About the project

Last changed: 19 June 2023
Round breads with cut patterns. Photo.

In a six-year interdisciplinary project, researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala (SLU) and Kristianstad University team up with sector specialists to investigate opportunities with ancient varieties of cereal grains.

About the research project

The aim of the project is to investigate the potential of heritage grains in organic production.

These grains have wider genetic variation than modern grains and are considered to be more resilient to environmental variation, which is a major advantage in dealing with climate change.

Traditionally, the refinement of cereal grains has focused on increasing yield, disease resistance and industrial baking quality, while considerations such as nutrition, flavour and other quality aspects have been less important.

This project has compared heritage cereals with modern varieties of wheat and rye that have been grown organically for three years, in order to study the effects of management, environment, yield, nutritional quality and consumer preference. After conducting sensory analyses and identifying factors that make heritage varieties attractive to consumers, the team are now developing innovative products utilising these grains, such as various types of porridge.

Working with creative partners from all across the field, from farmers to bakers, the researchers also plan to use social media to reach out to new groups of consumers beyond those who read popular science articles. They expect the project’s results will enhance both the production and consumption of organic heritage grains.

By stimulating the production and consumption of more nutritious and more sustainably produced bread made from heritage grains, the project addresses three of the Sustainable Development Goals: Good health and well-being, Responsible consumption and production, and Life on land.

The research project also contains a doctoral project: ‘Production and consumption of organically grown heritage grains’. Read more here. (Link to new page in the project website)


Project managers: Karin Gerhardt, SLU Swedish Biodiversity Centre, and Galia Zamaratskaia, Department of Molecular Sciences, SLU.

Other researchers participating in the project: Roger Andersson, Department of Molecular Sciences, SLU; Jan Bengtsson, Department of Ecology, SLU; Göran Bergkvist, Department of Crop Production Ecology, SLU; and Karin Wendin, Food and Meal Science, Kristianstad University.

Read more about the project participants here (link to new page in the project website.)

Contributors in the industry:

  • Eldrimner (Swedish national resource centre for food craft)
  • Bakers: Sébastien Boudet, Caroline Lindö
  • Organic farmers & millers
  • Föreningen Allkorn

Financier: Formas.