Sometimes you find things on the shelf that catch your eye, you check the ingredients, even though they aren’t in the freefrom aisle. Whether this is some kind of self torture I’m not sure, but very occasionally, those tasty looking pork and leek sausages are gluten free!
Marks & Spencer do this with a few products, they stock things which are dairy and or gluten free, or free from other allergens, and instead of having these items in the freefrom aisle, they are just on the normal shelves, where normal people shop for normal food.
This is great, because people begin to realise that freefrom doesn’t have to mean freefrom taste. However there is an issue here. How many times have you discovered an amazing product, only to discover it’s suddenly been discontinued due to lack of sales.
“Tell people it’s dairy/gluten/nut free… don’t hide this fact!”
Which brings me to the point of this brief blog post, to share with you all that Marks & Spencer Pork & Leek British Outdoor Bred 80% pork sausages are in fact, accidentally gluten free.
The ingredients quietly and in normal, tiny, almost unreadable font says, ‘gluten free crumb’.
GLUTEN FREE! When I was least expecting it.
Thank you M&S, but can you tell us? Don’t hide your gluten free products. We can’t find them!
How about a newsletter for all your freefrom food challenged fans telling us which new products are gluten free, or a dedicated page on your website for all these accidentally freefrom products. They also do a Sticky Chilli Chicken meal which is dairy free, and a Lemon chicken ready meal which is also dairy free, but sadly not gluten free.
Should freefrom be kept in the same place? All together? and clearly marked? Or should it be found all around the store with the other non-freefrom lines? I think I like to know where to find it, and to be able to go straight there when I’m shopping. I don’t like searching around and having to scour EVERY label… even though I do read almost every label anyway, just in case…
Maybe they could put some of the sausage and other “higher profile,” more “regular” freefrom foods in both places – the freefrom isle AND the “regular” isle. Win-win situation! 😀
Both places would be ace wouldn’t it! Then ‘normal’ people would begin to realise free-from needn’t mean freefrom taste!
Jenny T says
I couldn’t agree more. In fact if more people ate some free from products from time to time they would less likely become intolerant to some of the foods they consider ‘normal’! Wheat and cows milk being the most obvious areas of contention.
They have to consider if machinery has been contaminated with a gluten protuct, they err on the side of safety .. their safety to be fair .. fire proofing .
But yes I would read the content and decide go for it.
I agree with items such as the sausages being in the “normal” aisle – though as you say, some way of promoting their wide range of “accidentally” gluten free items should be found – BUT I really really disagree with the fact that their gluten free bread is on the shelf with the normal bread! Everything might be packaged (though many stores of course sell fresh/unwrapped bread/pastries too) but the chance of bringing crumbs home is just too high for me personally to risk it. Otherwise, full marks to M&S (no pun intended!) for their decreasing use of wheat where it doesn’t need to be used!
And flour! Some shops put the Doves farm gluten free flour next to normal flour… bags of flour are always floury. It seems the bread is often on the shelf alongside normal bread. Budgens do this too, but at least they do stock it. Probably a space issue. Not sure how you get around that one. I have seen #GF baked goods in M&S in a separate place but also all together. Not sure what their policy is. I think mostly it’s Hide it! I always have to rewally rootle around in M&S to find freefrom stuff.
JO Walker says
Very strange just had these for tea tonight, very tasty
T be fair to M+S they have made a concious decision to use Gluten Free crumb right across their meat range. You’ll find that their burgers, sausages, kebabs, stuffings etc all now use g/f crumb instead of rusk or breadcrumbs.
As a recently diagnised coeliac I’ve found them by far the best Supermarket for me. When I asked about G/f bread, customer services ran me off a 16 page long list of g/f products across the store.
They are very good, I just wish they would sign post their gluten free baked goods range better. I always have to hunt for it. For interest, the are packaged in a light green design and are different from the other M&S baked goods. I got told off when I tried to photograph the #GF area for a blog post – you have to get permission from head office to do this apparently! The shame!
You dont need to look at the back ingredient list. If the product is gluten free (as this one is) it has a gluten free logo on the front (as is in the picture).
Just look out for the logo (sometimes green) on pack. All their sausages, burgers and indeed sauces in the meat dept are gluten free. I totally agree that Gluten free sausages should be as good as non gluten free. Why should you comprimise. Other good gluten free brands on sausages are Jimmy Doherty free range (TESCO), Rankin selection and the Good Littel Company (Waitrose)
I know Dominic, they are labelled but I didn’t know they did #GF saussies. Was very pleasantly surprised and wish I could afford to shop there more often. Not tried Rankin or Good Littel Company so thanks for that. I usually get Black Farmer.
Chris Welton says
It’s almost as if there are shelf stackers who take a delight in hiding Gluten-Free products. I certainly dont have a lot of time to inspect all the aisles and if M&S are serious they should send a manager round to find the GF items !
I got told off when I was trying to photograph what the #GF aisle looks like, after having to search in a fairly small store. They weren’t keen on me photographing it without permission from head office – that’s how carefully they guard their #GF range! He He. For information, it’s usually right next to the other baked goods, covers a few shelves and they are usually in pale green packaging.
This M&S revelation was a diamond in the rough–thanks much for “exposing”! I may be late to the answer to this question I have but hear goes: Is there any solution or technology or service or app out there that can “tag” certain food products so that the shopper can know its allergy or gluten status? Anyway thanks for sharing–good find!
There are apps, like FoodWiz but I’m not sure how well used they are. M&S and most other stores will provide you with a list of the products they make that are freefrom. Worth asking a few times a year as they do change the ranges, especially M&S. Enjoy ;o)
Ruth–you are a WEALTH of information–many thanks I will check out FoodWiz and keep these notes in mind!
Yep, full of useless information me. Good luck searching out that hidden gluten free food. M&S has loads of things.