It used to be that the only thing you could eat at the ballpark were hot dogs, caramel corn, peanuts and beer. But as service industries try in earnest to appeal to the health and eating patterns of the American culture, even the great American pastime is listening and acting.
Just this past week, Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, joined forces with ARAMARK, the exclusive food and beverage provider, to create a gluten-free concession stand. Filled with items like hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, chips, cookies, soda and even beer, each item is free of the allergy-provoking protein. Coors Field’s gluten-free stand is the first of its kind amongst all Major League Baseball stadiums.
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains like wheat, rye and barley that causes, in some people, Celiac Disease, an uncomfortable digestive condition that prevents certain nutrients from food from being absorbed while also causing an abnormal immune reaction to gluten, according to The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Currently, about 2 million Americans have the disease.
Coors Field’s decision to create this exclusive concession stand stems from its loyal obligation to its fan base, many of which have requested that a gluten-free menu be added to the usual fare of hot dogs, burgers, beer and nachos. These foods, because they contain wheat and other gluten-containing ingredients and fillers, can produce mild to severe gastrointestinal symptoms in those who have Celiac Disease. But the other ballpark favorites like peanuts, cotton candy and caramel corn are naturally gluten-free so fans can indulge safely.
While this is the first of its kind in the baseball world, gluten-free eating has been popping up all over. From entire aisles at the grocery store to restaurants and bakeries, those with gluten allergies who were once restricted from eating out and had to scour labels for hidden sources of gluten, can now enjoy frequenting grocers and restaurants with little fear. As more and more establishments start to alter their menus and products or place labels next to gluten-free foods and meals, gluten-free eating, like vegetarianism, might become just as commonplace and supported in the eating practices of our culture.