Food Uncovered: Naturally Gluten Free

Over the past few years Free From foods have made their way onto our shelves. With so many brands labelling food as ‘gluten free’, it’s made those with intolerances shopping experiences, far more varied.

Yet this has become almost too intense, with many foods which are naturally gluten free being labelled as the exact opposite. Supermarkets charge more for seemingly gluten free options when in actual fact, compared with the cheaper non ‘Free From’ labelled product the ingredients are virtually the same.

ASDA Free From Sweet & Sour Cooking Sauce, £1.50, 500g ASDA Sweet & Sour Cooking Sauce, £0.69, 500g
Ingredients:

Water, tomato puree, pineapple juice, onions, green peppers, red peppers, maize starch, lemon juice, spirit vinegar, salt, ground ginger, colour and black pepper.

Ingredients:

Water, Tomato Puree, Sugar, Carrots, Pineapple Pieces, Mixed Peppers, Onions, Modified Maize Starch, Spirit Vinegar, Pineapple Juice, Salt, Acidity Regulator, Ground Ginger, Toasted Sesame Oil, Colour, and Ground Black Pepper.

The different ingredients between these two are carrots, toasted sesame oil and acidity regulators. None of the ingredients in the cheaper option contain gluten and it’s 81p cheaper.

Tesco Free From Bolognese Sauce, £1.30, 500g Tesco Bolognese Pasta Sauce Jar, £0.75, 500g
Ingredients:

Tomato, tomato puree, sugar, lemon juice, cornflour, onion, salt, onion powder, basil, rapeseed oil, garlic puree, firming agent, parsley and oregano.

Ingredients:

Tomato, tomato puree, sugar, lemon juice, cornflour, onion, salt, herbs, onion powder, rapeseed oil, garlic puree and firming agent

This comparison is a prime example of how gluten free labels can be misleading. The main difference between the free from option is simply the seasoning and the fact that it has even more than the cheaper option. However, for the 55p difference you could simply add more of your own ingredients.

Tesco Free From Basil Pesto, £1.50,190g Tesco Classic Green Pesto, £1.00, 190g
Ingredients:

Sunflower oil, tofu, cashew nuts, glucose syrup, water, potato flakes, pine nuts, salt and acidity regulator.

Ingredients:

Basil, sunflower oil, grana Padano cheese, yogurt, cashew nuts, extra virgin olive oil, sugar, pecorino Romano medium fat hard cheese, bamboo fibre, salt, pine nuts, acidity regulator, garlic powder, grana Padano medium fat hard cheese

Search for a pesto recipe online and you will find it contains very few ingredients; basil, parmesan, salt, pepper, pine nuts and olive oil. The FreeFrom option doesn’t contain any basil. The main element of pesto. The classic pesto is naturally gluten free and contains more cheese and basil than the other option.

ASDA Free From 13 Slightly Salted Rice Cakes, £0.65, 100g ASDA Good & Counted Caramel Rice Cakes, £0.85, 160g
Ingredients:

Rice and sea salt.

Ingredients:

Brown rice, cane sugar, maize, salt, flavouring, caramelised sugar syrup.

I’ll let you in on a secret, rice is gluten free. However, not all vinegar is so when it came to this comparison it’s important to note that the salt and vinegar rice cakes were not gluten free. However, these caramel ones were and you get more for your money. Rice cakes are also gluten free naturally so it’s important to look around.

Fabulous FreeFrom Factory Dairy Free Chocovered Raisins, £1.50, 75g Sainsbury’s Milk Chocolate Raisins, £0.85, 180g
Ingredients:

Raisins, raw sugar, cocoa butter, soya flour, cocoa mass and emulsifier

Ingredients:

Milk chocolate, skimmed cows’ milk powder, cocoa mass, whey powder, lactose, butteroil, emulsifier, raisins and glazing agents.

Chocolate is one of those things which are naturally gluten free. So when you see FreeFrom options for chocolate, unless you’re hunting for dairy free just go with the cheap option. These chocolate raisins do contain very different ingredients but it’s more of an example of how gluten free labels can often be misleading and result in your paying more for the same thing.

It’s important to always check the ingredients before buying FreeFrom options and compare it to non FreeFrom and see what the actual differences are.

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