3 Dirty Little Secrets Silently Lurking in the Free-From Aisle
Highly Processed, Additive-Laden Many gluten-free foods are highly processed, use non-fortified flours and are high in refined starch. The over-use of controversial food additives such as E415 xanthan gum, which some people cannot digest, is rife. Fillers and stabilisers are routinely added too. And removing the gluten often requires carrageenan, thickening and raising agents.
Some of these compounds haven’t been fully understood and are creating understandable anxiety about the impact on, for example, hyperactivity in children. However, high levels of processing aren’t the only concerns.
Secret #2 – The ‘Sour’ Taste of Sugar and Salt?
We’re aware of the rising resentment towards high-sugar foods, with obesity, diabetes and tooth decay reaching epidemic levels. So in a category where some brands routinely add treacle or caramelized sugar to help colour white bread brown, sugar is a major issue. Salt too is often overly used to enhance the flavour in Free From products, especially in bakery products.
With evidence mounting about the over-use of salt in the Western diet raising blood pressure and thereby the risk of heart disease, this is a very real worry. Could it be that as a brand or retailer you too could be playing roulette with consumer trust?
Secret #3 Fat Facts Gluten-free foods regularly contain between 3-5 times more fat than gluten-containing counterparts. It’s acknowledged that manufacturers need to add such ingredients so that products have a similar taste and texture to those containing gluten.
BUT today’s shopper wants to know that as much care has been taken with the nutritional profile as with taste and flavour development. Word of mouth, which is very important in this category, will flush out brands that are over-using sugar, fat and salt.
Could you too be guilty of over-using sugar, fat and salt to deliver taste and texture as a short cut to reducing time and cost in product development?
If so, the next article is a must-read, providing 5 actions Free From Brands can take to safeguard their sales and reputations.