Heritage grains make a comeback

Heritage grains make a comeback

Datamonitor has launched a new ForeSights report on how consumers, packaged foods manufacturers and the environment can reap rewards from heritage grains that have been farmed for thousands of years.


Ancient grains – or heritage grains – were highly prevalent before modern farming methods introduced hybrids. More nutritious, better for the environment and often locally grown, heritage grains meet current consumer needs for grain-based products that are delicious, healthy and good for the planet.

“There is a consumer backlash against mass-produced products with people increasingly questioning the credibility of processed foods and looking for greater transparency with regards to how and where products are manufactured and farmed,” says Tanvi Savara, Associate Analyst at Datamonitor Consumer. 

“64 per cent of consumers are either somewhat or extremely concerned about the impact of processed foods on their health, with 57 per cent claiming to be highly influenced by ‘natural’ claims when making food and beverage choices.”

The enhanced health benefits of heritage grains tap also taps into the growing consumer interest in health and well-being. Many heritage grains are gluten-free and contain significantly higher levels of nutrition – as much as double  the amount  of minerals and proteins – than modern wheats.

“Our research shows that 33 per cent of global consumers are heavily influenced by gluten-free claims while 34 per cent avoid certain foods and drinks for allergy reasons,” explains Savara. 

“In addition, there is a trend among high profile elite athletes to adopt gluten-free diets for sports performance, with many of this summer’s Olympic heroes claiming to eat gluten-free.  This – together with growing awareness of the health benefits – will have a significant effect on the already burgeoning mainstream consumer trend towards gluten-free.

“Food manufacturers can create win-win situations with products that are more nutritious, naturally gluten-free and which provide a premium offering and pricing,” continues Savara.  “Opportunities exist to meet consumer needs with indulgent and premium food products that are good for business as well as health.”

Datamonitor’s ForeSights series identifies concepts that could influence consumer trends and impact the consumer packaged goods market.

Holly Aston