12.3.13

The Free From Blues

pictured sourced from Google images

I will warn you this blog post may not make much sense but I feel like having a moan. As you know I have been living with diagnosed allergies for a long time which means I have seen the growth of the free from section in supermarkets. Just recently I have been feeling a little left out. From my viewpoint the tables have turned and attention has focused onto Gluten Free (GF) products. Big brands like Warburton and Heinz are joining the market with GF breads and pasta. Of course, I don't begrudge those on a GF diet, my sister is Coeliac so I know first hand the struggles that are experienced.

Last year at the Allergy Show, I walked passed a brand of biscuits and dismissed them as unsuitable. I did that because the front of packaging listed they were free from gluten, wheat and dairy. There is no mention of being egg free until closer inspection on the back of the box. I wonder how many other brands I have ignored. I always thought egg allergy was very common so I'm confused when it gets over looked in this way. I feel it should be prominently displayed.

A while back a GF company, selling bread and cakes, asked me to review products. When I said it was not of interest they queried me because I had blogged about the Allergy Show. I must admit I was a little peeved by that. I explained that gluten is not one of my allergens and I can not recommend foods I would not purchase. Their response was the entire range was dairy free but a couple of items were not egg free. I'm nit picking but that's a selling point as far as I can see so why not promote it in their email to me? 

Last week I stood looking at the free from section in the supermarket and stomped my feet like a petulant three year old. There are a handful of dairy and egg free products compared to the expanding range of GF foods. Is it just me being silly but have you noticed the new wave of GF foods are simply GF and do not cater for other allergies? The latest buzz on Twitter surrounds Heinz introducing GF products but can anyone tell me if they are free from other allergens? Unless I'm mistaken this information in not glaringly obvious on the press releases. You also don't hear high street restaurant chains promoting their egg and dairy free meals, they just market the GF ones. 

Perhaps I am being over sensitive. I am just rambling observations off the top of my head but I am curious, is anyone else feeling a little left out?


6 comments:

  1. I agree with you completely, despite being gluten and wheat free my early diagnosis was for lactose intolerance. It bugged me back then that there were so many options (and even prescriptions) for gluten free food and not lactose or dairy free. The vegan market became much more of an interest to me as I knew that it would be free from lactose (found in all mammalian milk not just dairy). Now I am gluten and lactose free it has become much more difficult as the vegan range is often unsuitable and the gluten free range has dairy in.
    My solution is to keep hassling companies to be more aware of all the main allergens not just gluten. If a company is only interested in gluten they are usually just in it for the money!

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    1. Good point there about if a company GF only then in it for the money! After the Allergy Show last year I saw blogs about how Vegan foods had no place there and I got angry. I do agree on principle but for people like me who don't have issues with cross contamination or anaphylaxis at the moment the Vegan manufacturers are catering to my needs not the free from ones.

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  2. I think if a product is free from something it should state it. I don't think you are being over sensitive, that would annoy me too. x

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    1. It will be on the packaging somewhere, it's just not obvious in some cases, the eye catching information will always point to Gluten Free (or so it seems)

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  3. I think it's because people are jumping on the gluten free bandwagon for weight loss and they are using it as a marketing strategy. They realise that just catering for people with genuine allergies is a niche market and they want to expand to the "dieting" population. It might be a cynical view but I do genuinely believe it.

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    1. I agree with you and being GF for weight loss purpose is a very worrying trend. I think the days of Free From market being niche is very much behind us, if you see the crowds at the allergy show every year the volume of people with conditions like my own is ever increasing.

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