The ABA has partnered with the Grain Food Foundation (GFF) on research into grain health and a snapshot of findings was presented at the ABA’s annual convention last month in Orlando, Florida.
Robb MacKie, president and CEO of ABA, said teaming up with the GFF had far exceeded expectations.
“It’s not just whole grains, where the message is very strong, but enriched grains where the data is very strong,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Take folic acid as an example – we’ve often said it’s the unsung hero and industry hasn’t done a good of a job as it could have of promoting the health aspects of folic acid, but it’s also iron; it’s potassium where I think you can holistically tell a story.”
He said research conducted by the GFF had drawn some interesting correlations between B vitamins and blood pressure and cholesterol, for example.
“It’s not all positive, there are some watch points we need to be careful of, but it’s so strong.”
“The next step is to arm the industry with specific tool and data points that will then help tell the story,” MacKie said.
This would hopefully be achieved with the publication of findings in peer-reviewed journals, he said, several of which the GFF had submitted its research to.
“As an industry, we’ve probably taken for granted that people know our story but getting this information into these highly regarded, well-respected journals (and some of the communication that will come out of that from mainstream media) will help change the story and consumer perception on our products.”
He said this was particularly exciting and relevant for industry at a time when attacks against food were becoming the norm. However, he said one study wasn’t going to cut it.
“I think in the cautionary tale here, this is going to have to take a gradual, constant drumbeat. Again, the Grains Food Foundation has submitted research to five different credibly organizations and we’re having conversations on where additional research could be done – both on enriched and whole grains.”
“…There’s never an endpoint in science, but what we need to do as an industry is try and facilitate well-researched and highly regarded research that will have incredibly influence when we get to the 2020 guidelines.”