This blog should be called finding freefrom food in a pandemic! Because there isn’t any. No plant milk. No Gluten free bread. No Coconut yogurt… Where has it all gone? There is very little choice in the freefrom aisles and as someone with complicated allergies, I shop for certain dedicated freefrom products and these are very hard… no impossible to find!
What’s going on?
- Has everyone suddenly decided to go gluten free?
- Has all the normal food run out so people are just grabbing what they can?
- Are companies just buying more important staple goods in favour of freefrom?
- Or are some rich freefrom people stockpiling like the whole lot? If you are please stop! Some of us can’t find anything!
My lovely neighbour has been grabbing me plant milk when she sees some. Thank you to everyone currently helping to keep me fed and watered. If I run out wine I will get desperate… the no drinking alone ban has been lifted during lockdown!
11% of the population used to shop online
Why is there such a shortage of freefrom foods?
There are number of reasons affecting everyone, but moreso those with allergies:
- Before Covid-19 hit just 11% of the UK population shopped for their groceries online. That’s not a huge amount of the market so you can understand why we are now facing so many websites with no stock available.
- The stock piling is another strange phenomena. Where are people storing all this extra food? I do hope it is not going to waste.
- Shopping online is now under huge strain. Some shops are seeing a dramatic increase in sales and coping well and others are closing their doors.
- The logistics necessary; vehicles, drivers, staff to pick and pack is a huge issue for companies used to serving just a small percentage of us.
- Supermarkets are coping with the challenges of safely guiding shoppers through their stores but there are long queues and no guarantee you’ll find the food you CAN eat when you get inside.
- You can’t stop and browse labels now, it’s not encouraged to linger and pick up and put things down again. That puts a lot of pressure on.
- Shops have understandable streamlined stock to absolute essentials and that means free from has been dropped or really stripped back.
I’m not even able to go so I’m kind of stuck! I’m currently relying on the kindness of family, friends and neighbours and a well stock larder and freezer. This will eventually run out though… but I know I won’t starve. I’ll always be able to find some fruit and vegetables and my current request is get me what you can – just no celery and tomatoes!
Tips on finding freefrom food
- Amazon – One good tip is to look on Amazon, they had Rye bread and gluten free pasta. Biona Organic Rye Pumpkin Seed Bread 500g (Pack of 6)
- FreeFrom Fairy has completely sold out of her lovely gluten free flour. Visit https://freefromfairy.com/ in about six weeks when she hopes to have replenished stocks.
- My Protein – They have a good price on 5kg of gluten free oats and I also bought some organic cacau buttons to make some less sweet treats. Click here for 25% off at My Protein and of spend more than £50 a think you can get 60% off!
- Holland and Barrett online has some stock of oats, plant milk, dairy free chocolate. But many things are out of stock or say ’email when available’.
- Your local milk delivery company – my road has just done a huge order of milk, bread, eggs and juice. Now I can’t eat most of that but I did take up the offer of juice and eggs. I’ve been doing a lot of baking so the eggs will be really useful. Never used so many eggs. And I’ve decided to bake for the kind people in my road and keep maybe one or two for me and pass on the rest. otherwise I’ll come out of this this the size of a bus! My tummy is growing! I’m very proud 😉
- Click and Collect – There seem to be some slots of this option to potentially this could work for me. If I can place an order someone could collect it for me. Not actually tried and tested this yet.
- Oast the Host gluten free flour – I’ve not come across these guys before but I got an email today from Coeliac UK. Apparently they’ve seen a huge increase in online sales, they’re not the only ones. They have generated a coupon code SPREADKINDNESS on their website offering you 10% off your order, while the country is in national crisis. Check them out here.
- Go direct – Companies offer free delivery on orders over £30 and discounts off at checkout if you enter codes. Sign up for company newsletters to keep informed of discounts. Creative Nature and Plamil all sell direct so check out their websites and order from there.
How do I get help if I can’t leave the house?
You can complete a questionnaire on the Gov.uk website if you are in the group of people who are higher risk of getting complications from the Covid-19 virus. Some people may already be getting this but I’m not sure how this works.
As someone with asthma I am relying on others to shop for me and that’s getting harder as I feel bad asking and it is difficult to ask for what I really want as I cannot expect them to check labels for allergens as diligently as I would myself. I’m just asking for basic meat, fish, vegetables and fruit. Just get me what you can if you can sort of request!
If you think you might qualify, give it a go. It may take a while but we may be here some time!
Click on the link below:
Requesting Government help for vulnerable people online
It may take a while as they will check with your doctor that you have completed the form correctly and are entitled to the help.
Back to basics
So basically I’m cooking very simple meals with lots of veggies, less carbs and fish and meat if I can get it. But most meals are vegetarian and many vegan as meat seems to be in high demand too.
I’m trying to cut back on sugar but the baking hobby is not helping with that.
The cakes will be shared around my road and I am going to try to make bread for the first time since school!
I have to say, my gut is so much healthier. I have hardly any IBS symptoms now and am very smug with all the unicorn poos I’m doing. These are the one wipe and hardly any mess poos! Just so smug right now. You all know what I mean…
I’d love to hear your shopping stories. What have you been struggling to find? Are you completely self isolating? What are you eating?
Sue Ing-Simmons says
It is annoying. I have not been able to find gluten free pasta. I blame the media. As the days go by, I am starting to be convinced that this is real and it is serious – I did wonder at one point if it was just a test that we had clearly all failed miserably. But, the panic buying has been out of all proportion because healthy non-vulnerable people can still get to the shops. And I still haven’t worked out where the toilet roll rush could have started – thank you to one of my lovely neighbours who bought a big pack at the cash and carry (he owns a restaurant), I now have some! He came to my rescue yesterday.
Luckily I am intolerant rather than allergic and, on the recommendation of an intolerant friend (to gluten, not life!) I am trying out some French flour. I am hoping to get on well with it and am planning to cook things, like toad-in-the-hole, which just don’t work with gluten-free flour! Good luck getting hold of what you need. Stay safe and well, Ruth.
Ruth Holroyd says
It is very frustrating but I’m finding comfort in cooking different meals, trying new things and experimenting. All with fresh, natural ingredients. And when I run out gluten free flour then I might melt down! I can’t work it out either. There was always enough before all this. I thought it would sort itself out but it seems that some items are still very hard to find. I can just drink water. I can make porridge with water, some people would always do this anyway! And I can live without dairy free yogurt, milk, cheese and chocolate. But it does feel like some kind of nasty joke having all these things taken away from me as well as my freedom! But I still have my health and one once a day allotted exercise! Be interested to hear how you get in with french flour. It is very different to ours…