Why a Checkoff?

A Grain Foods Industry Checkoff

Recognizing the recent trend of decline in consumer bread sales and overall wheat flour use, the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) initiated an assessment of the need for a potential checkoff program that would seek to halt the decline in wheat flour use per capita and also position the industry to proactively identify and address future threats. GFF has evaluated the state of the grains category, the need and desire for a national industry promotions program, and an initial pilot plan for the program.

Through an initial feasibility study, GFF conducted stakeholder outreach, accumulated supporting data, and drafted an agreed-upon path forward. GFF is committed to continuing its engagement through strategic outreach to industry stakeholders about the goals of the checkoff.

Adding Value for the Industry Now

The Grain Foods Foundation is conducting a feasibility study to assess the interest in establishing an industry checkoff program. Based on the feedback from our initial stakeholder assessment, the Foundation saw an opportunity to assess whether there is demand for a program to pool resources and strengthen the Foundation’s efforts to promote and protect the industry as a whole.

This feasibility study will be conducted over the next few months. During this time, we will continue our work to serve as the voice of the industry and to showcase the benefits of grains. Regardless of whether we pursue a checkoff program, the feasibility study process will yield insights that will help to advance our programming now and in the future.

Gaining Industry Insights

We have established a Steering Committee, including representatives of bakers and millers both large and small, to govern the process, establish parameters and guardrails, and ensure that all voices and perspectives are heard and considered. The Steering Committee has helped us gain a true understanding of the desire for this type of program, as well as the needs and goals of those in the industry.

We will further engage influential stakeholders through a variety of task force committees in order to gain a deeper understanding of the issues impacting the industry and identify opportunities to best protect and promote our products, tapping experts with knowledge and experience in key areas will help us to better understand, and ultimately address, the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. These experts will include diverse industry stakeholders such as millers, bakers, retailers, academics, associations, and allied partners.

A grain foods industry checkoff would complement and enhance industry partners’ current efforts. For example, wheat grower checkoffs are currently focusing largely on pest, disease, and wheat genetics research. Some messaging is around market development and the healthfulness of wheat products but, by and large, the focus is on benefits to farmers in the field.

The efforts of wheat growers to promote products would be complemented, and industry promotions would be coordinated, with the goal of reversing the downward trend in many grain foods sectors. Reversing that trend will provide benefits not only to grain foods companies but also to wheat growers, who will see demand for their products increase. In the current farm economy, increases in demand will be critical to the future success of America’s wheat farms.

Leveraging Learnings

The work of task force groups will be a valuable asset to the industry regardless of a checkoff program. Investing in this work will provide clear strategic guidance for the Grain Foods Foundation’s work, shaping both messaging and programming immediately and over the long term.

  • Consumer Research: Assess consumer behaviors and perceptions of the industry to help better inform programming and messaging.
  • Scientific Research: Engage academic experts to determine credible claims and nutritional benefits of the industry’s products.
  • Industry Innovation: Industry-wide assessments to identify key areas of opportunity for growth and development.

Industry Benefits and checkoff roadmap Roadmap

Industry Involvement

A grain foods industry checkoff would complement and enhance industry partners’ current efforts. For example, wheat grower checkoffs are currently focusing largely on pest, disease and wheat genetics research. Some messaging is around market development and the healthfulness of wheat products but, by and large, the focus is on benefits to farmers in the field.

The efforts of wheat growers to promote products would be complemented, and industry promotions would be coordinated, with the goal of reversing the downward trend in many grain foods sectors. Reversing that trend will provide benefits not only to grain foods companies but also to wheat growers, who will see demand for their products increase. In the current farm economy, increases in demand will be critical to the future success of America’s wheat farms.