Sprouted grains: The next big opportunity for the grain chain?
Sprouted whole grains could give the grain industry a real opportunity to claw back the initiative in the debate sparked by books like Grain Brain and Wheat Belly by tapping into demand for more nutrient-rich, minimally processed natural foods, but also a deeper interest in rebirth and renewal, say consumer insight experts.
Sprouted grains have started to germinate, and consumers instinctively buy into the notion that this is a good thing, even if they don’t know why, Datamonitor Consumer innovation insights director Tom Vierhile told FoodNavigator-USA.
Indeed, Datamonitor Consumer’s 2015 ingredient survey found consumers rated sprouted grains more highly than kale, ancient grains, Greek yogurt and coconut oil – placing them at #14 out of 100 healthful ingredients, “with 70% of consumers globally [and 68% of US consumers] saying they thought sprouted grains/seeds would have a positive impact on health," said Vierhile.
He added: “What is kind of remarkable about this is that most products made with sprouted grains do not really make any explicit health claims about what health benefits sprouting can provide [which range from improved digestibility to higher nutrient levels and improved flavor].
“I don’t think consumers really understand the benefits behind sprouted grains, but they do seem to regard them as sort of a ‘halo’ ingredient that may be better for them, or at least evidence that a product containing them is less processed.”
And while US retail sales of branded products making sprouted grain claims are fairly modest (around $100m* in 2014, $75m of which was from branded breads), sales have been growing at an average annual rate of +13% since 2011, Dr David Sheluga, consumer insights director at grains giant Ardent Mills, told FoodNavigator-USA....