Gluten-Free Shopping- I need answers

We are digging our way out of boxes here in our new home.

I can almost cook, almost bake with ease again.

Not too easily, but close.

Now to turn our attention to the future.

I’ll be on a panel discussion at the Natural Products Expo West, Anaheim California in March about Gluten-Free shopping.

Natural Products Expo West Pinterest Board

We will be talking to the store owner and managers who sell gluten-free products to us about cross contamination, where to segment foods and the general gist of gluten-free.

From my support groups and conversation with many audiences, I have a good idea of what they want.

I’d like to know what YOU would like in a store.

Questions about Gluten-Free Shopping:

Would you like to see gluten-free foods in a dedicated area of your grocery store, or on the shelf with all the gluten full versions?

Would you like to see the items from dedicated (only gluten-free created in the plant) manufactures in one area ?

Do you shop in a dedicated gluten-free store, one without any gluten containing products?

Does the gluten-free area need a cooler and freezer?

Anything else you would like to make sure the store owners can here?  Please leave them in the comments.

And Thanks



  1. Michele says

    I’ve been eating GF for over five years, the last two and a half strictly. I have a sensitivity to gluten that I discovered when my son, then nursing exclusively and not crawling, developed eczema. All of those ‘normal’ GI problems I had disappeared and then returned when I started eating wheat again (turns out my son’s eczema was from dairy).

    I like a separate section with the GF items, especially anything not sealed (like fresh bakery items, or GF bulk ingredients), though I don’t mind hunting around the general sections either. I stay away from bulk purchases for me if they’re not completely separated. A separated freezer section is nice too.

    In my household, I am the only one that needs to eat GF, though my husband and MIL eat it as part of a more Paleo style diet. But that said, I generally don’t buy the packaged GF foods as they’re full of starches and seem nutritionally on par with junk food. If I buy packaged foods, they’re usually for my son, as he is the only one who on a more regular basis eats wheat or grains, or when we’re going on a road trip.

  2. says

    I prefer having the GF options in a dedicated part of the store. I HATE shopping in stores that mix them in, because I never know where to find *my* stuff. It slows down an already arduous ingredient-reading process. And YES that section MUST have a cooler / freezer. For the same reasons. (and because a lot of the better products are frozen)

    I don’t care about dedicated GF lines as much. As long as it’s a product I trust, I go with it. For example – Amy’s organic kitchen doesn’t have dedicated lines, but they do have clear labels and a rigorous cross-contamination testing process for their GF products. I’d be pretty annoyed if I couldn’t find those products in the above section. It might be neat to have dedicated-line products flagged somehow though.

    For store-shopping remember that GF people have to _Read_every_label_ so grocery shopping is a time-suck no matter what. The more the store can do to make it quicker, easier to navigate, the better.

    I shop at stores that carry both GF and regular products because I keep a mixed kitchen and the rest of my family eats gluten. Again, it’s a time saver. If I can get EVERYTHING my whole family needs for reasonable prices at one store, that’s the store I’ll go to.

  3. April Brown says

    I like the idea of gluten free being in with regular food. It allows other people to recognize the problem, and find gluten free food easier when they want to prepare it for a gluten free person.

    However, much cross contamination occurs in the grocery store. Especially in the bread/flour aisles, where particles will cling to packaging. Not many flour bags can be washed once you get home to verify they are gluten free after being in the store.

    So, yeah, in the same general area is fine, as long as cross contamination is minimized.

  4. MaryM says

    4 years gluten free, shop at, and love Wegmans. They have an over-large gf section. I think a separate area with flour, cookies, crackers, pasta, and a freezer with gf items is necessary. When I say the gf section is too big, I mean they’ve brought things like Chex and chips into the section. I can go get them off the regular shelf, don’t need everything corralled together.
    Do you know that Wegmans has a highly visible “wellness key” that determines which store brand items are gf? Makes life so much easier.

  5. says

    I’d like to see gluten-free items on the shelf with the regular gluten versions. When I grocery shop, I organize my list by aisle, so still being able to shop that way is my preferred style. It also helps me feel less “strange” as I can still shop in the “regular” parts of the store and I’m not sequestered to a certain department or shelf.

