In this last post about Allergy Free Grocery Shopping, I will address some ideas for those of you who do not have access to a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Here is what I would do. Scour the internet for anything that is not perishable. If I did not have a Whole Foods, I would probably purchase all my flours and starches online and probably even pasta. Here are several resources for you, although keep in mind I am not endorsing these per se. Amazon is an obvious choice, but there is also Vitacost, Gluten Free Warehouse, among some others. Vegan Essentials sells vegan cheeses, egg replacers and so forth.
Milk, egg and soy free products are still not widely available in most supermarkets (at least not by me), but luckily, many grocery chains are jumping on the gluten free bandwagon. If your store does not carry products you are interested in, consider talking with the manager. It may be that the manager or chain is not aware of some of these foods. I did ask my local grocer (through a paper request) to start carrying coconut milk yogurt and the manager called me to ask what it was exactly as he had not heard of it. Also consider asking the manager if you can get a discount for buying in bulk. For instance, ask how many packages (say gluten free flour) come in a case and then ask for at least a 10% discount for buying the whole case. I have talked with people who have had success with this. (By the way, Whole Foods does give a 10% discount for buying by the case).
Another thing you can do is make some kind noise. In other words, you may have to become an advocate by default. Contact the headquarters of your supermarket chain and tell them about your need, how it is becoming increasingly common, and that you would most likely not be the only person purchasing said product. One of my local grocery stores recently added a huge gluten free section rather than just having a few gluten free products scattered about. More than just accumulating all the products in one area, they added a ton of gluten free and some allergy free products. Many I have never heard of or even seen at Whole Foods. The manager came up to me and told me that the headquarters got so many inquiries, complaints and requests and that was the reason for the now large gluten free section.
One last thing; coupons! Often times, I will go to individual food company websites and get coupons to print off. Make sure you only print them when you are ready to go to the store as I have found they expire quickly.
This wraps up this series….now I’ll get back to sharing recipes!
Also shared at Gluten Free Friday.