Gluten-Free Shopping Habits

I have thought a lot about my shopping habits for gluten-free food since they have changed dramatically over the past twelve years.

Twelve years ago, pretty much all of my gluten-free food was purchased online and shipped to me from specialty grocers or directly from the vendor.

Today, I am able to find gluten-free foods at stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and Mrs. Green’s, but I am also able to find gluten-free foods at Stop and Shop. There are products carried or produced at local bakeries and local specialty stores as well. I still have a couple of products I order online, but I mostly purchase product from store shelves these days.

If product is widely available on store shelves, what happens to entrepreneurs trying to get a new product off the ground by using online ordering? People still shop online for lots of things readily available in stores, will that remain true for gluten-free food?

I was just curious about the shopping habits of others, where do you buy most of your gluten-free flour, mixes, baked goods and other products? Please comment!
Kendall Egan

  • I’m lucky to be in the NYC metro area. My regular supermarket, ShopRite, has a ton of Bob’s Red Mill products and dozens of cookies and baking mixes. The prices aren’t too bad, considering. We also have specialty grocery chains- TJ’s, Whole Foods, and a local one called Fairway that rocks. There isn’t much left to buy online. I’ll get a few things from online vitamin shops when I’m already placing an order for something else and trying to get free shipping :). I don’t buy direct from the manufacturer because of shipping costs. Plus I’m only one person and don’t eat a lot of specialty stuff, so I don’t need much quantity.

  • I have, and always will, LOVE shopping for my gluten free products in the store. I like to compare similar products and really enjoy being able to see what I’m buying up close!

  • suz

    I prefer to buy most of my items in a store. This is because not all products available online have full ingredient lists and often you have to write the companies and wait for a response. Some companies don’t believe in full disclosure over the internet because they think you’re going to try and steal the secrets of making their products.

    That said, two of my two favorite GF/allergic companies Kinnikinnick and Allergy Free Foods, don’t have their lines fully available where I live (just a select few products) so I would definitely purchase from them online.

  • I shop locally for 90% of products, but will shop on line for those specialty items not available locally.

    I work at Return to Eden as their GF Product Specialist, so I try to stock the store with a variety of GF products, but it is difficult to have what ‘everyone’ likes.

  • I live in the South and have few options for GF food. I buy some from our local health food stores but mostly shop Kroger and online.

  • I buy all of my GF products at Wegman’s, Whole Foods, and incredibly, even my local Giant. Last week I couldn’t believe how much GF I picked up just out and around the store, not in the GF section. They are competing hard with those other two stores, and more. With these three options here in Northern VA, I don’t need to buy anything GF from the internet.

  • I buy solely off the shelves. Shipping and handling much too high online. Wegman’s, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s have plenty of choices.

  • Does anyone purchase things from the internet? I know I still do purchase mixes that haven’t made it to wide spread distribution yet. What do you order online?

  • We buy most gluten-free baked goods and flours at the local health food store. There are some items they don’t carry or we can get a bulk discount if we order them online so we occasionaly to that as well. We are finding we need to go the the health food store less often as more gluten-free products are being carried in regular grocery stores and Sam’s Club or Costco.

  • I am seeing more and more gluten-free food everywhere I go, but it is still tricky to get the best quality GF stuff without paying a ton for it. I do like that Meijer (a chain of stores big in the northern midwest) has a lot of GF choices, but when I need more, I go to Foods for Living or Better Health. I can find certain things (Rice Chex, GF Risotto, etc.) at pretty much any food store around here, so I guess I’m pretty lucky.
    The best thing we have though is a local baker who sells amazing GF baked goods through Hawk’s Hallow. It’s so yummy!