Gluten-Free Is Here to Stay – How to Tweak Your Menu to Keep Up
Apr 25, 2022

Gluten-Free Is Here to Stay – How to Tweak Your Menu to Keep Up

The “gluten-free” label is becoming more prevalent and gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers and becoming a popular preferred choice. Through the food segment’s gaining attractiveness, this doesn’t seem to simply be a fading trend amongst consumers. Gluten-free appears to be here to stay as a permanent option that restaurant patrons and grocery shoppers are seeking in their daily lives. Companies who make products like pizza dough, cakes and cookies, and even cooking sprays are looking to offer more gluten-free options.

What is gluten and how do you know what it’s in? Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, rye and some related grains that provide elasticity. These proteins are how you can stretch pizza dough to be extremely thin and still have it come out with a chewy texture. Gluten also assists in the process of how a cake rises. The higher the protein in flour, the more elasticity the made dough will have, and the finished product will be chewier. The difference in the protein in these flours explains the differences in the texture and appearance in cakes and pizza crusts.

Why should you offer gluten-free? Gluten-free products currently form the largest sub-section of the overall “free from” food category. According to a recent report from Spoonshot AI and a New York University study, around one-third of US adults are believed to be looking to reduce the amount of gluten in their diets regardless of any medical diagnosis. This goes to show that consumers see “free from” products as better for them.

What are the options for gluten-free products? There are many different types of flour that have been tested and used in replacement for wheat, rye, or barley and have similar (but maybe not quite perfect) results. Some interesting options include jackfruit flour, okara flour, amaranth flour, breadfruit flour, coffee cherry flour, and orange byproduct flour. Several new products, including gluten-free items, have prominently featured cauliflower this year. In formulations without using gluten, cauliflower often may be combined with other gluten-free ingredients like quinoa flour or xanthan gum to replicate glutinous structures. Cauliflower has been a popular replacement for pizza crusts, pastas, and more with overwhelming success amongst consumers. An easy replacement to keep all your cooking processes gluten-free is to swap out your pan sprays for Vegalene sprays that contain no gluten.