With demand set to grow by 20 per cent Tesco widens its Gluten Free Christmas offering

Shoppers are set to spend 20 per cent more stocking up on Free From foods* this Christmas compared with last year.

Shoppers are set to spend 20 per cent more stocking up on Free From foods* this Christmas compared with last year.

That’s the prediction from Tesco whose research shows that one third of UK households now have at least one allergy or intolerance sufferer.              

The research also shows that more than 60 per cent of households have bought Free From foods in the last year, with the number boosted by shoppers changing their diets because of a lifestyle choice.

The increase has pushed the value of the UK’s Free From market to £462 million, according to retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel (August 2015).

In September, this year, another retail analyst, Mintel, forecast that the UK’s Free From market will grow 50 per cent by 2019.

To meet the growing demand of customers Tesco will this Christmas offer its widest ever choice of Free From foods including a retail first, Free From profiteroles.

The supermarket has also included gluten free stuffing with all its top of the range finest* stuffed turkey, duck and pork joints for the first time ever this year.

 Tesco food developer and coeliac Fiona Carter said: “Free From has become a major part of our day to day food offering which is why we’ve worked on developing our range this year to make sure that there is plenty of choice for customers this Christmas.

 “This year customers will be able to buy everything they need for the whole of the festive season – from an Advent Calendar with dairy free chocolate at the beginning of December to mince pies and cake throughout the month and then stuffed turkey, puddings and profiteroles on the big day itself.

 “Gluten Free food is now so important to so many shoppers that for the first time ever we have dedicated the whole of one of our Christmas TV adverts to highlighting some of our range.”

Free From foods have become appealing to not only those who are medically diagnosed as coeliacs but also to customers interested in managing a lifestyle change.

Nowadays the quality of Free From foods has greatly improved over the last five years with many products tasting as good as their non-Free From equivalents.

Recently Tesco has won a number awards for its Free From foods including its own label Sweet Party dessert selection; Strawberry and Vanilla Cones; and Italian Coffee Style Dessert.

This increase in quality was highlighted at a customer taste test at Tesco’s Kensington Superstore on Thursday (December 10) when customers were asked to identify the difference between gluten free and non-gluten free Christmas fruit slices.

Nearly 75 per cent of customers preferred the taste of the Free From fruit slices believing them to be the regular Tesco product.

Tesco was the first UK retailer to launch a Free From brand back in 2003 and is still leading the way by introducing new products for their customers.

Since then it has grown its range to more than 350 Free From products and sells more than 200 million Free From foods a year.



Note to editors:

 *Free From foods are ones that are made specifically for shoppers who suffer from food intolerance and/or food allergies or who are following avoidance diets.

 Among the Tesco Free From Christmas foods on sale this year are the following:

Tesco Free From Profiteroles 454g - £1.50

Tesco Free From Mince Pies 4 pack - £1.75

Tesco finest* Free From Christmas Pudding 100g - £1.75

Tesco finest* Free From Christmas Cake 907g - £11

Tesco Free From Christmas Pudding 454g - £3.75

Tesco Free From Chocolate Pudding - £1.40

Tesco Free From Advent Calendar 72g - £3.50

Free & Easy Gluten Free Gravy Sauce 6x130g - £2

Hale & Hearty Sage and Onion Stuffing Mix 120g - £2

Tesco has won the Free From Retailer of the Year award in the Free From Food Awards 2015.

It has also won plaudits and other recommendations for several of its Free From products including its Free From Profiteroles, Strawberry and Vanilla Cones, and Korma Sauce.

Types of Allergies and Intolerances

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is sensitivity to the protein, gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats.  (It is not actually an allergy). The only way to control the disease is to have a gluten-free diet.  Many staple foods, such as bread and pasta, contain wheat and specially-prepared gluten-free products are available for sufferers.  Coeliac disease can cause poor growth and weight loss if not managed properly.

Wheat Allergy

This gives symptoms of asthma, itchy skin and/or diarrhoea in people who are sensitive to wheat.  Whereas coeliacs are only sensitive to the wheat protein, sufferers of wheat allergy are sensitive to the whole grain, including wheat starch.

Milk Intolerance

Allergy to milk is an immune system response to the proteins found in milk and can cause symptoms such as swelling/tingling of the lips, rashes, urticaria (hives) and in the most severe cases anaphylaxis. It can also be responsible for eczema particularly in babies and young children. Milk intolerance can cause sickness and diarrhoea; this is not a true immune system response as in allergy, although it can be a reaction to milk proteins it can also be due to lactose intolerance this is where the body fails to make the enzyme lactase that is needed to break down the milk sugar lactose.

Goats or sheep’s  milk should not be used as a as a replacement for cow’s milk as the makeup of this is very similar to cow’s milk and may still cause an allergic reaction, it also still contains lactose.  Normal Soya milk is not suitable for infants under one year of age; however Soya milk infant formulas which are fortified with vitamins and minerals may be given over six months of age.  A paediatrician or allergy specialist should prescribe infant formulas for young babies with milk allergy.

Nut intolerance

The peanut is a legume and in a different botanical category to tree nuts. The term “tree nuts” refers to a variety of nuts including almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts and cashew nuts. Despite the botanical difference, many people with peanut allergy react to tree nuts and vice versa.

Allergy to these foods can be severe. Some people experience only mild symptoms, but severity is difficult to predict and all cases should be assessed by an allergy specialist. Even mild symptoms such as a tingling of the lips should never be ignored because it is possible that future reactions may be more severe.

Allergy to peanuts and tree nuts can be perfectly well managed.

The number of people who die of food allergy is actually very small. Peanuts and tree nuts must be declared on the label whenever they appear in pre-packaged food even when present in minute quantities. 

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

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