Grain news: crops, labelling and websites

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

The UK wheat crop declined this year; a research organisation calls
for minimum whole grain requirements; and Cargill launches a
website for the grain industry.

UK wheat crop declines in quality ​The protein content, weight and moisture quality of UK wheat has declined this year from the 2006 season, according to the Home Grown Cereals Authority (HGCA). Average protein content is currently 12.2 per cent, down 0.4 per cent from the 2006/7 season, while crop weight declined 0.8kg to 75.6kg per hectolitre. The average Hagberg Falling Number, which measures the enzyme that makes bread rise, declined to 239 seconds compared to 294 seconds the previous season, the HGCA said. The loser the number, the higher the presence of the alpha-amylase enzyme in the crop, and excessive levels lead to sticky and poor quality loaves. However, wheat quality was very high in both the 2005 and 2006 seasons, HGCA economist Michael Archer told, and this year's crop is consistent with crops over the past ten years. "Manufacturers may have to import more wheat from abroad this year, but that depends on market variables, such as demand, so it is too early to say,"​ he said. IGD pushes for minimum whole grain requirement ​The food and grocery research organisation IGD today called for a minimum cereal requirement in foods marketed as whole grain, as part of a guide to encourage consumption in the UK. "Currently in the UKthere are no agreed minimum levels of whole grain inclusion which should be achieved in foods before its presence is communicated,"​ the IGD said. The group recommends a minimum level of eight grams whole grains per serving, based on final batch load proportions. A minimum level is needed to help consumers eat more cereals in the UK, where consumption is generally low, the IGD said. "People who consume diets rich in whole grains seem to have a lower incidence of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes." ​ According to British Heart Foundation (BHF) statistics released in July, one in five men and one in six women in the UK will die of cardiovascular disease (CVD), while one in three of all deaths are caused by CVD. Cargill launches grain website ​US ingredients company Cargill this week launched, an online marketing resource for producers and manufacturers. The site will inform customers on grain cost quotes, prices and market commentaries, the company said. "We worked closely with customers over many months to create an online resource with the market analysis and account functionality they indicated was vital to managing their businesses,"​ said database manager Jeff Klock. "For example, our interactive 'Solutions Finder' tool asks a series of questions to help producers identify specific contracts and services that might better fit their specific grain marketing preferences and needs,"​ he added. In 2008, password protected access will also be added to the site, allowing customers to track their individual business, Cargill said.

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