Wheat

Breakfast sandwiches, pasta dishes or Danish pastries. Wheat is used in many of the food products that are eaten in Sweden almost every day.

Wheat grains are recognised by their pale brown colour and plump shape without shoots.

Wheat is the cereal we cultivate most in the world, including in Sweden. Around 15 percent of Swedish farmland is used to grow wheat today.
Wheat grains are then milled into flour that is used as an ingredient for products such as delicious pastries, crispy buns and home made pancakes. Flour contains gluten, a protein that creates networks and helps hold the dough together and gives the bread volume.

 

A brief history

The cultivation of wheat began around 12,000 years ago in the Middle East in the area that was known as the fertile crescent, and which is now very largely part of Iraq. It is also the cereal that has undergone the most change.

The first types of wheat that began being cultivated were einkorn (single grain) wheat and Emmer wheat, that emerged via a spontaneous crossing of single grain wheat and a wild grass. Single grain is still cultivated in its area of origin, in what is now south east Turkey.

Not much wheat was cultivated in the Nordic region initially, as this required a specific type of soil and plant nutrition. The first written sources on the extent of wheat cultivation in Sweden date from the 16th Century and concerned wheat harvests that made up less than one percent of the total grain harvest.

Did you know...?

For a long time, wheat was associated with luxury and was very largely solely reserved for the rich and well-to-do. The whiter and the less fibre the bread, the finer it was considered to be.
 

Health benefits

In addition to producing fine bread, cakes and pastries, white flour also offers several health benefits, especially whole grain wheat. Eating whole grain gives us nutrients and other wholesome benefits from all parts of the grain.

Studies show that whole grain products, combined with a healthy lifestyle in general, can reduce the risk of heart diseases. Whole grain is also included in the Swedish Keyhole Symbol that specifies requirements for a certain whole grain content in food products.

What does the Keyholw mean?

For a food to be labelled with the Keyhole Symbol, it must satisfy certain rules. These rules concern salt, sugar, dietary fibre, whole grain and types of fat. As different food groups contain different types of nutrition and in different amounts, the requirements differ for each group – breakfast flakes are compared with breakfast flakes and sausages with sausages.

Source: Swedish National Food Agency


Whole grain wheat

One common misunderstanding is that the whole wheat kernel must be included to be classed as whole grain. That's not true. For a product to be able to be called whole grain, the husk, sprout and endosperm must be included. It does not matter if it is ground, milled or whole.  This means that we can consume whole grain in many different forms such as in flour, pasta, bread and grains. 
 

Did you know...?

Lantmännen was the first to develop and produce whole grain pasta on the Swedish market.


Spring and winter wheat

As the same indicates, spring wheat is sown in spring. This wheat has a higher protein content and therefore costs a bit more. Winter wheat is sown in the autumn to germinate and develop into young plants that remain in the vegetative phase during the winter and resume growth in early spring. This wheat has a slightly lower protein content.

Winter wheat is the most common type in Sweden with an average harvest of 2.2 million tons per year. This makes up around 41 percent of the total grain harvest in Sweden (based on the average for winter wheat and the total harvest over the last five years in Sweden). In contrast, spring wheat only accounts for 7 percent.

 

Innovation

Gotland durum pasta

After 16 years of research and development, Gotland farmers have finally succeeded in cultivating durum wheat on their Baltic island. The result? A durum pasta with a unique taste, structure and character.

Thanks to the many hours of sunshine on Gotland, the wheat, which is of the Rosadur variety, thrives in the lime-rich soil, resulting in high-quality harvests. Pasta is usually made from durum wheat grown in warm regions around the Mediterranean. Such large scale cultivation on Gotland is therefore unique.

Our Climate & Nature concept

The innovative work being done by Lantmännen has also resulted in our Climate & Nature cultivation concept - with up to 20 percent less climate impact and that gives greater consideration to the environment and nature.

Our Climate & Nature concept was launched in 2015 and is now used in grain cultivation around Sweden. The results - Friendlier Wheat and Friendlier Rye - are available to buy in your food store.

 

Wheat bran as packaging material

Imagine if food packaging were made of wheat. Lantmännen is currently engaged in a research project that is investigating possibilities of using wheat bran as a substitute for plastic in packaging film. A future innovation made from renewable raw materials that can help reduce emissions and environment impact.
 

Products with wheat

Friendlier wheat

Kungsörnen flour is now being cultivated more sustainably and has around 20% less climate impact compared to average Swedish wheat cultivation.

More about Friendlier Wheat

Little Farmer - food for children

Little Farmer offers products made with organic milk and grain from carefully selected Swedish farms.

More about Little Farmer

Pasta from locally grown durum wheat

Lantmännen and Kungsörnen have developed a pasta made from locally grown durum wheat on the Baltic island of Gotland. Three kinds of pasta are available in stores.

More about Gotland pasta