Why Compromise On Taste?
These counters cater for the growing population with food intolerances such as wheat, gluten, nut and diary. The fact that these people's needs have been both acknowledged and addressed is of course widely appreciated. However, the choice of provisions would be far more extensive if manufactures didn’t add unnecessary gluten to mainstream food in the first place (where flour or barley malt found in vinegars and chocolates, are not the prime ingredients). The use of naturally gluten free ingredients clearly labelled would make a significant difference to so many people’s lives and in our opinion, would increase grocery sales too. Instead there are small designated 'free from' shelf areas, a disproportionate shelf allocation compared to the growing market demand. In 2011 this equated to a £238,000,000 in free from sales in the UK representing an estimated 12 million people. In 2014 sales are estimated at £355,000,000 (up to 52% of us now buying into the concept). Despite these democraphics
'Free From ' food is expensive (as much as 4-8 times more than wheat equivilents)
Treacles and colourings are often used to dye breads which are labelled as
brown bread and over refined white flour is still used.
Gluten free biscuits cakes are usually over sweetened and are high in fat.
Gluten free food often contains xanthan gum.
Most Gluten free bread does not cut or freeze well.
There is no uniformity of stock (each super market chain and each branch of the same chain stock different merchandise.
Gluten free food lines can often be out of stock for long periods of time and
be withdrawn from sale without any prior warning or notice.
A well-known Spanish supermarket chain has already taken the lead in this area and offers all of its customers an abundance of gluten free produce for everyone throughout their stores They do not have 'free from' counters, but instead sell a large range of mainstream food containing no gluten for celiacs and non celiacs which is clearly labelled, visible and identifiable. M&S have now adopted this approach in the UK and their free from sales soared 100% from 2013 to 2014.
By Jane Clarke - Founder of GLUTEN FREE SOLUTIONS