Culminating Group Project for Food Studies EDCP 493
Shreddies Food Analysis
A. Nutrient analysis and nutritional issues associated with this food (Terri)
Shreddies Whole Grain Cereal produced by Post Canada is a product which is a processed and packaged breakfast cereal that consists of dried malted whole grain wheat squares. The small malted squares are fibers of inter-woven whole grain wheat. Here is a list of the products ingredients:
- 94.9 % whole grain wheat
- Invert sugar syrup
- Barley Malt Extract
The following vitamins and minerals are contained in Shreddies: Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (B2), Thiamin (B1), Folic Acid (Folacin), Vitamin B12 and Iron.
Shreddies is marketed and known as a breakfast cereal by consumers. When considering if this product is a good source of nutrition this should be taken into account since no single food should stand when considering total nutrition.
Shreddies is an item which falls under the bread and cereal category in the Eaingt Well with Canada’s Food Guide. The food guide places the cereal product in the grains category because the main ingredient of the cereal originates from the agricultural grain base. Health Canada suggests “eating a variety of whole grain products which are low in fat, sugar and salt” (Health Canada) as one of the tips when eating whole gain cold cereal and to eat within the guidelines for your age and gender. This information can be found by clicking on the following grain products per day link.(http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/choose-choix/grain-cereal/need-besoin-eng.php)
Other beneficial components to Shreddies Whole Gain Cereal are the high fiber content, the high iron the high B complex vitamin content and the low fat content in each serving.
'High fiber': A serving of Shreddies has 12% of the fiber recommended in a daily diet. High fiber is an important element in the maintenance of the digestive system, and the prevention and management of cholesterol, diabetes, and nutrition absorption levels (University of Maryland: Fiber) Some sources suggested the amount of daily fiber should be 25 to 30 grams per day, since Shreddies has 3 grams of fiber per serving we estimate that it would be a relatively good source of fiber within the grains food group. This become a very important consideration in Canada’s native indigenous populations (First Nations and Inuit) as these populations have higher incidences of heart disease and type 2 diabetes compared to the general Canadian population. As statistics show “ Heart disease is 1.5 times higher;Type 2 diabetes is 3 to 5 times higher among First Nations people and rates are increasing among the Inuit”.(Health Canada)
'Iron': A serving of Shreddies has 25% of the recommended daily allotment in a daily diet. Iron is an important mineral in the body that allows the blood to carry oxygen to the blood cells. Iron maybe the number 1 mineral deficiency according to the World Health Organization. (University of Maryland: iron) Of the two types of sourced iron (heme and non-heme) whole grains are sources of non-heme iron and are better absorbed by the body in conjunction with other nutrients such as vitamin C. (University of Maryland) Eating in combination and variety of healthy food is further evidence for eating Shreddies in combination with other foods, such as fruits, and orchestrating a variety of foods during any meal.
'B vitamins': The high B vitamin content is important for the body to convert carbohydrates into a glucose energy source for the body as well as metabolizing fats and protein for the body. Noticeable values of B vitamins are health skin, hair, eyes, and liver as well as properly functioning brain and nervous systems (University of Maryland) The presence of Thiamine (B1), is particularly important as an "anti-stress vitamin because it may strengthen the immune system and improve the body's ability to withstand stressful conditions”. (University of Maryland)
Two nutritional areas to be concerned with regarding this product are the processed sodium and sugar contents of the packaged product and the consumer additions of sugar during consumption.
A serving of Post Canada’s Whole Grain Shreddies contains 180 mg of sodium or 8% of the suggested daily consumption for sodium and 5 gram of sugar. These rates would change depending on type and brand name Shreddies purchased as there are a variety of Shreddies which are manufactured globally.
The following food label shows the analysis of a 30 gram serving of Shreddies Whole Grain cereal.
Nutritonal Facts Serving Size: 2/3 cup (30g) Calories 110
|Total Fat 0.5g||1%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Trans Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 25g|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||12%|
|Folic Acid (Folate)||8%|
|Est. Percentage of Calories from:|
An important religious and cultural consideration when choosing Shreddies by some consumers is the product certification by the Kashruth Council of Canada signifying that the product has been strictly supervised and monitored to meet religious observances of kosher dietary laws in Canada. “Kosher items are strictly moderated by the Kashruth council of Canada using the latest scientific technology”. (Kashruth, 2010)
What is required to prepare it?
