Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Industry needs to adopt code of practice for wholegrains

Australians need more consistent messaging on the wholegrain content of foods to reduce confusion and help people make better grain-food choices, says the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC).

The Code of Practice for Whole Grain Ingredient Content Claims – developed through consultation with the food industry, public health and nutrition research community – sets a standard for labelling of wholegrain foods, which can vary widely in wholegrain content.

Responsible for the ongoing implementation of the code, the GLNC yesterday presented the latest updates on its uptake, impact and opportunities for food manufacturers, as well as the consumption and research trends, food innovation and insights, and suggestions on how to educate consumers to look for foods higher in wholegrain.

The event brought together delegates from the food industry, including manufacturers eligible to register with the code and representatives from 15 major companies that have taken a leadership role in signing up as registered users and aligning their use of wholegrain-ingredient content claims with this industry standard.

Registered users include leading brands Goodman Fielder, Sanitarium, George Weston Foods, Nestlé, Simplot, Cereal Partners Worldwide and Bakers Delight, with a combined total of more than 290 registered products.

GLNC Code Manager and Nutrition Program Manager Chris Cashman says uptake of the code to date is helping to ensure Australians can identify which foods actually contain a significant or higher amount of wholegrain, while also providing manufacturers with a point of difference for their wholegrain products.

“Consumers are being provided with more consistent descriptions on foods via the use of the wholegrain claim levels, the wholegrain ‘daily target intake’ statement and factual statements about the wholegrain content of foods aligned with the code on-pack and in product promotions,” he said. “This allows them to seek out foods higher in wholegrain.”

Products currently registered with the code represent 68 per cent of breads and 45 per cent of breakfast cereals that are eligible.

“This is a significant achievement, as bread and breakfast-cereal products are the leading contributors of wholegrain within the Australian diet,” Mr Cashman said. “However, to ensure the ongoing success of the code in helping consumers make informed choices, continued uptake by the food industry is needed across the spectrum of products eligible to use wholegrain claims.”

Despite dietary recommendations and the growing body of evidence to support wholegrain intakes, the GLNC’s 2014 ‘Australian Grains & Legumes Consumption & Attitudinal Study’, which canvassed the habits of more than 3,000 Australians aged two to 70 years, identified that the majority of Australians are not eating enough wholegrain foods.

“The results of this study reinforce the need for greater awareness of the nutritional benefits of wholegrains accompanied by a widely adopted industry standard to help people better understand the wholegrain content in foods and, ultimately, make better food choices when filling their supermarket trolleys,” Mr Cashman said.

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