Wheat is a staple of life, and Canadian Wheat growers produce this wholesome ingredient, ensuring access to one of the world’s most popular grains. It serves as the base for countless breads, pastas, pastries and more. Wheat is a reminder of foods people loved growing up; of foods from their homes and family history and of foods that people rely on to feed their families.
The idea that wheat is “Life’s Simple Ingredient” is another reminder. With it, we seek to remind consumers that wheat is one of the oldest, simplest ingredients available. It is not added sugar, it is not fattening, it is not some dietary villain.
We are bringing wheat back into a positive light. It is wholesome. It is something that people can be proud of serving to loved ones. The idea behind “Life’s Simple Ingredient” seeks to make people get to know their food. Get some flour on their hands, get involved with making their food, and get reacquainted with the world’s original staple ingredient.
With approximately 8.5 – 9 million tonnes produced on more than 7 million acres every year, wheat is a significant agricultural crop in Alberta.
In 2016, the top ten crops grown in Alberta accounted for 97.6 per cent of the total area of land in crops. While total wheat remains the province’s leading field crop at seven million acres, spring wheat declined 4.1% (5.7 million acres), durum wheat increased 105.5% (1.1 million acres), which was largely responsible for total wheat posting a 4.6% gain over 2011. The total number of farms classified as “wheat farms” was 2,894.
Canadian wheat is known on the world stage for its high quality parameters and cleanliness. Approximately three-quarters of Canadian wheat is exported to key markets such as Japan, South East Asia, Central and South America and the United States and emerging markets such as South America, West Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East have growing capacity to become regular customers.
There are nine milling classes of Western Canadian Wheat:
- Canada Northern Hard Red (best for hearth breads, flat breads, steamed breads, noodles)
- Canada Prairie Spring Red (best for hearth breads, flat breads, steamed breads, noodles)
- Canada Prairie Spring White (best for flat breads, noodles, chapatis)
- Canada Western Amber Durum (best for Semolina for pasta, couscous)
- Canada Western Extra Strong (best for blending, specialty products that need high gluten strength)
- Canada Western Hard White Spring (best for bread and noodle production)
- Canada Western Red Spring (best for high volume pan bread, alone or in blends with other wheat for hearth bread, steamed bread, noodles, flat bread, common wheat pasta)
- Canada Western Red Winter (best for French breads, flat breads, steamed breads, noodles)
- Canada Western Soft White Spring (best for cookies, cakes, pastry, flat breads, noodles, steamed breads, chapatis)
Sources: Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Agriculture & Forestry, Grains Canada
Wheat is a great source of fibre. Yes, it will normalize bowel movements and help overall gut health – but fibre also lowers cholesterol levels, helps to control blood sugar levels and aids in achieving healthy weight. In other words, wheat and grains can help you live longer, lose weight and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.
It contains a vast lineup of essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron, thiamin, folate, potassium and Vitamin B6. They make you feel full which could help with portion control.
Bottom line, wheat is not a treat. It’s healthy, nutritious, a versatile staple and you should feel good about eating wheat.