Shreddies is often eaten with a combination of fruits, fruit juices, dairy products and beverages. A survey by the Daily Plate website reports the following items as items frequently eaten with Shreddies:
- 1% Milk, 110 Calories, 2.5g Fat, 13g Carbs, 8g Protein
- Skim Milk, 80 Calories, 0g Fat, 12g Cabs, 8g Protein
- Banana, 121 Calories, .45g Fat, 31g Carbs, 1.4g Protein
- Coffee, 2 Calories, 0g Fat, 0g Carbs, 0.3g Protein
It is our suggestion that age, gender, health requirements and energy needs be considered when choosing combination foods. One typical combination eaten with Shreddies might be a low fat milk product to be poured over the top, no further sugar added as a topping, a side dish of chosen mixed fruits and a glass of citrus fruit juice to increase the iron absorption levels and vitamin C nutrients.
Affluent countries have a large supply of processed cereals which the consumers may choose both in the hot and cold variety. Processed high fiber whole grain cereals with low to no added sugar or fat are the good choices for nutritional health. Reading the food nutrition labels helps the consumer identify nutritional components necessary for their needs. Generally speaking , processed products with few ingredients may be a more healthful way for consumers to identify and manage a balanced daily nutritional plan.
In our estimation we consider a 30 gram serving of Shreddies as a nutritious serving of a whole grain food using the “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide” guidelines. This food can serve as a contribution to a well balanced diet when eaten in conjunction with a variety of other natural whole foods within the “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide” for nutrition and energy consumption for the maintenance of good health.
B. An analysis of the manufacturer (Megan)
In 1892, the world of cereal was launched through the creation of a machine that pressed wheat into tiny shred-like strips. This machine was developed by Henry Drushel Perky and William Harry Ford. In 1904, Perky renames the company the Shredded Wheat Company, which in the same year comes to Canada with a plan in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Post Cereals started in 1985 with C.W. Post making his first batch of “Postum” in a barn in Battle Creek, Michigan. Postum was a beverage made from cereal. C.W. Post does not stop with his cereal beverage and moves on to create one of the first ready-to-eat cold cereals called Grape-Nuts cereal in 1897, and Post Toasties in 1908. Even though C.W. Post died in 1914, he left behind an innovative marketing technique that brought popularity to cereal products. What would be considered common practice in industries today, C.W. Post used marketing techniques such as coupons, recipe books, free samples, and product demonstrations (Post Foods Canada, 2009).
From 1925 to 1929, Postum (as the company was called), expanded its line to include sixty different products by acquiring over a dozen companies. The parent company was then called General Foods, which remained its name for the next sixty years, but is now called Post Foods in the United States and Post Foods Canada in Canada. Shreddies, which was first created in 1939, is only found under Post Foods Canada in the Niagara Falls plant (Post Foods, 2008).
Post Foods has become one of the world’s largest cereal companies and has one of the oldest and largest cereal manufacturing plants in the world. They rank in the top 3 in the cereal industry market share and still continue to grow their business. In 2008, Post joined with the Ralcorp Holdings Inc. Today, Post products remain a common and recognizable product in most homes across North America (Ralcorp, 2009).
Philosophy of Post Foods:
- Safety First
- Premium Quality
- Excellent Customer Service
- Continual Improvement of Productivity
C. How the product gets from farm to table or field to fork (Meagan)
Shreddies are sold in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand. For the purposes of this discussion, only packaged product sold in Canada will be discussed in depth. Shreddies was first produced in Canada in 1939 at a central Nabisco factory in Niagara Falls Ontario (Wikipedia). Today, owned by Ralcorp International and produced by Post Canada, Shreddies are produced and distributed in Canada exclusively from this location (Wikipedia).
Marketed as a whole grain cereal, Shreddies has a minimal number of ingredients: Whole grain wheat, sugar/glucose-fructose, and natural flavour, salt. In Canada, all Shreddies are produced in Post’s Niagara Falls plant, located an hour outside of Toronto (Ralcorp Holdings INC n.d).
Wheat, as the main ingredient in Shreddies will be the ingredient that is examined most thoroughly. Wheat is almost exclusively (95%) grown in the Southern Prairies, with 60% coming from Saskatchewan. (Campbell) As a country we have over 121 000 farms comprising 11 million growing hectares but only use 1/3 of what is grown, exporting the remaining. The average farm size on the Prairies is 730 acres but in recent years there has been a trend towards larger, commercial farms with more than 250 thousand dollars in sales each year (Campbell). This is a sharp contradiction to recent studies indicating that smaller farms both produce more food but are also are more efficient and less damaging to the environment than large scale commercial operations (Montgomery). Despite this trend to increase farm size, Canadian wheat is very high quality with strict regulations governing its production. Thus buyers often blend it with “weaker” and less expensive imported varieties to cut their expenses (Campbell). Because of this practice, specifically identifying the source of the wheat used in Shreddies is difficult.
