The composition of the dry matter of wheat varies widely depending on soil, climate and genetic variations between wheat types. Wheat in New Zealand has a protein content that ranges on average from 8% to 13%. It has a high carbohydrate content of about 83% of the weight of a kernel.
Other components of the wheat grain include bran and germ. Bran, the outer coating or “shell”, is rich in B vitamins and minerals.
The wheat germ or embryo is a rich source of B vitamins, oil, vitamin E and fat. It needs to be discarded during milling because the fat is liable to become rancid during storage. It is still very valuable and is used in many products.
Minerals contained in wheat include calcium, phosphorous, potassium, iron, magnesium and sodium.
Vitamins such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid, inosotol, P-aminobenzoic acid, folic acid and vitamin B6 are also distributed throughout the wheat grain.
All the nutrients contained in wheat make bread an essential part of the diet. Bread is one of the cheapest, high quality nutritious foods in New Zealand and not only provides many essential nutrients but is also low in fat, cholesterol and sugar.