Activities of the Whole Grain Initiative

To drive whole grain acceptance and product availability, and to create and execute appropriate communication and education programs Whole Grain Summit participants identified the following four key goals: 


  1. Global Definitions
  2. Intake Recommendation
  3. Sustainability
  4. Promotion and Education

To carry out the action points necessary to meet the key goals, the following international working groups have been initiated by the Whole Grain Initiative:

 1. International Working Group on Whole Grain Definition(s) 

Definitions are needed to ensure that all people (academics, industry, public agencies) are globally on the same page to achieve not only scientific compliance but also transparency for consumers.


  • Reach consensus on a global definition of whole grain raw materials
  • Reach consensus on a whole grain food definition


  • Discuss a global definition of whole grain (raw materials) using existing definitions as a starting point.
  • Work on relations between a global definition and existing regional/national definition(s).
  • Follow a similar process for defining a whole grain food definition.

Chair: Jan Willem van der Kamp

Output documents:

This definition is approved and endorsed by ICC, the HealthGrain Fourm and the Cereals & Grains Association.

 2. International Working Group on Whole Grain Intake Recommendation(s) 

Studies show people eating more whole grains have reduced risks of many diseases compared to those eating less. More and more countries have official recommendations to choose whole grain-based foods. Nevertheless, current studies show wholegrain intake remains well below existing recommended levels.


  • Reach consensus on recommended quantitative whole grain intake, backed up by both health and economic research.


  • Document the health evidence for a specific whole grain intake recommendation.
  • Commission an evaluation of the economic impact on health care costs, productivity and other factors, from following such an intake.
  • Prepare a report detailing the intake recommendation and its economic impact, that can be delivered to policy makers globally.

Chair: Chris Seal

 3. International Working Group on the Economic Evaluation of Increased Whole Grain Intake 

There is consensus, based on epidemiological data, about the fact that an increased whole grain intake in western societies may result into a health improvement on a population basis and that the impact of this health gain could result in the reduction of health care cost. Economic modelling on existing data may provide convincing figures to help governments supporting whole grain intake to a higher extent than nowadays in their nutrition recommendations and policies.


  • Give insight into the economic impact of whole grains and health care costs relative to increasing whole grain consumption beyond current levels.


  • Creating knowledge of the supply chain of whole grain products and its consequences for production, sales, acceptability, environment, etc.
  • Developing an overview of technology limitations and consumer interest
  • Calculating / estimating the effects of different intake levels on a diversity of health risk factors
  • Modelling these data to estimate health benefits relative to health care costs and consequently the reduction these cost
  • Compiling information packages for NGO’s

Chair: Jan de Vries

 4. International Working Group on Best Practices for Public-Private Partnerships & Communication

Already established Public-Private Partnerships such as the Danish Whole Grain Partnership show that it makes sense working together to increase whole grain consumption and to disseminate authoritative whole grain statements and campaigns. These best practices as well as evidence-based whole grain information shall be collected and made easily accessible for any interested parties.


  • Create cohesive and consistent messaging and strategies around the promotion of whole grains, understanding that leveraging partnerships and aligning communications amplifies whole grain messaging and helps capture consumer attention.
  • Provide a framework that can be used in communities/countries/regions around the globe to bring together members of industry, government, academia, and/or health organizations in win-win partnerships that promote health and well-being through increased whole grain consumption.


  • Organize an annual event that brings together partners and stakeholders from around the world to raise awareness and create cohesive messaging around whole grains and health. (The first annual International Whole Grain Day event – held on 19 November, 2019 – came out of the efforts of this working group)
  • Create a toolkit that includes support materials, resources, and best practices for creating public-private partnerships (PPPs), along with clearly outlined steps for bringing various stakeholders together around a common mission and/or project
  • Establish a panel or advisory board of people who are willing to provide additional resources and assistance for new PPPs as they get off the ground

Chair: Caroline Sluyter

 4. International Working Group on Fact Based Whole Grain Information 

Form ongoing partnerships working together to increase whole grain consumption and to disseminate authoritative whole grain statements and campaigns globally.


  • Develop evidence-based fact sheets addressing popular myths/questions about whole grains and possible emotional appeals (tied to local cultures) to gives these facts greater impact. 


  • Collect and elaborate evidence-based fact sheets
  • Provide newsletters, articles and links that could be shared with key stakeholders around the world

Chair: Kelly Toups

 All relevant experts worldwide are invited to participate in the WGI working groups, please just contact us!