With a Ph. D. in Grain Science, D’Anne uses her extensive knowledge of grains and their chemistry to help develop new products for Kellogg. Here, she talks about how grains can play an important role at the breakfast table and help provide a good start to any day.
What makes grains a smart choice for breakfast?
D’ANNE: In general, grains are a part of a balanced diet and we’re learning more every day. One of the greatest strengths, and the reason I incorporate them in my diet, is their contribution to both my soluble and insoluble fiber intake. Plus, there’s a wide variety of grains available that appeal to varied tastes and needs – there’s no need to be bored eating the same breakfast every day.
Why add vitamins and nutrients to grains? Aren’t they nutritious on their own?
D’ANNE: Cooking and milling grains so they can be consumed can sometimes remove key nutrients. Plus, there continues to be deficiencies in key nutrients in a lot of adult and children’s diets. Cereal and milk can be a leading source of select nutrients in many children’s diets.
How have Kellogg’s cereals evolved over the years?
D’ANNE: People’s tastes have changed when it comes to what they want for breakfast and our cereals are evolving to meet them. We’ve learned to modify the textures and flavors of grains by cooking them in different ways. And we’ve added extras like fruit and nuts. It’s sort of the same approach people take at home, modifying one of their favorite recipes for a great new taste.
We’re also seeing more interest from people in ancient grains, such as quinoa and millet. These tended to be the staples of the diet in many ancient and existing civilizations as they provided additional protein. They’re now starting to move in to the mainstream.
What is Kellogg doing to help parents make smart choices for their kids?
D’ANNE: We’ve become more vocal about explaining the benefits of cereal, on topics like the fiber and whole grain benefits of a cereal breakfast, and the great combination of cereal and milk to help deliver nutritious grains plus protein.
But what about parents who think there’s too much sugar in cereals?
D’ANNE: Sugar is always a concern for parents – us too. But in reality, less than four percent of daily-added sugar eaten in the U.S. is from cereal. And we’ve actually reduced the sugar in our kids’ cereals by 20 to 30 percent over the past several years. Plus, getting kids to eat things like whole grain is easier with even a slight addition of sweetness – the only nutrition that counts is nutrition kids will actually eat.
Do you have a favorite cereal?
D’ANNE: I grew up eating Kellogg’s cereals since my dad also worked for the company here in Battle Creek. So, I have several favorites actually - Raisin Bran®, Kashi® Autumn Harvest, Frosted Mini-Wheats® Chocolate and Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes®. The last two are my favorites when I reach for a little snack at night.
Finally, what’s next for Kellogg?
D’ANNE: We’re listening to people, learning more about what they want on their breakfast tables. For example, more Americans are paying closer attention to their weight, so we’ve modified our approach with Special K® foods and are offering more protein and whole grain options than ever before. We’re also continuing to deliver more of the nutrition consumers want in our cereals so you’ll see us continue to reduce both sugar and sodium in selected cereals across the globe. It’s our mission to remind people that breakfast cereal is still a great tasting, nutritious choice for their morning meal.