The rapid expansion of the free from market

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On Friday I happened to see a full page advert in a national newspaper, The Sun advertising a free from product. I have to say that I was a little surprised to say the least to see this type of advert in a national newspaper. It was a well timed advert for the lovely weather we are having at the moment. It was for Tesco’s own range of free from ice cream cones. Or as I like to call them their safe version of a Cornetto for me :). This was later followed by a plug on Twitter. I think that a lot of people with food allergies, or intolerances are already aware of this product. When it was first launched both Twitter and Facebook was full of posts from people getting excited by Tesco’s new product and subsequently posting their reviews. I even had to wait a little while to get these ice cream cones, because they were so popular. So do supermarkets like Tesco’s really need an advertising campaign? It seems to co-inside with the rapid development of the free from market. This market hasn’t just expanded due to a sudden increase in food allergies / intolerances but also because many see it as a lifestyle choice. This will no doubt start a debate in itself. I personally think that it is great that more free from products have their ranges advertised in national newspapers and magazines. Not everyone uses social media, so although it may be targeting a particular company it makes people aware that more products are now more readily available.

I just hope that it means small and upcoming companies that are often developed as a result of a family member having an allergy, still get a chance to thrive and develop within this market place. I hope that they get just as much opportunities to sell their products both locally and nationally and do not lose out as a result of large companies monopolizing the market. Oh and of course that people with any food allergies / intolerances continue to support these companies as well.

I personally think that it is great that more products are easily available for me to buy and try. In the past I would never have dreamt of popping into a supermarket and being able to pick a cake that I could eat straight away. Or having a range of quick and easy to find crisps to choose from. However, if I am going to be a tad grumpy / negative I wish that in the long-term even more sweet treats especially cakes will be dairy free. So often they are free form other allergens but not milk. In fact I did feed this back to ladies at Tesco’s at the recent Allergy Show in London. I was informed that they had received several other similar comments. So I hope that Tesco’s and other supermarkets will listen to little old me and other dairy free peeps so that hopefully we can enjoy even more free from products in the future. That said I will remain loyal to the small independent companies that I have grown to love because I feel that it is very important to support them.

I would love to know what you think. Thanks C 😀.

12 thoughts on “The rapid expansion of the free from market

  1. I agree. When big companies start doing what small companies have mastered…it makes me worry. Its as if there was more interest in hoping on the bandwagon to make more money than to really help people with intolerances.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read the post and comment much appreciated. I have been getting a variety of interesting comments via social media sites. Most of which highlight the importance of supporting small businesses.

  2. It’s all very well advertising these diary free cones BUT where do you get them. Our two stores both extras don’t stock them , Poole, Dorset. We were told selected stores only. I’m gluten and diary free due to my really bad eczema on my hands. By excluding these products I can now show off my hands before they were in cotton gloves to stop me shedding skin everywhere very embarrassing. It was bad enough with the gloves on people stare. Also I couldn’t pick up things as the hands were cracked and bleeding.six months later I’m cured IF I stick to diet. Sorry about complaining but I would love ice cream. I do go to our local Barford ice cream garden and have their delicious sorbet and gluten free cones so accommodating. I feel normal and can join in with the grandchildren.

    • Hi Lorna. Thank your for your comments it was very insightful to read. I didn’t realise that only certain Tesco’s stocked the free from cones. I have obviously been lucky. It seems such a shame especially if they have a national marketing campaign. It’s nice to hear you supporting a local business and being able to feel like everyone else. Once again thanks for taking the time to read my post and take the time to comment, much appreciated C 😀.

  3. I think the expansion of FF ranges is generally a good thing, however, I do tend to find that larger manufacturers tend to be less “free from” than the smaller companies. Take the supermarkets for example – all my local stores stock quite a big range of FF foods in fresh/frozen/store cupboard ranges. Great, thinks I, food I can eat! Except my intolerance is to a protein found in grains that isn’t gluten. Nearly all of the FF foods in supermarkets contains either maize starch or cornflour, neither of which I can eat. My sister has the same problem but she is intolerant to milk too, and stealth milk/whey powder gets everywhere 😦 Smaller manufacturers are more likely to have safe foods from my point of view – I just despair at the prices because for me this isn’t a choice, it’s the avoidance of pain and damage to my organs 😦

    • Thank you for taking the time for reading my post and taking your time to leave your personal comments. I found your points very interesting and informative. I hope that you can readily find foods that are safe to eat from the independents more easily in the future. With regards to cost it is often a shared frustration expressed by people who buy free from products because of an allergy or intolerance and not because of a lifestyle choice.

    • That’s exactly what I was going to say! The Supermarket free from brands are fine if you are avoiding one or two allergens, but once it gets more complicated than that (one of my sons has 13 allergies) then you really have to buy from the small independent companies, who are making niche products.

      • Thanks for reading my post much appreciated. Gosh it must be so difficult finding the suitable foods with all of those allergies. Thank goodness for the small independent businesses. Are there any particular ones that you use and recommend ?

      • Hi. We actually end up using lots and lots of companies. We shop at about 5 different supermarkets (Sainsburys, Aldi, Lidl, Ocado and Waitrose), use online companies (Goodness Direct is a good website), local health food shops, and we even have a wholesale account with Suma.

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