Happy National Cereal Day!

Didion Cereal Landscape

Did you know that the first breakfast cereal was invented in the United States way back in 1863? James Caleb Jackson came up with ‘Granula’ – bran-rich graham flour shaped into nuggets and soaked in milk overnight before being eaten.

Today there are hundreds of cereals for consumers to choose from, our favorites of course being the many that count corn as an ingredient. Besides being naturally gluten-free and very cost-effective, corn brings a sweet, nutty flavor and gives cereal that crispy crunch. It’s also available in many forms:

Corn meal: produces the cereal’s uniform shape during extrusion cooking (the process that makes your cereal “puffy”)

Corn flour: gives the cereal the right texture

Corn bran: allows the cereal to be fortified with more dietary fiber

Whole grain corn meal/flour: gives all the nutrients and minerals along with fiber

So today on National Cereal Day, raise your spoons and enjoy a delicious bowl of your favorite cereal!

By: Jeff Dillon, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Didion Milling

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Going Whole Grain

Consumers are increasingly seeking healthy food products and food manufacturers are continuing to invest in research and development to meet this need. Why? Many people consume too calories and too much sugar, fat and sodium.

Among these changing product formulations is the use of whole grains. The USDA recommends that half of all grains consumed be whole grains but most Americans are barely eating one serving of whole grain per day and nine out of ten Americans aren’t getting enough whole grain.

Research shows that eating whole grains as part of a healthy diet can improve heart health, weight management and diabetes management, while reducing risks of some cancers. Additional studies have shown that children and adolescents that eat cereal for breakfast have a lower Body Mass Index and waist circumference than those who don’t eat cereal at breakfast or who skip breakfast.

Many cereal companies are trying to include whole grain more than any other ingredient at a minimum level of 10 grams per serving up to 16 grams per serving.

Another area American diets fall short is in fiber consumption. Dietary fiber is important to digestive health and can help curb hunger. Some research suggests that people who have a higher intake of fiber also tend to have a healthier body weight.

The FDA and USDA are creating new goals to improve health and nutrition claim criteria for food products. Food reformulations are also changing because food processors are responding to USDA standards for K-12 school meals, which include meeting whole grain requirements.

Consumers are reading food labels more than ever, so food manufacturers are asking for more recognizable, label-friendly ingredients, like corn.

In response to this, Didion Milling has added whole grain to their family of corn products, specifically made for the cereal market.

Another emerging whole grain need is adding fiber from whole grain ingredients into foods that people are already eating, rather than creating new whole-grain-based foods. This is especially prevalent in cereals and snack foods, both popular applications for Didion’s dry milled corn.

Whole grain corn is an economical, label-friendly way to add whole grain to products. To learn more about Didion’s whole grain corn flour visit our website.

By: Riley Didion, Sales Manager at Didion Milling

Corn Milling 101 Part 2: Where Our Food & Fuel Products Come From

Food and fuel start with the corn kernel and its four unique parts: the endosperm, pericarp, germ and tip cap. We use those four parts of the corn kernel to make grits, meals, flours, brans, pregelatinized flours and whole grain corn flours; as well as ethanol.

Parts of the kernel

Endosperm – The endosperm carries most of the dry weight of the kernel. This part of the kernel contains starch, which is commonly used in food. The endosperm provides the starch necessary to produce sugar molecules for ethanol production. Products that come from this part are grits, meals and flours. Flour is the finest out of all three products made from the endosperm and grits are coarsest.

Pericarp – This part is the outer covering of the kernel that shields it from bugs. It also preserves the nutrient value of the inside. The pericarp is used for corn bran found in everyday foods.

Germ – The germ is the only living part of the kernel and is the centermost piece. This part stores genetic information, enzymes, vitamins and minerals for the kernel so it can grow when it is on the ear. Twenty-five percent of the germ is oil, making it one of the most valuable parts of the kernel.

Tip cap – This part attaches the kernel to the cob. Water and nutrients flow through here to help the kernel alive.

Whole kernel – We grind the whole corn kernel down to a specific granulation to make our whole grain corn flour.

By: Dow Didion, President of Didion Milling