Latest figures reveal wholegrain surge

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Marketing Us

US sales of wholegrain cookies have skyrocketed 1,364 per cent in
the past year, marking them as the nation's fastest growing
wholegrain bakery product, according to market researcher AC

The group's latest figures reveal a surge in wholegrain product sales in the US over the past year.

For the year to June 18 2005, sales of wholegrain bread and baked goods rose 18.3 per cent, to $1.1bn; sales of wholegrain crackers were up 10.2 per cent, to $330m; wholegrain muffin sales surged 287 per cent to a total of $23.4m, while fresh wholegrain buns rose 23 per cent to $22m.

The wholegrain trend received a boost in January from the US Department of Agriculture's new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that adults consume at least three portion of wholegrains per day.

"The effect on sales was immediate,"​ said the AC Nielsen​ report. "Sales of key wholegrain categories in the first quarter of 2005 increased noticeably compared to the previous quarter."

In April, a report by Packaged Facts claimed that the food industry was "poised for a dramatic, fundamental change in the way grain-based products are manufactured and marketed."

An industry-wide drive to cash in on the upcoming wholegrain trend began last year, with grain-based food marketers including General Mills, Kellogg and Sara Lee reformulating their products with wholegrains in anticipation of the Dietary Guidelines.

The Packaged Facts report predicted a "spike" in wholegrain sales in 2005, with a gradual decline in subsequent years. Growth was forecast to stabilize at around 6 percent in 2009, with sales of $7.5bn.

This compares to less than one per cent growth in the US wholegrain market between 2000 and 2004, from $4.75bn to $4.79bn.

The move towards wholegrains has also been boosted by scientific evidence demonstrating the health benefits of the food group.

Recent research has revealed how wholegrain foods can have a protective effect against heart disease, stroke and diabetes, while also helping to keep weight down.

The wholegrain foods which have been less successful this year include frozen baked goods, which saw a 4.2 per cent decline in sales and breakfast bars, which declined 12.4 per cent.

The modest 0.8 per cent growth of wholegrain cereal resulted from an initial decline in sales last year, which was later offset by an 8.3 per cent growth in sales in the first quarter of 2005 in response to the new Dietary Guidelines.

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