The board of trustees of Grain Foods Foundation (GFF), Ridgway, Colo., unanimously agreed during a January 26 meeting that after serious consideration and deliberation, the grain foods industry would be better served by refocusing GFF’s efforts.

Founded in 2004, the GFF has served as the “voice of the grain foods industry,” to counteract the impact of popular low-carb diets on consumption of grain foods, the board stated. GFF successfully met its initial mission by helping halt the erosion of baked goods consumption. It has provided meaningful value in communicating the nutritional benefits of grain foods to target audiences. “Over time, however, the grain foods industry has moved into a new set of challenges,” says the board. “Without an updated mandate, GFF has suffered from decreased focus. To effectively influence behavior in the current nutrition environment and optimize its value to grain industry members, GFF needs to be sharply focused against clear measurable goals. GFF needs to be more aggressive, flexible and nimble. Expertise in issues management, marketing and public relations are critically important.”

According to the GFF board, the foundation’s new mission will include three main objectives:
1. Prioritize “influencing the influencers.” The foundation will change the primary focus of its efforts from consumers to key influencers, aggressively promoting the nutrition benefits of grain foods with key influencers, including health and nutrition professionals, appropriate health-related organizations, health and nutrition policymakers, and leading nutrition journalists and bloggers.
2. Proactively track and preempt misinformation. GFF will proactively track grain-focused initiatives (studies, books, broadcasts, articles) with the goal of preempting or countermanding misinformation regarding grain foods on an ongoing basis. The GFF Scientific Advisory Board members will lead efforts to provide rapid response to false communications and claims against grain foods, including fad diets.
3. Maintain crisis management reserves and guard against potential extreme attacks against grain foods. GFF will develop a crisis communications plan and continue to develop appropriate reserves to enable prompt industry response to neutralize such attacks.

GFF will continue to operate as an independent organization, jointly trusteed by the American Bakers Association (ABA) and the North American Millers’ Association (NAMA). It will continue to be a valuable partner with other members of the wheat grain chain, says ABA. During 2012, GFF will relocate its office to a location to be determined in Washington, D.C., ABA adds.