Feel free to eat well
Manufacturers are striving to cater for those with allergies or special dietary needs such as coeliac disease, which has driven sales in the free-from sector.
12 July 2010
At a glance: FREE FROM
- It is estimated one in 300 Irish people has coeliac disease (source: Vhi Healthcare)
- In the US, sales of gluten-free products are estimated to reach $2.6bn by 2012
- Juvela is the leading gluten-free brand in Ireland, producing a complete range of gluten-free alternatives to everyday staple foods
- In addition to the range of foods, Juvela offers an extensive support service to help new and existing coeliacs
- Kelkin have been providing gluten free foods for over 30 years
- This year Kelkin are adding two new flaked cereals to the gluten free cereal range of muesli and porridge; Organic Cornflakes with low sugar and Organic Buckwheat Flakes
- Swedish Glace, the non-dairy alternative to ice cream, is lactose free, gluten-free, cholesterol free, GM free, nut free and egg free
- Livwell has grown to become the UK’s largest retail supplier of free from foods and is showing double digit growth in Ireland
- Livwell foods are free from gluten, wheat and milk
A growing market
The free from market is a growing one due not only to the increased diagnosis of people suffering from wheat and gluten allergies but also due to people choosing to adopt healthier diets and cut out products they don’t feel great after. Dino Trentin of Molino Di Ferro producer of Italy’s number one gluten free selling gluten free pasta “Le Venziane” said that much of their sales growth is attributed to people choosing to eat their pasta purely because they feel better on it and don’t bloat after it and not because they are coeliacs. The importance of this growing market is becoming increasingly clear especially in the UK where the free from market is showing unprecedented growth. Other reasons for growth in this sector seem to be that entire households adopt free from diets if one member of the family is diagnosed as having a gluten or wheat allergy. One reason for this is the need to eliminate cross contamination in the kitchen but the other is that it hugely reduces the workload on the cook who traditionally had cooked two meals, always cooking separately for the coeliac.
Allergies on the rise
According to the Allergy Diagnostic and Therapeutic Centre in Dublin, “Allergies affect around 30% of the adult population and 40% of children.” The centre also reports that “the prevalence, severity and complexity of allergies in the population is rapidly rising.” The incidence of coeliac disease in Ireland is particularly high, with one in 300 Irish people estimated to suffer from the condition according to Vhi Healthcare. Brands are subsequently attempting to satisfy consumer demand by providing a greater variety of tasty and appetising alternative foods and meals.
The Coeliac Society of Ireland says there is sometimes a misconception that coeliac sufferers have a “problem with wheat flour,” whereas the diet can actually be “affected by many processed foods, where there may be modified starch, malt extract or cereal fillers.” The main foods coeliacs should avoid are breads, biscuits, cakes, pastries, pizzas, pasta, sausage meats, spaghetti, certain soups and sauces. There is huge awareness of coeliac disease in the food industry and many restaurants have specific dishes catering for the coeliac diet or else will modify dishes to suit. Subsequently the Irish market is well-served in terms of gluten-free products, with 11 gluten-free manufacturers supplying the category in total. The international standard for gluten-free foods, Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), ensures that commercial gluten-free foods are safe for coeliacs to consume.
Juvela leads the way
Juvela is the leading gluten-free brand in Ireland, producing a complete range of gluten-free alternatives to everyday staple foods. The range includes Juvela White and Fibre Sliced Loaves, Juvela White and Fibre Rolls, Tea Biscuits, Digestive Biscuits and Juvela Mix, which is suitable for making bread, cakes, biscuits and sauces.
In addition to the range of foods, Juvela offers an extensive support service to help new and existing coeliacs. For those that have been recently diagnosed with the coeliac condition, Juvela have put together a “Welcome Pack”. The pack contains samples of the Juvela range, recipe booklets and a series of information leaflets, which provides answers to many of the questions frequently asked. The Juvela team frequently hold gluten free cookery demonstrations around the country and have a freephone advice line 1800 405090 to answer any queries about the products, recipes and the gluten free diet. The range is distributed by SHS Sales & Marketing.