    I currently do not shop at a dedicated gluten-free store. I am able to meet all of my shopping needs through a combination of a few stores close to my home here in southern California and so I don’t need to travel (some distance away) to the closest gluten-free store.

  6. Barb Kehl says

    I shop at the Bellingham Community Food Coop and Terra Organica for most of my gluten free foods. Partly to support local stores. I like the way that Terra Organica displays some of their gluten free items in a dedicated shelf space and a dedicated freezer. I don’t have to look so hard to find gluten free items.

    I understand the benefit to the stores in keeping the gluten free items with similiar items that are not gluten free. Maybe the customer will purchase both.

    At Trader Joe’s their rice pasta isn’t labeled as gluten free, you have to figure that out for yourself.

    Clearly labeling the shelf as gluten free is helpful. I don’t think there’s a clear answer for everyone.

    Don’t display gluten free and non gluten free side by side in flours, like Bob’s Red Mills displays are often done.

    Thank you for all you do to educate the public and the patients.

  7. Claudia says

    Yes, I would love to see a Gluten Free section in our local grocery store (Giant – here in the Mid-Atlantic States). Giant has an increasingly well stocked “Natural Foods” section of their stores. However, wheat gluten is not my only food sensitivity. It it difficult to find “gluten free” foods that don’t include my other major food sensitivities, which I know many others suffer from. They would include (but not be limited to) all rice (including brown rice), potato (and all nightshades), dairy (casein) and nuts (peanuts, walnuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts). Since many “gluten free” foods include brown rice flour, potato flour and dairy, it is VERY difficult to find gluten free foods in the grocery store.

    Thank you for doing so much for the gluten sensitivity community.

      • Claudia says

        I was tested, using the LEAP blood test, back in 2008, at which time I was told I was sensitive to about 50 items, ranging from moderate to severe. I was good about avoiding these foods in the beginning, going totally gluten free. Since I got migraines and inflammation from nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant), it was easy to remember to not eat those. However, since I didn’t have any symptoms to gluten, I started to slip back into eating gluten products, with no apparent repercussions.

        About a year ago, I started to have an increasing problem with food and supplements getting caught in my esophagus, but that has been an intermittent problem for many years, so I didn’t think much of it. Then, this past December, I got a pill caught, and ended up with an esophageal sphincter muscle spasm, that lasted for 16 hours, and didn’t even allow me to swallow my saliva. Just as I was heading out the door, to go to the ER, it opened up, so I didn’t go, but decided I needed to have an EGD (upper endoscopy), to see why food was getting caught. That’s when the hammer fell . . . I found out I have a condition called Eosinophil Esophagitis, which is thought to be caused by food allergies. Mine is a severe case, in which the doctor couldn’t even get the scope to pass more than 8 inches down my esophagus. Since it is caused by food allergies, I went back to my LEAP test and started eliminating all glutens, as well as other foods that showed as moderate to severe, and those that are borderline safe/moderate. I am also rotating the foods, that tested as safe, to minimize potential for reaction.

        After writing my first comment, I was in the natural aisle at Giant, and looked at their gluten free foods. I was surprised at how many they had, but when I started reading labels, I was frustrated, that MOST of the “Gluten Free” foods had either rice flour or potato starch, or oat flour, to rye flour, or spelt flour or garbanzo bean flour, (all on my severe list). The only one I found that didn’t have one of those was “GF Panko Crumbs”, which listed corn and sugar on the ingredients list – and it looked to be raw corn meal.

        I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I was to find your website! Your recipes allow for substituting the flours that I am able to tolerate. I don’t have a problem with the “gums”, but would rather not use them. So, I have mixed up a batch of your “Pixie Dust” (LOVE both chia and flax seeds – had to order the psyllium, so will use that next time), and will be using it in my first batch of GF Sourdough Bread tomorrow. I have been cultivating my first batch of wild yeast all week, and added my last cups of flour & water today. I just checked it and it has a nice “yeast” smell and is nice and poofie. : ) I already mixed up the dry ingredients, and have them waiting in a jar, for my first batch of bread. So, thanks again. 😀