I recently returned from the Natural Products Expo East in Boston and, based on my unscientific calculation, approximately half the population is wheat sensitive. How else can you explain the plethora of new gluten-free (GF) products that are coming soon to a grocery store near you?
Most experts agree that less than 3% of the population may have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which consumption of gluten (proteins in wheat, barley, and rye) causes the body’s immune system to attack and damage the small intestine. Celiac sprue is a nasty disease to be sure, but it sure feels like many manufacturers, like moths to a light, are blindly throwing products into the market with little concern for efficacy or even taste (not unlike the low-carb bubble from a few years ago).
At Country Choice Organic, we’ve watched this irrational exuberance from the sideline, wondering if we should get in the game or even if the world needs another GF ginger snap. (For the record, we are all in agreement that the world could use a great tasting GF ginger snap, as current offerings are not very tasty.)
To date, we remain committed to offering better-for-you organic hot cereals, cookies and bars. And while we create many wheat-free products, we are aware that oats are sometimes cross-contaminated with wheat and have therefore steered clear of the GF label (although many wheat sensitive customers tell us they have no problems with our organic oats and Soft Baked cookies).
As for the future, we look forward to the FDA’s long awaited announcement for a GF standard of identity. Until then, we’ll most likely “ride the pine” and wait for the inevitable market correction.