The Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) achieved a significant milestone in its multi-year public service campaign in partnership with the March of Dimes Foundation, White Plains, N.Y. Its “Bread Trail” television public service announcement (PSA) has reached the $10-million mark in equivalent advertising value. Put simply, it would have cost $10 million to purchase the same air time.
The Ridgeway, Colo.-based foundation launched the “Bread Trail” PSA in December 2007 to educate women of childbearing age about the importance of folic acid found in enriched grains in the prevention of birth defects. Since then, the PSA has aired more than 22,000 times, reaching 405 million viewers.
Enriched grains, such as white bread, are one of the best sources of folic acid in the American diet and folic acid plays a crucial role in the prevention of certain neural tube defects (NTDs). Since 1998, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required the addition of 140 mg. of folic acid per 100 g. of grain to cereals, breads, pastas and other grain foods labeled “enriched.” This fortification makes it easier for women to consume folic acid from food. Since fortification of grain products, the rate of NTDs has decreased by one-third, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
GFF and the March of Dimes also have collaborated on several print PSAs, which have appeared in women’s publications such as InStyle and Shape, as well as consumer and business publications such as Newsweek, Time and USA Today.
GFF further supports the March of Dimes through its Folic Acid for a Healthy Pregnancy seal, which is featured on select products at retail to help women quickly and easily identify grain products, such as white bread, that are enriched with folic acid.
Despite the great strides in reducing birth defects, there is still work to be done. According to the most recent March of Dimes/Gallup Organization survey from 2007, only 28% of women of childbearing age knew that folic acid helps prevent birth defects, while only 11% of survey participants knew folic acid should be consumed before pregnancy. GFF is committed to continuing its partnership with the March of Dimes and supporting its mission through further outreach to women of childbearing age about the importance of folic acid and enriched grains.
To learn more about the Grain Foods Foundation or to be featured in the Folic Acid for a Healthy Pregnancy seal, go to www.gowiththegrain.org.
Judi Adams is president of the Grain Foods Foundation, Ridgeway, Colo.