Wheat farmers in Western Canada are not permitted to sell their wheat directly to purchasers. In order to maintain quality and high prices, the Canadian Wheat Board regulates buying and selling. Farmers must first deliver the product to one of the boards storage facilities where it is then graded, and cleaned before being resold (Parkinson). Grain elevators operated by the CWB are located throughout the prairies and farmers are responsible for moving the wheat either by train or by transport truck to the elevator of their choice. This transport comprises the largest portion (along with fertilizer) of a farmer’s annual expense, as they must pay out of pocket to have the grain shipped to the CWB holding facilities. (Wilson)
While this additional transport to the CWB holding facility does increase both the financial and environmental cost of producing Shreddies, passing the wheat through the CWB allows the individual farmer to have more security around the prices they sell their product for, and the amount that they can sell.
The majority of Canada can be served by rail or road. Air travel is necessary for towns and cities in the far North and ferries are needed to serve Islands on both the East and West coasts. For the purposes of the calculating distances traveled, some assumptions must be made. As the vast majority of wheat is grown in Southern Saskatchewan, the town of Mossbank Saskatchewan has been selected. A farmer growing wheat in this town would first have to move their harvested crop to the CWB elevator. As Mossbank has a CWB elevator, this distance would be nominal. From Mossbank, Niagara Falls is approximately 2700 km by rail or road. Using the miles calculator at The Falls Brooks Center (http://www.fallsbrookcentre.ca/), this trip is estimated to produce 0.7 kg of CO2 per kilogram of wheat carried via truck and 0.1kg of CO2 per kilogram carried by train. From Niagara Falls, distribution across Canada via truck, plane, train and boat can double, or even triple the amount of CO2 produced, depending on the final destination of the Shreddies. Examples of total distances are shown below.
Vancouver BC: 4500 km (via the United States) Whitehorse Yukon: 4500km (via the United States) Toronto: 128km St. John’s 2700km (via the United States and using a ferry) Quebec City: 900km Winnipeg: 2000km
D. Methods and issues associated with each part of the chain (Terri)
Shreddies can be looked on as an example of how the lineage of brand name products get transferred from one large company to another until consumers no longer know the history or product orientation to make wise choices with their purchasing power. When there is such confusion and corporate privacy for the consumers to be knowledgable in the products they are consuming, it is only the policy makers and whistle blowers that can than inform the public regarding large scale improprieties. Although it is understood that corporations need to retain profits in a competitive field, it becomes corporate ethics, creative neuvue manufacturing processing, corporate governance and national and global sustainability projects that will contribute to protect within the chain of global food security. Agriculture Canada states that “ Innovation is considered one of the critical determinants for improved competitiveness and economic performance of the food processing industry, if Canada is to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing global food market and to exploit niche markets for products and remain competitive in the long run”.(Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) These areas need to be reinforced by ethical governing policies and recourse.
The Canadian Grain Commission's Grain Research Laboratory is a Canadian centre for applied and basic research on the quality of a variety of grains. It conducts studies on commercial processing, using its pilot-scale malting plant, are developing new durum wheat varieties. All grain-based products, domestic or imported, are subject to the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations, which are enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The prepared flour mix and breakfast cereal industry in Canada has two sectors. The breakfast cereal sector manufactures cereals, either uncooked or ready-to-eat. Blends of wheat are used extensively in these sectors. (Agriculture and Agri Food Canada)
Many varieties of Shreddies either use a malted cereal process or use additions of malt extract. We could not find if Canadian manufactured Shreddies uses Malting. If malting is used the grains would develop enzymes through the germination process that turn the starches into starches and sugars such as maltose through the forced germination process of malting. The resulting rootlets would then be removed and recycled into valuable animal feed. (Euro)
The malting process provides colour and flavour to the product. There is also a possibility that malting extract may also be used in the flavouring of products. The malt extract is the filtered and evaporated sweet liquid that is extracted and evaporated during the germination process which contains mostly maltose (malt sugar) from the malting process of barley or wheat.
Malting preserves the natural characteristics of whole grain and extracts are nutritious and functional to processing. (Ago) (Vitamin B, and used as a substitute for refined sugar, and amino acids.)
Processing information is very difficult to discover on Shreddies. The following broad range process are used in the production of Post cereals are
- shredding, and
- gun-puffing” (Ralcorp)
Some other industrial methods of processing dry breakfast cereal can include:
- Dry rolling: cheap, but dusty
- Steam rolling: same efficiency, but better palatability
- Fine grinding: hammer mill for impact grinding
- Pelleting: force material through die
A collection of letters written to the UK Nabisco company regarding disclosure of information on the manufacturing Shreddies can be found at the following link. http://www.trulyresponsible.org/food/nestle/
The company states that it can not disclose any of the processing nor manufacturing process to consumers based on an allegiance to its shareholders and concern regarding the company’s competitive edge.
The Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Foods department has a survey document outlining the “structure of the Canadian FFN industry, then reviews the labour and capital inputs, the business relationships and intellectual property rights and ends with the impact of regulations in the Canadian FNN industry”. (Agriculture and Agri Foods)
Ralcorp is concerned and actively working towards the following sustainability issues:
- Environmental sustainability: energy consumption, materials management regarding recycling and packaging
- Social Sustainability: Employee Safety, Health and Wellness, and Community Involvement.
Community projects include:
- Canadian Children’s Food Initiative: distribution of perishable food to Northern Canadian communities in partnership with Canadian Postal system. (Advertising Standards Canada, 2009):
Until recently the marketing of Shreddies had been directed towards a youthful population until recently. Statistics show that children contribute to the family choice of purchased household food budget by 80%. (Children’s Institute of Health Research) This statistic has an effect on how companies market, advertise, and issues of food insecurity in Canada.
Many of the concerns regarding food nutritional insecurity in Canada are supported with statistics from the 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey that cites, “approximately one-fifth of Canadian families (around 1.4 million people) live with food insecurity.”(CIHR) These statistics relate in association to variety, quality, quantity and food cost. Quantity of low cost of food without quality, and variety of nutritional sound food contributes to food insufficiecy, child and adult obesity, and poor health. CIHI) Recently Ralston Foods has partnered with retailers to grow their in-store categories through custom package design, in-store marketing, couponing, promotions, and more.” (Ralcorp, 2010)
Since such a market value is dictated by children, advertising campaigns are based on reaching the market share. Advertising techniques such as:
- children's cartoon iconography: Freddy and Eddy Shreddie. Around 1993, their appearance changed to that of a younger youthful age complete with baseball caps and they also grew hair and legs.
- inclusion of jingles "Good Good Whole-Wheat Shreddies".
Research shows that “children prefer food that is distanced from reality in that the more artificiality that can be connect with food, the greater the entertainment value and desire for the food. “The trend has been a move away from teaching healthy eating habits, and educational information towards artifical fun food based on entertainment, sports and distraction”. (Elliot)
By the late 1990s, the characters were discontinued in all advertising and packaging. The cereal is now marketed as an "adult" cereal. In January 2008, the company started a new ad campaign for new "Diamond Shreddies". (Macleans, May 2008) Consumer reaction to the campaign has translated into a statistically significant sales increase, according to at least one media report on the campaign's success. The campaign won the 2008 Grand Clio Award for Integrated (i.e. multiple media) Campaign.
E. Food safety issues (Natasha)
E1. Related to the food product
- Nestle Shreddies keeps track of each box or cereal they produce by labeling it with a track number. This number can tell the manufacturers where the ingredients for that batch came from.
- The product does not contain any genetically modified materials.
- Everything in the product is natural. (Accidents at work)
E2. Related to the ingredients in the food product
- There are over 500 farms in the UK which produce grains for Shreddies, these 500+ farms sell to 5 traders who in turn sell to the Post Shreddies Company. (Warrick & Gavin)
- Very little information is given out about the production methods each farm takes , however a generalization on agricultural farms in the UK is that:
- They use many chemicals to maintain wheat growth
- Pesticides are continuously causing deaths to farm workers
- Main safety regulations are in place so that injuries in the work place do not occur
- Suppliers for Shreddies have to main full Tracing process, which allows the company to verify the food quality and safety
- Farms and businesses that supply to Post Shreddies are regularly Audited (Regional Services, 2006).
F1. Prevalence of this product in the marketplace - How it has changed over time (Natasha)
- The Shreddies Company has not changed in 116 years; the reason for this is that the company feels that it is significant for them to show consumers reliability in their product.
- The product has always been advertised as “ Good Good Whole Wheat Shreddies” in North America
- In the UK it was advertised as “Keeps Hunger Locked until Lunch Time” and for Frosted and Coco shredded wheat’s the advertisement slogan was “Too Tasty For Geeks”. (Livestrong, 2006)
F2. The role the product plays in the diet (Natasha)
- The products target market initially seemed to be an older group of people probably 22 years of age and above. (General Mills)
- Today the product has innovated itself to meet all age groups and several different target markets by having Coco Shreddies for chocolate lovers, Frosted Shreddies, Shreddies with strawberries ect.
- Shreddies main goal has always been to stay a healthy product since 1955 when it was first produced. It has always used whole wheat grains, unlike other cereal brands that have just started to use whole wheat grains in the last decade. (Daily Plate)
F3. How and why people consume the product (Natasha)
- People usually Consume Shreddies with either milk, water or dry, other additions such as coffee , juice or fruits may be consume along with Shreddies for breakfast.
- Shreddies marketing from its catchy slogans to the Square Diamond campaign has made it a household cereal.
- Another reason people are beginning to choose Shreddies for their choice of cereal is it’s highly nutritious value of being 98% whole wheat. (Daily News, 2009)
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