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Tomorrow kicks off Coeliac UK's gluten free guarantee week, and the charity has asked bloggers to write about their local supermarkets and their free from offerings. Great, I thought, the Tesco Extra in Barnstaple, North Devon, is pretty good, so I went along to check it out in preparation for a blog post.
I did, however, have my weekend ruined when I discovered the store had decided to stop stocking my absolute favourite gluten free product - the Dietary Specials Bella Italia Salame pizza. Great timing Tesco, great timing.
You see, apparently there has been a decline in sales*.
* This, coincidentally, seems to have occurred at around the same time I started eating a low-carb diet and therefore stopped buying pizzas so regularly. Perhaps me and my pizza addiction were the only ones keeping the gluten free frozen aisle afloat?
What I find even more disheartening though, is that they have replaced the most amazing, wonderful, truly delicious gluten free pizza with this....
I wanted to see past the negative reviews I had read so far. I wanted so badly for it to be good. But, I'm sorry Tesco, this gluten and wheat free BBQ chicken pizza, it was such a disappointment, and even more so compared to how good the Dietary Specials one was.
The BBQ sauce wasn't very strong - I could hardly taste it, and although the topping was more generous than some gluten free pizzas, I found myself adding extra cheese. The chicken seemed flavourless - I did like the onions on top though. And the base, well, by the time it was cooked the crusts were so crunchy they disintegrated and I wasn't very impressed with the rest of it.
I understand that demand is not always high for free from products. But often, people want these things available to buy when they want a treat, not to scoff on a daily basis (oh, I wish). People on a gluten free diet tend to be a) more health concious and b) pay at least twice as much for GF products so these are often bought more as a treat.
So no, gluten free pizzas may not be flying from the freezers at a rate of knots, but can we at least have some decent ones, instead of filling the shelves with free from foods people will try once, and never buy again?
I'll be trying to blog as much as possible throughout the gluten free guarantee week, and I want your help! Send me a snap of your free from aisle – however good or bad its offerings are – to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet me @GFBlogger or post it on the Gluten Free Blogger’s Facebook page!