Expertise from Kelkin
Kelkin have been providing gluten free foods for over 30 years. This expertise and commitment allow the company to continually develop and improve its extensive range of gluten free breads, crackers, cakes, biscuits and chocolate treats. This year Kelkin are adding two new flaked cereals to the gluten free cereal range of muesli and porridge; Organic Cornflakes with low sugar and Organic Buckwheat Flakes will join the range in July. It has also launched a great new range of chocolate treats including Jaffa Cakes, Milk Chocolate Snacks and Milk Chocolate Fingers. While these new lines are ideal for people on a gluten free diet, they also taste so good that everyone in the family will love them. Check out www.kelkin.ie for further product details.
Swedish Glace is free from it all
Swedish Glace, the non-dairy alternative to ice cream, is lactose free, gluten-free, cholesterol free, GM free, nut free and egg free. It is suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well as being Kosher approved. It comes in five flavours: vanilla, raspberry, chocolate, blueberry and neapolitan.
“Swedish Glace is ideal for people with food allergies and intolerances as well as those requiring a low cholesterol diet. The fact it is nut free and egg free makes it particularly popular but it tastes so great everyone enjoys it”, says Bobby Moloney, sales manager, Allied Foods, distributors of Swedish Glace in Ireland.
“At the recent Allergy Fair in Dublin, adults who hadn’t eaten ice cream in over 20 years were able to enjoy Swedish Glace. It was lovely to see children who had never eaten an ice cream in their lives tuck in”, he said.
Swedish Glace is available to the retail trade in 750ml tubs (six per case), except for Neapolitan, which comes in a 1.3 litre tub (four per case). It also comes in five litre tubs ideal for the catering trade and for retailers with a scoop ice cream freezer. Contact Bobby Moloney at Allied Foods on 01- 4662600.
Eat well and Livwell
Livwell has grown to become the UK’s largest retail supplier of free from foods and is showing double-digit growth in Ireland. Livwell foods are free from gluten, wheat and milk. The company want to offer great tasting baked breads, cakes and rolls that also happen to be gluten and wheat free. Initial research showed that a significant percentage of diagnosed coeliacs still had some sort of reaction to codex wheat so Livwell decided that it would never use this type of ingredient. The company ensures that its products meet the criteria of less than 20ppm (parts per million. Its competitors currently work with 100ppm, which will be described as per new UK legislation as “low in Gluten”.)
The company claims to continually strive to offer its consumers newer and better products and within the range it was the first free from manufacturer to offer such lines as: pitta breads, naan breads, scones, bagels, breakfast muffins, focaccias and crumpets.
A major reason for its success has also been down to the fact that it is a bakery company – unlike many suppliers who are marketing companies and outsource the production of their range of products from third parties. Other companies are owned and run by pharmaceutical companies – who treat their products as if they were medicines – not baked goods.
It offers dedicated free from production sites which are- like the finished products – regularly tested to ensure there is no possibility of any wheat or gluten contamination risks.
The company spends nearly a quarter of a million a year on testing alone and it audits all its raw material suppliers to ensure they are following best practices.
Living Lavida loco
New Irish company, Lavida Food is headed by husband and wife team, Mairead and Marek and like many great innovations was borne of their necessity to find and cook gluten free products they could both enjoy. Mairead is a coeliac and Marek an avid cook who despaired at trying to find and cook gluten free products they could both enjoy and which did not compromise their taste buds. After lots of research and hard work, Lavida Food was born.
Lavida now consists of a very unusual portfolio of premium quality, gluten free, wheat free products including Le Veneziane, Italy’s number gluten free pasta, Bakery On Main muesli and granola and starting next month a range from leading US gluten free natural foods manufacturer, Bobs Red Mill.
“Everyone is really excited about the arrival of the Bob’s gluten free range to Ireland as it contains three different varieties of pure oats,“ says Mairead. Traditionally, coeliacs have had to avoid oat products as they were generally cross contaminated with gluten at some point in the growth or production process. Pure oats however, which are grown from pedigree seed and grown and processed in a strictly regulated environment are internationally recognised as being naturally gluten free and suitable for people with a gluten allergy or intolerance. “This means that porridge, a much needed source of healthy fibre something traditionally lacking in the gluten free diet, is finally a breakfast option for coeliacs again, says Mairead.
Bobs Red Mill also supplies bread mixes. Samples of these breads were recently given to coeliacs at the Coeliac UK annual conference in Edinburgh and people who tried them are still emailing Lavida complimenting them on the products and desperate to find where they can get their hands on them. For more information on Lavida email email@example.com or tel 061 458455.