Grocery Shopper Trends report whole grains are now the most sought after health claims on food packages, followed closely by claims about dietary fiber. In the December 2011 issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), contributing Editor A. Elizabeth Sloan writes about the latest whole grain trends in food.

The number of whole grain products has increased nearly twenty-fold between 2000 and 2010 according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database. More consumers look for the “100 percent whole wheat” descriptor on foods, more than they look for “a full serving of vegetables or fruit” notes Technomics Inc.’s 2010 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report.

In conjunction with U.S. shoppers caring more about whole grains and fiber in their food, according to a 2009 Kellogg’s survey more than one-third of adults were eating whole grains simply because they enjoyed the taste. In addition to taste, HealthFocus International reported last year that 37 percent of consumers are interested in whole grains for reducing the risk of cancer, 36 percent for both weight management and heart health, and 35 percent to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Restaurants are also beginning to feature more exotic rice, ancient grains, and other lesser known grains in everything from salads to cocktails. “Hot” items for 2011 included black/forbidden rice, quinoa, and red rice according to American Culinary Federation Chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association. Ancient grains like lamut, spelt and amaranth as well as flatbreads like naan, pappadum, lavash, pita and tortilla as top the trendy ingredient charts.

Source: Institute of Food Technologies Press Release