The prospective changing of the guard of the Wheat Foods Council offers an apt moment for the wheat-based foods industry to step back and take stock. Stakeholders at the W.F.C. and beyond should think hard about whether more significant changes would be appropriate than simply replacing Marcia Scheideman, who has resigned as president.
A number of interesting initiatives were launched while Ms. Scheideman led the W.F.C., including an Urban Wheat Field assembled in New York and a "Mom the Everyday Athlete" campaign encouraging a common-sense approach to eating and lifestyle. But beyond superficial differences, one would be hard pressed to identify a clear demarcation between these programs and those undertaken by the Grain Foods Foundation. Similar overlap also may be seen with groups devoted principally to whole grains. Given the extent to which all these groups’ fundamental objectives parallel one another, it is difficult to believe that the current arrangements are either as effective or as efficient as possible. Differences in funding sources, not program focus, define the varied interests. No matter what changes may emanate from the leadership shift at the W.F.C., what will never change is the need for the grain-based foods industry to put its strongest foot forward in defending and promoting its products. Whether the current constellation of groups offers the best way of achieving these objectives remains very much an open question.