bran and germ are taken out. On the ingredient list of a whole-grain product, the word “whole” will be in front of the word grain or wheat.

Whole Grains Growing In Popularity

Health benefits aside, whole-grain products sell, and they continue to sell more and more. Putting multiple whole-grain items in your bakery, using whole-grain breads for sandwiches, and offering other whole-grain dishes at you foodservice department will give you better access to the market.

According to the 2012 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, the presence of whole grains in a product is a strong factor in influencing consumers to buy a product. When asked what considerations drove their purchases, consumers' top choices were calories (71 percent), whole grains (67 percent), fiber (62 percent), sugars in general (60 percent), sodium/salt (60 percent), and fats/oils (60 percent).

The success of the Whole Grain Stamp shows the awareness of consumer desire to buy more whole grains and whole-grain products. As of January 2015, the Whole Grain Stamp is on over 10, 000 different products. A report published in a 2010 Journal of the American Dietetic Association states the most common packaging symbol that dieticians recommend to their clients is the Whole Grain Stamp.

There are two different varieties of the Whole Grain Stamp, the Basic Stamp and the 100 percent Stamp.

If a product bears the 100% Stamp, then all its grain ingredients are whole grains. There is a minimum requirement of 16 g – a full serving – of whole grain per labeled serving, for products using the 100 percent Stamp.

If a product bears the Basic Stamp, it contains at least 8 g – a half serving – of whole grain, but may also contain some refined grain. Even if a product contains large amounts of whole grain (23 g, 37 g, 41 g, etc.), it will use the Basic Stamp if it also contains extra bran, germ, or refined flour.

Products Using the Stamp, by Food Group

  • Breads, rolls and bagels  23%
  • Cereal: cold  17%
  • Snacks (pretzels, chips, crackers, etc.)  12%
  • Cereal: hot  9%
  • Pizza, pizza crust  6%
  • Side dishes (rice, other grains)  6%
  • Treats (cookies, cakes, muffins)  5%
  • Pasta  5%
  • Bars: granola and breakfast  4%
  • Flour  3%
  • Tortillas, wraps, flatbreads  3%
  • Entrées, main dishes  3%
  • Baking mixes  1%
  • Waffles, pancakes, French toast  1%
  • Soups  <1%
  • Beverages  <1%

Products Using the Stamp, by Whole Grain Content

  • 100% Stamp, provides 16g or more  32%
  • Basic Stamp, provides 16g or more  32%
  • Basic Stamp, provides 8g to 15g  36%