Friday, 7 February 2014

Supermarket Gluten Free Choice (or lack of)

When you find out you have problems with food, one hopes to carry on eating as before making a few changes, just a matter of finding some substitutes, right?
Then you start shopping for your new situation, as you still need to eat everyday, and then it's when you discover the free from section at your regular supermarket.

At first you are just grateful to have anything at all available, but with time, and when you discover the amazing range of products out there, you wonder why are they not there on the shelf, when there is clearly a market for it and suppliers willing to meet that demand.

This is where I am at the moment, as I've been gluten free for around 18 months. At first I started trying what was available at my local Sainsbury's, most of it own brand.

But then I went to the Allergy Show at Olympia and discovered so many great companies that are making what I want.

I was so excited that I visited twice and got chatting to many of the exhibitors, about their products and how they make them.
I spent quite a bit of money in pasta, pizzas, new breads, puddings, sauces, toasted baguettes ...

It was a brilliant event, there were some established companies, but also so many small business addressing the issue of eating with allergies and intolerances, so proud of what they were doing.

So, after such a high I wanted to get all those products, surely they should be there for me to buy?

Well, not really.
I guess living in London is not great in that sense, as most supermarkets have a smaller store than outside of London.
The sad reality is that the supermarkets around me, most carry mainly their own brand, and some very popular products by well loved brands like Genius and Newburn Bakery, but not much else.
The Free From section seems to be barely a column, and on very few occasions I find what I want.
Photos from the top: choice at Sainsburys (own brand in green packaging),Tesco and a mini Waitrose (own brand in brown packaging). There is also a Marks and Spencer, where everything is own brand.

I guess the only choice is now to buy online, which takes the fun of browsing away, doesn't it?

Also, and unless you want to do all your shopping online, you have to consider delivery costs, which is a bit annoying if you just want a few products, and you'd like to find them in the same online store to avoid paying delivery costs for each product.

So reluctlantly I've been looking at Ocado, and they seem to have most of what I want. Sadly it might be time to make my life easier and say goodbye to my local Sainsbury's.

The 2014 Allergy Show in London will be at London Olympia, 4th-6th July, (Liverpool in October) here is the link to their website:

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