By the time activities of the Grain Foods Foundation commenced in 2005, per capita consumption of flour had declined a precipitous 13 lbs in only eight years. Had that trend continued, per capita consumption of flour in 2015 would have stood at 118 lbs, within sight of the dismal modern era low of 110 lbs set in 1971.
Instead, per capita consumption pretty much has leveled off, holding within 3 lbs of 135 every year for the past 10. Still, the decline to 133 in 2015, a tie for the lowest level during this period, should be a cause of genuine concern.
In the years since its creation, the G.F.F. has undergone considerable change in response to a steadily evolving environment for grain-based foods. “Wheat Belly,” “Grain Brain” and the gluten-free craze were not yet on the scene when the group was established initially as the Foundation for the Advancement of Grain Based Foods. Early efforts centered on consumer marketing have shifted toward science-based research and messaging directed toward influencers. This June, the G.F.F. will bring industry marketing and communications specialists together for GFF Unpacked, a one-day summit in Boston. The challenges facing grain-based foods have not relented, and the importance of marshaling together all of the industry’s communications resources makes great sense and merits broad participation.