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19 Nov 2020


Health & Consumers

Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW), a joint venture between Nestlé Breakfast Cereals and General Mills, is calling on governments and consumers to recognise the role and contribution of whole grain in a healthy, sustainable food system and make it a priority in their food and nutrition policies.

Globally, 1 in 5 deaths is associated with a poor diet (1). Eighty-eight percent of countries are encumbered by malnutrition and diet-related non-communicable diseases (2). Despite the numerous health benefits associated with whole grain, research shows consumption of whole grain remains concerningly low. Globally, it is estimated that people are eating less than a quarter of recommended intake of whole grain per day (3).

The company’s call to governments reflects CPW’s purpose to Make Breakfast Better and is in line with their work to achieve their 2020 commitments - ensuring whole grain is the main ingredient in over 99% of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals for children and teenagers, and 100% of cereals carrying the green banner made with a minimum 8g of whole grain per serving.

David Clark, CEO of CPW said, “Whole grain has been shown to have a host of health benefits. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that simple steps such as education campaigns and clear information on the benefits of whole grain can make a real difference to consumption levels and impact on health. We want to support our industry partners and governments in ensuring whole grains can become a staple part of diets around the world”

CPW is calling for governments and policy makers to consider three measures to help increase consumption of whole grain in their countries.

  • Consistency in dietary guidelines with an emphasis on whole grain. Globally, there are over 100 different foodbased dietary guidelines. There is little uniformity between countries, even those that share a border. Greater focus on whole grains is needed both in the guidelines and the supporting images.
  • Clear front-of-pack labels which recognise the important contribution of whole grain on healthy diets. Front of pack labels have been recommended by the WHO as a tool to help prevent non-communicable diseases by helping consumers identify healthier food products(4). Currently, whole grain, despite its health benefits, is rarely taken into consideration.
  • Education and marketing campaigns on the benefits of whole grain. A whole grain campaign run by the Danish Whole Grain Partnership (DWGP) in collaboration with the Danish government and other health non-profit organisations increased average whole grain intake from 32g to 82g/day post campaign. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed actively looked for whole grain when shopping.

Increasing consumption of whole grain has the potential to not only benefit individual daily diets, but to do so in a sustainable way. Recent research from the WWF suggests that moving to a “planetary diet” (a balanced diet with lots of wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, and less sugar, oils, fats and meat (5)) can reduce wildlife loss by up to 46%, halt deforestation, and reduce food agriculture based greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% (6).

CPW’s support is part of an ongoing campaign around International Whole Grain Day on 19th November 2020. These ideas will be discussed in more detail as part of a global virtual meeting being hosted by the Whole Grain Initiative on 19th November.

  3. (29g average intake per day, compared with 125g recommended per day)
  6. WWF (2020). Bending the Curve: The Restorative Power of Planet-Based Diets. Loken, B. et al. WWF, Gland, Switzerland