You might be surprised to learn an unsavory truth about cereal: Current industry standards dictate that "whole wheat" branded products only require 51 percent of actual "whole wheat flour." That means the other 49 percent can be refined white flour. So when it comes to ambiguous branding and the unreadable list of ingredients printed on the back of the box, how can you really know what you're serving at the kitchen table for breakfast?
To help turn things around, American Made winners Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez of Back to the Roots introduce their latest (delicious) endeavor: Organic Stoneground Flakes breakfast cereal, the first American-grown, 100 percent stoneground breakfast cereal.
After launching their two ready-to-grow products (Mushroom Mini Farm, which grows mushrooms in 10 days, and Water Garden, which is a self-cleaning fish tank that grows food) into 10,000 stores nationwide, Back to the Roots decided to expand their focus from ready-to-grow products to ready-to-eat food.
"Cereal was one of those special categories –- something we all grow up eating, and yet a category that had so much lack of transparency, been so overly-processed, and had no innovation in almost 100 years," Co-founder Nihkil Arora says. "We set out to create the best cereal –- with great taste, nutrition, simple ingredients –- and new sustainable and more functional packaging."
They began touring farms to learn more. And after visiting a wheat farm, the two were surprised at how little they really knew about grains, how grains actually grew, and how the kernels turned into breads, crackers, cereal, and other products.
"As we started diving deeper, we also realized how much we were stripping out of whole grains," Arora says. "The industrial milling process over the last couple of decades has created a system where the most nutritious and flavorful parts of a wheat kernel (the bran and wheat germ) are stripped out, leave behind tasteless, nutrient-empty white flour. This industrialization of the milling process –- to extend shelf-life and maximize profits –- seemed crazy to us."
That's when they discovered the technique of stone milling, a process in which the entire wheat kernel is kept intact, preserving the natural taste and nutrition.
Unlike a number of commercial brands you find on the supermarket shelf, there is full transparency regarding what's in this cereal. It's made with three simple ingredients: organic stoneground whole wheat (grown and milled in California), organic cane sugar (grown in Florida), and sea salt (from the San Francisco Bay) -- that's it!
The cereal is low in sugar (5g) and high in protein (6g), fiber (5g), and whole grains (40g). And by ditching the typical bag-in-a-box packaging, the couple has reduced packaging materials by a comparative 25 percent. Yes, a cereal that is good all around!
Stoneground Flakes ($9.99 for a pack of 2 cereal boxes) is available at our American Made market. On September 16, two new varieties will also be available.