Grains are appearing in cheeseburgers, salad bowls, and snacks, said Kara Nielsen, a culinary “trendologist” in a June 28 webinar titled “Innovations with Grains” from Rockville-based Packaged Facts. While interest in gluten-free grains continues to present new product opportunities, sprouted grains are starting to enter mainstream markets, and people are showing an interest in local, niche grains, too, she said.

Ms. Nielsen says companies should make use of health claims centered on grains, especially whole grains. Consumers, who understand and are familiar with grains, may trust the claims.

“It’s a really exciting grain world,” she says. “Even though it can be a totally mainstream item, we’re still seeing a lot of news.”

Ms. Nielsen has worked as a culinary professional for about 25 years. She has worked with the Sterling-Rice Group, CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights and CCD Innovation.

View a slideshow of grain innovations here.