Falling interest in low carb diets helps boost grain products

Posted by Isobel Drake on 6th April 2009

For years, restrictive high-protein/low-carb diets were the bane of the United States’ declining market for grains and grain-based foods. However, the low-carb fad is fading as health-minded eaters, who prefer a wider variety of foods and the health advantages these foods offer, re-integrate grains into their diet and inadvertently resuscitate the market.

According to market research publisher Packaged Facts in the brand-new report, The U.S. Market for Whole and Other Grains: Trends and Developments, estimated retail sales for core grain foods, such as rice, flour, oatmeal, and dry grains, received a substantial boost in 2008 – growing by 17% year-on-year.

Decades of refined grain use are now giving way to a new appreciation for the nutritional value of whole grains in Western countries. Grains, as they appear in their healthiest forms (i.e. whole grains), are garnering acclaim from health and nutrition professionals for their ability to play an important role in a healthy diet without necessarily contributing to weight gain or sugar imbalance. Refined grains are still widely used, but are now recognised as less desirable for optimal nutrition and weight control.

Unsurprisingly, manufacturers are scrambling to accommodate the recent popularity of grains with the development of new grain-based products and a re-commitment to old standbys. There has also been a noticeable increase in products using the “whole grain” food label and touting heart-healthy benefits.

“New product introductions in grains in 2007, 2008 and early 2009 reflect a focus on whole grains, high fiber with its attendant claims for heart health, convenience in the form of prepared mixes and single-serve packaging, natural products, and gluten-free products,” Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts, advised.