Do Waitrose Free From products make the mark?
Allergy UK believes up to 45% of the UK population could be suffering from food intolerance (Daily Telegraph 20.6.2012). Whilst the debate still rages as to whether that many people really are allergic or intolerant, there’s no doubt that Free From Foods in the UK is big business. With a market worth a whopping £238 million it’s no surprise that Retailers are clamouring for a slice of it.
Evidence of which can be seen on the Free From shelves in any supermarket. Since I first stood slightly bewildered in front of the Free From aisles just over a year ago, the range and quality of products with that all important gluten free label has vastly improved. From that initial “cardboard” sandwich which deigned to insult my taste buds there is now a far superior selection of gluten free products.
However, with everything from bread to biscuits being 2 or even 3 times more expensive than their non gluten free alternatives, living without wheat is a costly business. If you’re paying over the top for something you want to know it’s going to be worth it.
So I was delighted when the folk at Waitrose sent me some of their new LOVE Life, free from gluten range to try. In general they are a few pence cheaper per item than other branded products, but how did they do on the taste front?
Here’s what I tried and how they scored in the Gluten Free and Gorgeous household
1. Free from Porridge Oats – £2.99/400g
Yes it seems it is possible to have your oats & eat them without gluten. I made the porridge with milk and they were OK but not as flavoursome as other ones I’ve tried. So I gave them a GF&G Score of 5 /10
2. Free From Granola with almonds and sultanas – £3.49/500g
I really enjoyed this! It’s super tasty and has a lovely texture. I would have liked more almonds and sultanas and think it’s quite expensive as it doesn’t last long so it’s a bit of a treat. My cereal bowl gave them a GF&G Score of 9/10.
3. Free from chocolate chip cookies – £1.95 / 150g
I bake most of our biscuits myself so it’s very hard to do a fair taste test on shop bought ones. Hence, I called in some other experienced cookie eaters both young and not so young who thought they were perfectly acceptable. The cookie monster taste testers gave them a GF&G Score of 7/10
4. Free from Cherry Bakewells – £1.99 for 4
On devouring one of these wonderfully moist morsels and I had to have another immediately! I am rather partial to cherry bakewells and have never attempted to make them myself so in this instance I could taste test without the need for assistance. The pastry is really good, crumbles in just the right way and the fondant icing is wonderful to sink your teeth into. My gluten eating husband thought they were good but a bit sweet… but what does he know?! I gave them a GF&G Score of 10/10
5. Free from penne pasta – £1.99 / 500g
The big benefit gluten free pasta has over regular pasta is the wonderful colours they can be due to the interesting flours they’re made from. This one is a beautiful, golden coloured pasta made from rice flour, maize flour and yellow maize flour. It tasted just like regular pasta, had a good consistency and taste so I gave it a GF&G score of 8/10.
All in all I’d say well done Waitrose for extending their range of Free From products. Their bread is pretty good too. Now let’s work on bringing the price down.
Don’t you think my photographer excelled himself with these pictures?! I particularly like the spoon holding the Granalo and the Cherry Bakewells. Which one is your favourite?
What are you favourite shop bought gluten free products?