Consumers Attitudes Towards Flour and Grains: United States
US consumers hold different beliefs about flour and grains and their reasons for consuming them generally involve health concerns. For example, whole-grain consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular illness, cancer, and mortality. Taste is another reason which will influence populations' beliefs regarding different kinds of whole grains. Some whole-grain products consumed in the US include whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain cold cereal, and whole-grain pasta.
US CONSUMERS AND GRAINS
BELIEFS OF US CONSUMERS ABOUT GRAINS
- Of those who eat whole-grains, nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) do so for health benefits.
- Four out of 10 (40%) choose whole grains because they appreciate the flavor.
- 79% claim that the whole-grain stamp would increase their likelihood of buying a product, about half of which would also consider sugar, sodium, and other variables.
- Among consumers, 61% said whole grains are good or bad for digestive health, and only 4.5% said whole grains are bad.
- According to IFIC's 2019 Food and Health Report, over 80% of Americans view whole foods as healthy, edging all other food groups and nutrients mentioned except fiber (approximately 90%).
- By contrast, less than 50% of customers perceive refined enriched grains as healthy.
- According to the 2019 Study of the American Bakers Association, Millennials and Gen Zers commented that "full grains," "freshness," and "natural ingredients" are the most significant dietary descriptors in all baked goods product classifications.
- HealthFocus International's Cali Amos reports that half of shoppers are interested in ancient grains, and "approximately 40% say they use ancient grains at least once a week."
- One of the key metrics in the 2015 Food & Health Survey is that 67% of Americans believe whole grains are the most significant item they are looking for on packages.
WHY AMERICANS CONSUME GRAINS
- Higher whole-grain consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular illness, cancer, and mortality.
- The "American Dietary Guidelines for 2015–2020" recommend that at least half of the total intake of grains come from whole grains.
- A developing body of studies indicates that the selection of whole grains and other less processed, higher-quality carbohydrate sources, and the reduction of refined grains, in many respects improve health.
- An Iowa Women's Health Study report related whole-grain intake with fewer fatalities due to inflammatory and infectious causes, excluding cardiac and cancer causes.
- Compared to females who rarely or never ate whole-grain foods, those who had at least two or more servings a day were 30% less probable to have died over a 17-year period from an inflammation-related illness.
- Eating whole grains rather than refined grains significantly reduces complete cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin concentrations.
- Replacing refined grains with whole grains and eating at least 2 doses of whole grains per day can assist decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- The cancer details are mixed. Some trials show a protective impact of whole grains and others show none.
- The fiber in whole grains helps avoid constipation by maintaining the stool soft and bulky, a prevalent, expensive, and aggravating issue.
- There is evidence that eating whole grains can decrease the danger of heart disease and certain cancers. Released in January 2005, the newly amended American Dietary Guidelines suggest that half of all daily grain servings be whole grains.
US CONSUMERS AND FLOUR
US CONSUMER BELIEFS ABOUT FLOUR
- Few consumers are fully aware of gluten. While more than 1 in 3 consumers properly identify gluten as a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, 1 in 5 know that it causes dough to rise.
- 24% of participants defined bread as excellent for digestive health but 39% as poor. By comparison, 36% defined breakfast cereals as excellent and 12% as poor.
- An International Dairy, Deli and Bakery Association (IDDBA) study from 2007 listed the top 10 favorite luncheon sandwiches breads. Wheat was number one, followed by Submarine/French (2), Multigrain (3), Sourdough (4), Croissant (5), Rye (6), Tortilla (7), White (8), Flatbread (9) and Pita (10).
- Historically, white flour was believed to be the food of the wealthy while unrefined flour was seen as the food of the hard-working and poor peasants. This belief is a plausible explanation for the low consumption of whole grains in the United States compared to refined grains.
- The trend toward lower consumption of wheat is influenced by books and blogs that suggest contemporary wheat is addictive and causes obesity and other chronic diseases and health situations.
- Some sources make consumers believe that gluten-free or wheat-free foods are more nutritious than products that include gluten.
WHY AMERICANS CONSUME FLOUR
- The Grain Foods Foundation of Washington pointed to the fiber content of bread as having a beneficial effect on digestive health.
- White bread has 2 grams of fiber per 100 grams and 6.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams of whole-wheat bread.
SOURCES CONSUMERS USE TO LEARN ABOUT NUTRITION (FLOURS AND GRAINS)
- In a survey, more than half of the study participants (54%) said that when they wished to learn more about good eating and nutrition, they searched online and read blogs.
- Changes in nutritional advice over the previous 15 years have developed consumer skepticism about dietitians and nutrition researchers' expert views.
- Currently, technology has made it simpler for individuals to discover their own nutritional data, says Joana Maricato.
- Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are following the guidance from the Dietary Guidelines to "keep at least half of your grains whole," with most Americans eating more whole grains than they did five years ago.
- The top five favorite whole-grain foods are Whole-Wheat Bread (31%), Oatmeal (27%), Popcorn (15%), Whole-Grain Cold Cereal (15%), Whole-Grain Pasta (8%).
- Whole grains include barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, oats, popcorn, quinoa, dark rye, whole-grain cornmeal, whole-grain crushed wheat, wild rice, and grain-based goods produced with 100% whole grains or their flours as described in the Food Patterns Equivalents Database (FPED).
We began our research by leveraging a compilation of industry reports, leading publications, expert blogs, and national databases such as the National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to determine the beliefs of United States consumers hold regarding flour and grains, which would include what they consume and why they consume it. After thoroughly combing through these sources, we were able to find pre-compiled information on general beliefs of US consumers towards flour and grains and reasons for the consumption of these food products. However, some sources were found to be older than two years but were still taken into account as it is evident that flour and grains have existed for generations with minimal change in their dietary composition and also because they have served the same health benefits over the years. Therefore, these sources still provide relevant and accurate information. We noted that less information was available on why Americans consume flour. This prompted the research team to dive deeper into the matter and the results revealed that wheat is highly controversial because it contains a protein called gluten, which can trigger a harmful immune response in some individuals. However, for the Americans who consume it, it is beneficial for digestive health as highlighted in the research.