BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, U.S. — A new survey of Americans’ eating habits shows that whole grains consumption is on the rise, according to the Whole Grains Council (WGC). The survey’s release coincides with the celebration of Whole Grains Month in September.
The online survey of 1,510 U.S. adults found that 64% of Americans have increased whole grain consumption “some” or “a lot” in the past five years. 31% said they nearly always choose whole grains, up from 4% five years ago. And 32% said they choose whole grains about half the time.
“For years, most people came nowhere close to whole grain recommendations, so it is encouraging to see that many are now benefiting from switching more of the grains they eat to whole grains,” said Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies, Oldways Whole Grains Council. “The next step is tempting Americans to expand their whole grain palates beyond bread, cereal and brown rice to delicious grains like spelt, farro, amaranth and teff.”
According to the WGC survey, breakfast remains the biggest eating occasion for whole grains at 37%, followed by dinner at 27% and lunch at 22%. Fourteen percent of whole grains are consumed as snacks, the survey said.
Results from the survey also show that the healthy message around whole grains is getting through to consumers. Nearly nine out of 10 (86%) of those who consume whole grains do so for the health benefits, the survey said. Meanwhile, 40% choose whole grains because they enjoy the taste.
The top five whole grain foods identified in the survey were whole wheat bread (31%), oatmeal (27%), popcorn (15%), whole grain cold cereal (15%) and whole grain pasta (8%).
As for grains, whole wheat, oats and brown rice were cited as the most popular whole grains. Nine out of 10 consumers surveyed said they have heard of whole wheat, oats and brown rice, and most have eaten them, but fewer than one in five said they have heard of spelt, farro, amaranth, Kamut or teff.
The Whole Grains Consumer Insights Survey was commissioned by Oldways Whole Grains Council and was conducted by SSI, Inc. between July 27 and Aug. 3.