Kells Wholemeal, which sells bread and cake mixes, applied to the US-based Whole Grains Council (WGC) to use its popular stamp as a symbol of quality.
Although the Whole Grain Stamp is primarily used in the US market, it is starting to spread to other countries – including Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the UK – where manufacturers use it as a means to highlight and differentiate products made with whole grains.
The stamp, which was launched in 2005 as a means to help consumers track their consumption of the healthy grains, now appears on around 2,600 products that contain at least 8g of whole grain per serving.
According to Kells Wholemeal operations manager Robert Mosse, it is becoming increasingly important to provide consumers with guarantees of a product’s healthfulness.
"Consumers have become increasingly health conscious and we are constantly updating our products to reflect this," he told the publication Kilkenny People.
"We wanted something to help promote our products and to set us apart,” added Bill Mosse, managing director of the family-run firm.
"We feel it's hugely important that people can identify where their food came from and that customers are starting to care more about food in general. The Stamp is a reassurance to the consumer that our products are authentic and the challenge for us was to meet the strict criteria of the Council while making the bread as tasty as possible.”
Whole grains are found in products such as whole wheat, oatmeal, popcorn and brown rice. They consist of any grain that has retained its starchy endosperm, fibre-rich bran and its germ after milling.
These grains have long been known to provide high levels of fibre, but new research in recent years has also revealed that they provide vitamins, minerals and high levels of antioxidants.
The grains have also been shown to help reduce the risk factors for a number of diseases, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Whole Grain Stamp
Kells Wholemeal said it took six months from the time it applied to use the stamp to the final approval for its use.
In order to use the basic Whole Grain Stamp, products must contain at least 8g of whole grain per labeled serving. Products containing at least 16g of whole grain, and where all the grains are whole grains, qualify to use the 100% Whole Grain Stamp.
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According to statistics provided to BakeryAndSnacks.com this morning, launches of wholegrain products in the UK and Ireland increased by a massive 500 percent between 2002 and 2008.
Although this significant increase is characteristic of a market in its infancy, the figures are a good indication of sustained upward growth.
In 2002, Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) recorded four new products making a “wholegrain” claim launched in Ireland. In the UK, there were 29 product launches that year.
By 2008, these figures had increased to 24 and 171 respectively. In 2009 to date, there have been 10 whole grain product launches in Ireland and 81 in the UK.