Is Gluten Free (GF) still a thing then?

Is Gluten Free (GF) still a thing then?

For those who have to / choose to avoid gluten, then yes of course it's still a thing!

This post is perhaps aimed more at those who enjoy our sauces but wonder why we've chosen to make them all gluten free.

For Coeliacs and those who need to avoid gluten, it's life changing. And there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding around this whole area. Even Coeliacs get it wrong, particularly if only recently diagnosed.

Let me clear a few things up:

  • Coeliacs is a disease, not a 'lifestyle choice'. Symptoms can vary from debilitating to life-ending.
  • Some non-Coeliacs need to avoid gluten for health reasons too. (Non-Coeliac gluten sensitivity).
  • The legal definition of 'gluten free' means less than 20ppm (parts per million), NOT zero gluten.
  • Wheat is also a listed allergen. For labelling purposes wheat is treated as a separate allergen to gluten. You could be sensitive to one or both.
  • Always go by the label. If the ingredient list does not highlight the presence of gluten or show a 'may contain' then there is no gluten in the product. There is NO AMBIGUITY here and this is how the labelling regulations were designed to work. If a product contains one of the TOP 14 allergens, it will be highlighted, if it doesn't, it will not.
  • 'Free From' declarations are not obligatory, although their use is regulated. So a product may be GF but not designed or marketed to be.
  • Don't trust the apps. They're never as up to date as the labels on the products themselves. As a producer we have a legal obligation to maintain accurate information on the product label. There is no such obligation for apps that are often run by third parties.
  • Seek out trusted sources such as Coeliac UK and the FSA (Food Standards Agency). Don't rely on social media groups for advice.
  • Gluten free foods are not 'missing' something and are often tastier than their 'normal' versions.
  • Coeliacs refer to those who can tolerate gluten as 'muggles'.

Initially prompted by requests to source gluten free products for my supermarket, we explored and researched the subject before launching our first sauces way back in 2012. We've learned loads more on the journey and have noticed that it's still a growing issue.

Why does it seem to be on the rise? I'm not sure anybody knows and it can strike at any time to anybody. Maybe there will be a cure in the future, but in the meantime, it's being taken more and more seriously by food producers and choices are becoming wider, and the quality higher. Gone are the days when you could only get GF bread on NHS presciption, and now we can look forward to a broader offering of products across all food and cuisine types.

For our part, we will continue not only to maintain the GF aspect of our sauces, but also explore other ingredients that could have adverse effects, such as E numbers and refined sugar.

The big for us as producers is not that we are reacing an otherwise under-served niche, but rather that focusing so much on what goes into a product has given us a real appreciation for what sets great sauces apart from merely adequate ones. The traditional Chinese brands I used to stock in the shop may well be long-established and used by millions of Chinese households, but are they still up to the job?

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.