05 Spotlight
Cereal Foods World, Vol. 65, No. 3
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Spotlight on Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council

© 2020 Cereals & Grains Association

Abstract

This Spotlight features an interview with the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC). Established in the mid-1990s, GLNC’s is a not-for-profit health-promotion charity and an independent authority promoting the health and nutrition benefits of grains and legumes to consumers on behalf of industry. Working under four guiding pillars, evidence, market insights, industry engagement, and community engagement, GLNC helps to further local and global understanding of the importance of grains and legumes in a balanced diet and advocates for the inclusion of healthy whole grains and legumes at an industry level. GLNC disseminates evidence-based content, performs category audits on a variety of grain- and legume-based foods, undertakes academic research to analyze grain and legume consumption in Australia and publishes academic papers, and collaborates with social media influencers to ensure the distribution of evidence-based messages.





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Q: What is the mission of the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC)? How does it contribute to our understanding of cereal and grain science in the context of the global food system (GFS)?

A: The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) is a not-for-profit health-promotion charity and an independent authority promoting the health and nutrition benefits of grains and legumes to consumers on behalf of industry. As a small organization with just three full-time employees—two accredited practicing dietitians and one marketing communications specialist—GLNC is well placed to provide evidence-based information on grains and legumes. GLNC collaborates with a range of organizations and individuals, including grain and legume growers, academia, food manufacturers and the wider industry, and health care professionals.

As a values-based organization underpinned by evidence-based information, GLNC operates within three core values:

  • Integrity – GLNC ensures an ethical, scientific, and evidence-based approach.
  • Trust – GLNC builds trust with stakeholders and the community through the information we provide.
  • Credibility – GLNC maintains its independence and standing among stakeholders and the community.

Our small team is located in Sydney, Australia, and promotes key messages on grain and legume nutrition nationwide. Working under a three-year strategic plan encompassing four pillars—evidence, market insights, industry engagement, and community engagement—ensures that we work with the entire grain and legume value chain. Working under these guiding pillars, we help further local and global understanding of the importance of grains and legumes in a balanced diet, while advocating for the inclusion of healthy whole grains and legumes at an industry level. GLNC advocates that consumers choose half their grain foods as whole grain options and enjoy half a cup of legumes three times a week as part of a balanced diet for good health.

Q: What is the focus of GLNC’s work? In what ways does it bring innovation to cereal and grain science? How can it shed light on the challenges and opportunities in the GFS?

A: Working under the evidence pillar, GLNC undertakes, commissions and collaborates with various academic institutions on several research areas to develop our understanding of the role whole grains and legumes play in prevention of chronic diseases. Our market insights and analytical capabilities allow us to educate industry on a variety of global innovations in the field, reporting on relevant global and local trends to assist with product ideation, innovation, and reformulation. Through our consistent engagement and close relationships with industry, we are able to disseminate this information to key stakeholders. In addition, our engagement with the wider community of health care professionals and consumers gives us the opportunity to effectively educate the public, benefiting the health of all Australians through the inclusion of whole grains and legumes in their diet. GLNC works on behalf of industry contributors who receive a number of specific benefits to enable a more informed and evidence-based approach to market innovation.

Q: What are the core capabilities of GLNC? How many and what types of scientists does the organization employ?

A: GLNC has a number of core capabilities, including disseminating evidence-based content to key stakeholders in industry and the community; carrying out category audits on various grain and legume foods; undertaking academic research to analyze grain and legume consumption in Australia; publishing academic papers based on GLNC research or audits; and collaborating with social media influencers to ensure the distribution of evidence-based messages. GLNC employs two accredited practicing dietitians within our small team to perform the majority of the work and regularly engages student dietitians to assist with various research projects and audits.

Q: When was GLNC founded, and who were the key leaders who helped create the organization? What are some key milestones in GLNC’s growth?

A: Established in the mid-1990s by Dietitian Trish Griffiths, GLNC was previously known as Go Grains and solely promoted cereal grains, with an end focus on industry and health care professionals. In 2012, Go Grains underwent a complete rebrand to incorporate legumes and became the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council.

Q: In what ways has GLNC collaborated with the Cereals & Grains Association? How does the association enable the organization’s work, and how does GLNC support the association?

A: Previous collaborations include international promotion of GLNC’s key campaigns, such as Whole Grain Week in June each year. Whole Grain Week has been run for two consecutive years and is focused on promoting the nutrition and health benefits of whole grains to the health care professional audience and our wider consumer base, showcasing year-on-year growth and a combined reach of nearly 6 million Australians. GLNC also gives presentations at grain science conferences and networks with members of the international community who have an interest in whole grains.

Q: How is GLNC engaged in partnerships with government, industry, and academia to enable innovation? Has GLNC explored other innovation partnerships or collaborations?

A: GLNC works with a range of universities and academic organizations, mostly those with dietetics programs. We work with research students and students on Community Nutrition placement throughout the year. In addition, we seek out mutually beneficial relationships with academics who are interested in grain and legume research.

The basis for our nutrition and dietetics placement program is product audits of grain and legume supermarket food categories. For more information on GLNC Category Audits please contact us by e-mail at contactus@glnc.org.au. Categories include Meat & Dairy Alternatives; Breakfast Cereals; Breads, including instore bakery; Non-dairy Milk; Legume Foods, including canned legumes, legume snacks, legume flour, and pulse pasta; Grain-based Bars; Savoury Biscuits; Grains, including rice, pasta, noodles, and other grains; and Flour & Soup.

View GLNC’s Annual Review for a summary of all activities in FY18 and 19.