Whole Grains Council Kicks Off 5th Annual Whole Grains Challenge

National Award Program Recognizes Creative Foodservice Outlets

BOSTON -- The 5th Annual Whole Grains Challenge, an initiative of Boston-based 501(c)3 educational non-profit Oldways and its Whole Grains Council (WGC), is on -- and all dining and foodservice outlets are encouraged to compete in this annual awards program promoting whole grain consumption. Any school, hospital, workplace or restaurant serving at least one whole grain option every day during the month of October can participate.

"Whole grain consumption is up, and in part this is due to the increased availability of these delicious and healthy grains in restaurants, schools, corporate dining halls, and other foodservice outlets," said Cynthia Harriman, Director of Food and Nutrition Strategies for the Whole Grains Council and Oldways. "Last year's Whole Grains Challenge submissions were impressive and we look forward to seeing the creativity of this year's chefs, dining directors and foodservice operators who are helping to bring whole grain goodness to their patrons."

Restaurants and foodservice establishments can take part in the Challenge by visiting the Whole Grains Challenge page from October 1st - November 8th and submitting their entry via the online entry form. 2011 winners will be announced later in November.

Entries are accepted in ten categories including: Quick Serve Restaurant, Family/Casual Restaurant, Fine Dining, Lodging/Catering, K-12 Public Schools, K-12 Private Schools, College/University, Workplace, Healthcare and Other.

Last year's Grand Prize winner was Flik Independent Schools, a division of Chartwells / Compass, which won for its innovative "Eat. Learn. Live." program created for its more than 120 schools.

Winning entries are chosen based on whole grain offerings and any special efforts undertaken to encourage more whole grain consumption. For 2011, in addition to menu submissions and promotional efforts, a key entry requirement is to submit a favorite foodservice-scale whole grain recipe, which will be collected and used to create a Best of the Whole Grains Challenge Recipe Packet to help other foodservice operations increase their whole grain offerings.

The winners in each category will receive a variety of whole grain foods to try on their menus, along with an attractive framed medal commemorating their success. They'll also be part of the Whole Grains Council's national media coverage, where the winners in each of the ten categories will be announced to the press and featured on the WGC website. And just for entering, restaurants, schools and workplace dining halls will be added to the corresponding sections of our "Eating Away From Home" web page on the site.

The Challenge comes on the heels of Whole Grains Month in September when thousands of consumers joined the Whole Grains Stampede, a sweepstakes created by the Whole Grains Council to build awareness of these healthy, delicious whole grains. Heightened consumer interest ensures that foodservice operators' whole grain offerings in October will be especially welcome!

For more information about the Whole Grains Challenge, please visit: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/get-involved/whole-grains-challenge

Thanks to the following companies for donating cases of whole grain foods to Whole Grains Challenge winners: Barilla Foodservice, Blue Star Farms / Partner's Crackers, Bob's Red Mill, Caravan Ingredients / CSM, ConAgra Mills, Dr. Kracker, Fieldstone Bakery / McKee, General Mills / Nature Valley / Pillsbury / Gold Medal / Cascadian Farms, HomeFree, Indian Harvest, Lotus Foods, Minute Rice / Riviana, and Sunnyland Mills.

Please contact Rachel Greenstein (rachel@oldwayspt.org or 617-896-4888) for more information, including hi-res graphics, interviews with WGC and Oldways program managers, or recipes.

About Oldways and the Whole Grains Council
Oldways is an internationally-respected non-profit, changing the way people eat through positive and practical programs grounded in science and tradition. The Whole Grains Council (WGC), an Oldways program, has been working since 2003 to increase consumption of whole grains for better health, and in 2005 introduced the Whole Grain Stamp, now used in 23 countries. The WGC's many initiatives help consumers to find whole grain foods and understand their health benefits; help manufacturers and restaurants to create delicious whole grain foods; and help the media to write accurate, compelling stories about whole grains. You can learn more about both at http://www.oldwayspt.org and http://www.wholegrainscouncilorg