New trend: sprouted grains

Tapping into consumers’ desire for ‘good’ carbs and healthier snacks, the use of sprouted grains is a small but fast growing niche.

“By taking grains and sprouting them before using them in snacks and other foods, they’re delivering ‘good’ grains that are naturally gluten-free for people who want to avoid ‘bad’ carbs and snack more healthily,” says Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business, which has been tracking the sprouted grains trend over the past year.

Driving interest in sprouted grains is a small but growing percentage of mainstream consumers who are reducing their consumption of carbohydrates, in particular foods made from wheat and corn. Positive references to sprouted grains are showing up in health-related media, such as Men’s Fitness magazine. In 2014, a survey found that 17% of Americans were already aware of products with sprouted grains and seeds.

The number of new product launches with sprouted grains is small – just 19 in 2014, according to Mintel – but numbers are growing fast.

Kelloggs is the first big company to adopt the trend, launching a sprouted grains version of its Kashi brand, with oats, barley, spelt and amaranth, at the end of 2014.

A number of breakfast cereals from start-ups and organic brands are using sprouted grains, and the concept has even shown up in better-for-you pizza.

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