Gluten-free products and the companies that make them have come a long way in a short amount of time.
BY CAROL RADICE
CONTINUED AWARENESS about celiac and gluten sensitivities, along with rising demand from Millennials, are key fac- tors behind the popularity of gluten-free products.
Just as importantly, industry observers estimate
that the category will remain strong for the foreseeable
future, with growth rates of more than 7 percent annually possible during the next five years.
Gluten-free bakery products continue to attract
many to the category, but other areas such as salty snacks, cereals, frozen,
crackers and cookies, as well as those targeted specifically to children and
ready-to-eat meals, are also seeing growth. As consumers educate themselves on the connection between food and their health, there has also been
an uptick in interest in sugar-free and free-from products.
Grocery Headquarters recognizes the companies that have led, and
continue to lead, the gluten-free charge with our Gluten-free Trailblazer
Awards. Chosen by our editorial staff and board of retailers, the following
companies are Gluten-free Trailblazer winners:
BAKERY ON MAIN
Fourteen years ago when Michael Smulders owned a Natural Food Store in
Glastonbury, Conn., it was clear to him that there was a need for good-tast-
ing, gluten-free bakery products. Smulders began creating unique granola
recipes that focused on natural ingredients and incredible flavors. These
premium ingredients, bakeshop delicious recipes and bringing happiness
to customers were his inspirations from the begin-
ning—and are still the cornerstones of the Hartford,
Conn.-based company today.
“What makes our products unique is our dedication to using only natural, Non-GMO Project Verified,
Certified Gluten-Free, dairy and casein-free ingredients,” says Smulders. The company’s latest innovation
of granolas, muesli’s, oats, and hot breakfast options
are not only Certified Gluten-Free, but also Certified
Organic. “People want higher quality options that still
taste delicious and providing that is our passion,” says Smulders.
BETTER FOR YOU FOODS
Better For You Foods is best
known for raising the bar
on natural foods that satisfy
the needs of health-oriented
consumers and foodies
alike. Under the leadership
of Amy Lotker, the company has been first-to-mar-ket with a variety of frozen
products—including pizzas and pizza crusts made with naturally gluten-free ancient grains, whole grains and sprouted grains.
The Delray Beach, Fla. company’s latest innovation is a 100% Vegan
Gluten-Free Certified Thin Pizza Crust. The new pizza crust is made with
all natural non-GMO ingredients that are free of gluten, wheat, egg, milk,
nut, soy and corn.
BLOUNT FINE FOODS
Blount Fine Foods is best known for its fresh, premium soups, entrées,
sauces and side dishes, which are sold under the Legal Sea Foods, Panera
Bread and Blount Organic brands. Blount also makes premium private
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