I read with interest two newspaper articles discussing the latest food fad – eating gluten free, one of which I have linked below.
One survey was conducted by Coles, who have obviously acted according to this trend with the introduction of their new range of “Simply Gluten Free” and a freezer product from UK – Genius.
Before we (those of us who have Coeliac Disease or those of us who have family members with Coeliac Disease) get too excited about the spin off from this latest food fad, I can also see some problems associated with a food allergy being paired with a food fad.
Congratulations to Coles on their new product lines as this has increased the range and diversity of products now available to my teenage son. But beware, will this also mean that less shelf space will be given to those independent suppliers of gluten free products we have grown to rely upon. I worry about this negative spin off. Let’s hope that Coles will increase shelf space for gluten free products so that they can keep already stocked items on their shelves as well as adding their own branded products.
Another problem I can see with gluten free being seen as a food fad is complacency. Will cafes and bakeries become complacent in the preparation of gluten free products? Will chefs and cooks think – oh well, gluten free is just a food trend so it doesn’t really matter if the benches are not washed down properly, or if there aren’t separate boards, toasters, grillers and knives?
My husband approached a artisan bakery regarding their gluten free bread. Yes, they only prepared gluten free bread twice a week, after all other baking was finished and after the kitchen had been washed down. So he ordered two loaves. When he went to collect the bread, it was sliced! And was there a separate slicer for gluten free products ? Of course not! The sales assistance became a little confused when we refused to buy the bread as this had been a special order and we had an obligation to buy the product. And what of the bakery’s obligation to supply “gluten free” bread as advertised.
Coeliac Disease is not fashionable or negotiable and for those with the disease, eating gluten free is medical and compulsory and most definitely not a food fad.