What's New on Your Supermarket Shelf?
Health, convenience prime concerns for consumers
Whole Grains on the Rise
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines' recommendation for three servings a day of
whole grains has led to an explosion of new products on supermarket
Manufacturers have launched new whole-grain breads, crackers, pasta, and
cereals. General Mills has reformulated all its cereals to include whole
grains, Wonder Bread has developed whole-grain flours that look and taste like
refined flours, and pasta makers are scrambling to make good-tasting
whole-grain blended pastas.
But what exactly are whole grains, and what can they do for you?
Whole grains contain the entire kernel of the grain, which includes
antioxidants and fiber that can protect against heart disease and reduce the
risk of breast and colon cancer, says Tallmadge. Dietitians note that people
who eat plenty of whole grains also tend to be leaner and have a reduced risk
of heart disease.
It may soon get easier to identify whole-grain products. If the FDA responds
to an industry request, icons will appear on packages of products made from
whole-grain sources. In the meantime, read the label and look for the word
"whole" before whatever type of grain was used in the product. Terms
like "seven-grain" and "100% wheat" don't necessarily mean it's
a whole-grain product.
And with the new recommendations to get five to nine servings of fruits and
vegetables a day, could Mom's urgings to eat our fruits and veggies finally be
"Stroll down the frozen or canned aisles to witness the explosion of
fruits and vegetables that include seasonings and upscale sauces," says
Natural and organic foods used to be found primarily in health food stores,
but today they line the aisles in most major grocery chains. Gone are the
bruised and often unappealing selections, making way for the competitively
priced evolution of organic private-label store brands.
"There is a growing awareness that organic foods are more than just
pesticide-free, and even if it costs more, the benefits to the consumer become
real," says Lempert. "The volume and efficiency of the emerging
private-label foods have kept the prices to 10%-15% more than