Free From Food

Lately I've been hearing lots of comments about the free from foods available in supermarkets.  Coeliac UK has recently done some research and found that many of these "free from" products are very high in salt.  I would imagine they are also very high in sugar and choc full of preservatives. This was recently confirmed by a lady who wrote in to say that most of these gluten free products are unsuitable for diabetics due to the high sugar content. They also seem to lack taste (as in the sense of taste, not aesthetics) which is really weird as being so high in salt and sugar there shouldn't really be a lack of flavour.  Texture is a big problem for me as quite often the cakes and cookies are either sandy, gritty or damp.  Sandy is a texture that is not popular with anyone so I really wish manufacturers would take note and pay more attention to this.  Damp is a texture which seems to be loved by a great many and I for one can't understand why.  Yes, a baked product needs to have moisture and good crumb or else it falls apart.  But when the moisture is overdone (presumably to overcompensate for the possibility of a sandy gritty texture) the product will just end up clagging the roof of your mouth.  Another common complaint is price.  Many of these products are very expensive.  Unitl recently I didn't really know why.  It was pointed out to me that to be a free from product, the manufacturer must submit the product to rigorous testing and this adds to the cost, which is then passed on to the consumer.  My biggest gripe is that so many of these products are very poor imitations of food that gluten and wheat intolerant people can't eat,like:  sausage rolls, pizza, jam tarts, jaffa cakes, shortbread, cheese straws etc etc etc.  So often I buy something to try and find myself spitting it out. Nasty is the first word that comes to mind.  And yet these products still keep on coming, presumably because people keep buying them.  And just as I am on this particular rant, then come the own brands of these already awful products and re-package them to make them look appealing, but inside is an exact replica of the branded one.  Hey, what is it with the lack of imagination? 

Genius bread  is the first good example of a product which is breaking the mould and has gotten retailers thinking that there is potential in selling good free from food. A few months in, all the other manufacturers have come up with their versions of fresh gluten free bread and supermarkets are now spoiled for choice.  Hurray! 

If you are a retailer or a manufacturer reading this, I would love to hear from you.  If you are a consumer and want to post your view on the products in the free from sector, please do.  It would be great to get a debate going.





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