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Research Article| Volume 54, ISSUE 12, P1086-1098, December 2022

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Knowledge, Messaging, and Selection of Whole-Grain Foods: Consumer and Food Industry Perspectives

  • Katrina R. Kissock
    Correspondence
    Address for correspondence: Katrina Kissock, BNutrDiet, APD, School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, 2522, Australia
    Affiliations
    School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

    Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Elizabeth P. Neale
    Affiliations
    School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

    Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
  • Eleanor J. Beck
    Affiliations
    School of Medical, Indigenous and Health Sciences, Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

    Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
    Search for articles by this author
Published:October 14, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.08.006

      Abstract

      Objective

      To explore whole-grain food definitions in labeling and relevance to consumers and the food industry.

      Design

      Semistructured focus groups and interviews.

      Setting

      Online.

      Participants

      Consumers (n = 43) aged ≥ 18 years currently purchasing/consuming grain foods. Food industry participants (n = 17) currently/recently employed within grain food companies.

      Phenomenon of Interest

      Impact of using whole-grain food definitions in labeling.

      Analysis

      Inductive thematic analysis.

      Results

      Six major themes included: consumer knowledge and understanding of whole-grain foods; factors affecting consumer grain food choices; consumer skepticism of labeling; consumer preferences toward whole-grain labeling; acceptability and feasibility of whole-grain food definitions in the food industry; and food innovation/reformulation. For the food industry, definitions impact feasibility, food innovation, and reformulation. Skepticism affected consumer knowledge and understanding, impacting grain food choice and their preference regarding whole-grain labeling. Consumers preferred whole grain in the name of a food and placing the percent of whole grain on the front-of-pack.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Our findings suggest that definitions and regulations, consumer education, and strategies addressing factors influencing consumer choice are needed to improve population whole-grain intakes. Future research may consider formal regulation and implementation of standardized whole-grain food definitions in labeling and explore the subsequent impact on consumer choice and whole-grain intake.

      Key Words

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