There are lots of ways to increase Coeliac awareness in the general public, but availability of products is not often considered as one of them.
Whilst availability is paramount anyway – we need to be able to buy the things we want to eat (see more about that here) – it is also an important tool for getting thoughts about Coeliac Disease into the minds of non-Coeliacs. Supermarkets are the one place that everyone is thinking about food, and the amount of non-Coeliacs I have seen (and spoken to) in the Free From aisle is quite high.
Having high availability of a large range of gluten free foods in the supermarkets – and in particular gluten free food in and around the “normal” food – is a good way to get non-Coeliacs to be more understanding of Coeliac issues.
Years before I had to go gluten free my family often bought Almondy cakes for dessert on special occasions. Seeing the gluten free logo on those cakes was my first realisation that it was a dietary requirement some people had to adhere to. I still didn’t fully understand it and didn’t think much about it but the awareness was there in the back of my mind.
Another example of this is that lots of supermarkets have now included gluten free sausages in their “normal” range – for example Marks and Spencer and Tesco.
Photo source from The Gluten Free Cuppa Tea
By having a large availability of gluten free products in supermarkets we are able to subtly convey the need for gluten free food. Encouraging non-Coeliacs to eat gluten free food by placing it with the “normal” food also removes the stigma of the Free From aisle. Often non-Coeliacs see Free From foods as “weird” or “bland” etc. but by incorporating them into the products already available in the “normal” section, we remove this stigma and increase sales of gluten free products.
Let me know if this is something you’ve noticed too – are more gluten free products being included in the “normal” sections of your local supermarket?