Jacobowitz explained that while his company started small and local, after only six years they now have approximately forty different Katz Gluten Free products sold in all 50 states and in major supermarket chains such as Sprouts, Whole Foods, and ShopRite. They are also available in Pomegranate, the gourmet kosher market in Midwood, Brooklyn where Sam Rapaport, a buyer and grocery manager, said that they have seen a “huge increase in demand of gluten-free products, in part because it has become so mainstream.” Rapaport explained that the gluten-free section in Pomegranate has more than doubled in size in the last three years, but that because so many products are now certified as gluten-free, many more items can be found throughout the store shelves within their regular product category. Both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s markets reported similar set-ups in their stores, citing easily identifiable shelf tags to indicate a gluten-free item. Trader Joe’s has a seven page document on its website available to consumers to download and print, listing many of the gluten-free products it carries, along with a reminder to always check the label in case of manufacturing changes.
Katz Gluten Free’s full line of products can be ordered online as well. Focused on the needs of the kosher consumer, they produce challah – round for the high holidays and special large party challahs can be ordered in advance, hamantaschen in season, and donuts – which started as a request for Chanukah, but have become one of their most popular products (a box of six sells for about six dollars). Poppy seed, sesame seed, and everything-flavored bagels are the company’s newest products.
In the past, people needing kosher gluten-free foods would often stock up on the potato starch-based foods produced especially for Passover. Leah Parnes, who began eating a gluten-free diet ten years ago for health reasons, and her husband Moe started their business, Goldbaum’s Natural Foods, now based in Newark, NJ, to provide the kosher community with better tasting gluten-free options. Last month Goldbaum’s was awarded a new product award in the Best New Bread, Grain, Cereal and/or Cracker category for their new gluten-free flatbreads at KosherFest in New Jersey. Note that this was not a special category for health or gluten-free products. Moe Parnes explained that their choice of ingredients, specifically chickpea flour and corn starch for these flatbreads, made them a tasty cracker for anyone to enjoy. “Every year for the past six years we have seen 100-200% growth in our sales,” said Parnes, attesting to the mainstream nature of his company’s products. “Some need to have it, while others believe they feel better or lose weight on a gluten-free diet. Our focus is to have the best products and unique products.”
One testimonial on the Goldbaum’s company website raves about their ice cream cones. A mom shared her sadness that her daughter couldn’t have a cone with her ice cream as she didn’t like the others available on the market: “You can, therefore, imagine how excited I was when I found your gluten- free cones in my local supermarket. I brought it home and to my delight, my daughter loved it. But that’s not all. Astonishingly, my other kids (and my husband!) preferred this cone to the traditional one!”
Goldbaum’s products include pasta, croutons, couscous, and chips, as well as shelf-stable gluten-free meals, such as beef stuffed cabbage, that could be a nice option for emergency provisions, lunch at work, or traveling. There are many gluten-free options available, and locating gluten-free products in stores is much easier now than in the past.
How can you prepare a gluten-free Shabbos meal for a guest or your family?