Well on Wheat?

The WoW Project

Of all grains, wheat is most widely cultivated worldwide. With over 700 million tons annually wheat is third among all cereals in total global food production, behind maize and rice. The demand for wheat for human consumption is also increasing globally, including in countries, which are climatically unsuited for wheat production, due to the adoption of western-style diets. Wheat is relatively rich in micronutrients, including minerals and B vitamins, and supplies up to 20% of the energy intake of the global population.

Nevertheless, a strongly increasing demand for gluten-free and wheat-free products has developed in recent years. Apparently, social media statements that gluten and wheat cause overweight and health problems, as well the new ‘Free from’ consumer trend, play a major role in this development. These developments have resulted in increased self-diagnosis of being gluten and/or wheat intolerant and increased belief in being intolerant, which in turn has lead to an increasing avoidance of wheat and gluten containing foods.

The ‘Well on Wheat?' project is an international research project addressing the health aspects wheat consumption and aspects of wheat and gluten avoidance.

Well on Wheat?’ aims to obtain a full compositional picture of selected wheat types, the flours and doughs made thereof, the breads baked. As such, the changes in chemical composition of different wheat species and compositional changes that may occur as a result of food processing (milling, yeast/sourdough fermentation, baking) will be evaluated. A detailed insight in the effects of food processing will help make recommendations for future product development in the context of “good food for a healthy life”. Such recommendations should be transparent, practically relevant and industrially, thus economically feasible.

Accordingly the cereal foods supply chain has been invited to co-share responsibility for helping to unravel wheat and gluten related health concerns. This has resulted in a strong public-private partnership consortium.

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