Loblaws President's Choice First Private Label Gluten Free Products,Food Allergies,Celiac Disease,Snack Food

         On December 13th Loblaw Companies (L) released a new line of gluten-free baked goods, branded under the popular President's Choice label.  Gluten-free products were previously sold at Loblaws the difference is, the majority of them were branded under mainstream labels such as Mi-Del.  More generic items made by Loblaw Companies will translate into better prices for consumers, something that could ignite an already hot market; in 2012 $4.2 billion in sales were made in the gluten-free category of the US market and that number could go up by 57% by 2017 to $6.6 billion.

The market has a lot of room for growth

  • snack bars still lead the mass-market in terms of market share
  • 18% of people buy at least some gluten-free products and beverages, that's up from 15% two years ago

The new line of gluten free products by President's Choice features bread (white sandwich loaf), cookies (chocolate/coconut), mini brownies, muffins and cakes.  They're reasonably priced too at $5.99 a package.  President's Choice was the first private label in Canada to receive gluten free certification from the Canadian Celiac Association Program.  The new products will be available at Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Loblaw Great Food, Fortino's, Zehrs Markets, Zehrs Great Food, Your Independent Grocer, and Valu-Mart.


Legitimate concern or paranoia ?

The number of people with food allergies to milk, wheat, eggs and nuts was up +18% in the ten years to 2007.  Reasons for this aren't well documented however there is growing evidence implicating pesticides;  this year, a team of researchers reporting in the journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), discovered that dichlorophenols used to purify tap water, increase the chances of having a food allergy by 80%

An estimated 1 in 133 Canadian have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, however according to the Canadian Celiac Association, as many as two million Canadian or 6% of the population claim at least some sensitivity to gluten (going by signs and simple blood screening tests).

Some information about the disease

The disease is caused when gluten damages the absorptive surface of the small intestine - which inhibits the ability to absorb nutrients such as protein, minerals and vitamins.  Inability to process gluten can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and even burning itchy skin rashes.  Gluten is a protein in rye, wheat (gliadin) and barley meaning gluten-free products are typically baked goods high in carbohydrates.  Gluten's most valuable quality is its ability to improve binding in flour (keeps from crumbling). 

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