If you have noticed more gluten-free products on your local grocers shelves there is good reason. Many of the largest food manufacturers, such as General Mills and Betty Crocker, are getting into the business of providing gluten-free options for the everyday shopper. Both companies have been rolling out cake, brownie and cookies mixes that are all gluten-free and in many cases use rice flour as a substitution. The good news here is that large brands are recognizing the need for these types of products in the market place, which should only help this category expand.
Despite this good news, issues can arise when products do not list hidden ingredients or have proper gluten-free labeling. One accident I have seen a few people make is purchasing products labeled “wheat-free” as opposed to “gluten-free.” Gluten is present in several grains including wheat, rye, barley, oats, millet and spelt. Therefore it is important to look at the ingredients list if there is not clear verbiage on the packaging that states gluten free.
In addition to the grains listed above containing gluten, other ingredients that should be red flags are barley malt, sprouted wheat, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and wheat gluten. While those might seem pretty clear to identify some of the more hidden ingredients are bulgar, semolina, kamut, matzo, seitan, couscous and graham. Also reference last week’s article with my favorite gluten-free products and a gluten beware list that encompasses a larger product watch list.
As an additional element to highlight, artificial coloring, coloring, as well as caramel flavoring can all denote gluten in many cases so if you aren’t sure these are best avoided.
With more resources and products coming out every day and with the large consumer-packaged goods companies getting on-board, the gluten-free marketplace is evolving. I look forward to seeing what new products will come out next.
March 27th, 2010