Whole grain, rye and oat products are traditionally cornerstones in the Nordic food culture as well as important items of export. At the same time the interest in these products is increasing on a global level.
The main purpose of the Grainity project was to promote whole grain, rye and oat as a part of a healthy diet – in the Nordic countries and internationally. This was done by highlighting Nordic research, fostering collaboration between academia and the industry and encouraging the creation of networks.
- A lot of research has been made in this field, and there is an interest for and a need to use this data for developing and marketing of cereal foods, says Professor Kaisa Poutanen from VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland.
Even though the Nordic countries have their own ways of using whole grain, rye and oat, they all share the same passion for these products.
- An increased use of cereal grains has significance for the entire region. Instead of working separately, we should come together and share our knowledge, Poutanen says.
Through the Grainity project the Nordic collaboration was extended to the Baltic countries, where the health aspects of cereal foods have been less considered. The project served as a scientific discussion forum in order to contribute to the development of functional whole grain, rye and oat products, and to identify the communication and research needed to raise the awareness about the health benefits of these products – both on a national and international level.
Focusing on rye
Two workshops were organized in Riga and in Vilnius, functioning as forums for networking and sharing information, with focus on how to promote the use of healthy cereal foods around the Baltic sea and internationally. The focus was especially on rye, which is not used a lot outside the Nordic region.
- Overall the knowledge of whole grain products is not that good in Southern Europe, but we can see that it is slowly starting to change in some parts of Central Europe, for example in France, Poutanen states.
Other concrete outcomes from the Grainity project are two informative web pages and the book Rye and Health, which is written by Nordic experts and will published by an American publisher.
- The aim of the book is to raise the interest in rye as a food ingredient. Our hope is that the book will be used in teaching, as an inspiration for further research and by food companies as a source of knowledge.
Dr. Pekka Lehtinen, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Project co-ordinator)
Prof. Kaisa Poutanen, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (Project co-ordinator)
Herman Adlercreutz, Institute for preventive Medicine, Nutrition and Cancer, University of Helsinki
Risto Viskari, Fazer Bakeries (Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia)
Tarja Kujala, Vaasan&Vaasan Group (Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia)
Helle Nygaard Lærke, University of Aarhus, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Knud Erik Bach Knudsen, University of Aarhus, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Stefan Sahlström, Nofima Food AS (former Matforsk AS)
Anders Högberg, Orkla (Norway, Sweden)
Stein-Erik Birkeland, TINE BA
Jie-Xian Zhang, Department of Nutritional Research, Umeå University
Göran Hallmans, Department of Nutritional Research, Umeå University
Per Åman, Department of Food Science, SLU, Uppsala
Kristin Österberg, Wasabröd
Ingmar Börjesson, Lantmännen Food (Sweden, Denmark and Norway)